I never thought I’d be living off of food recovered from dumpsters but for the last week of my life, this is exactly what I was living off of. Welcome to the White Rose Catholic worker, a place where nothing is wasted, not even human waste; that’s what the compost toilet is for. These Catholic workers are dedicated to the environment, non-violence, non-torture, and peacemaking. They spend their days holding vigils against Guantanamo bay and spend their nights together in community eating a mix of the food that they have dumpstered that day and the food that they have grown on their organic farm. There are six Catholic workers who live at the White Rose. Most do not have jobs. The two that do, work part time at universities researching and teaching. The other four refuse to work so that they won’t be forced to pay war taxes. They refuse to work so that they will have more time to take action in their community. They take action against the school of the Americas, against the torture at Guantanamo bay, against the deportation of immigrants, and against NATO and the G8, just to name a few. These Catholic workers don’t live a mainstream life. They work on an organic farm by day and organize a free market by night. They welcome guests into their home by day and fast from energy by night. They do scripture by day and have round table discussions and open community meals by night.
Living in this intentional community with these six Catholic workers for an entire week has caused me to realize how much I must change about my own life. The life that they live, though it shocked me at first, is the way that I would like to live my own life. Being in this community has inspired me to take small steps; to walk and bike wherever I can, to fast from energy and technology as much as I can, to grow my own small garden, to stand up for what I believe in even if there are risks involved. Living with these Catholic workers has given me hope; hope for a better tomorrow. Change can and will happen. They are making it happen in their own community and we can make it happen in ours.