About the LACW

The Los Angeles Catholic Worker (LACW) is part of the international Catholic Worker movement, which was founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in New York City during the Great Depression. The Movement is gospel-centered and founded on Anarchism principles, with its primary focus “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” and enflesh Jesus’ teachings, specifically, as recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, which are referred to as the Corporal Works of Mercy: feed the hungry; give water to the thirsty; clothe the naked; shelter the homeless; visit the sick and imprisoned; bury the dead; give alms to the poor. And the Spiritual Works of Mercy, which are acts of compassion: instruct; advise; admonish; comfort; forgive; bear wrongs patiently; and pray for the living and dead, as well as to follow the Church’s Social Teachings. The Catholic Worker is a way of life

The LACW, founded in 1970, has two locations: one is its community house in Boyle Heights, three miles east of downtown, and its soup kitchen and service center in the Skid Row district, slightly southeast of the heart of downtown. In contrast to many conservative Evangelical missions/shelters and tax-exempt nonprofit organizations located within the 50 square block skid row area, the LACW identifies as a “personalist,” deliberately non-institutional community that operates a free soup kitchen (known as the Hippie Kitchen) that serves more than 3,000 hot meals each week, as well as a service center that provides dental care, foot care, toiletries, shopping carts, and mail service for the unhoused. The LACW does not solicit or accept corporate or government funding, grants, or funding from the institutional church. Our sole source of income is individual donations, and it is not a 501(c).(3) nonprofit corporation.

Full-time LACW community members live together in the Boyle Heights location (known as the Ammon Hennacy House of Hospitality) along with formally unhoused people from Skid Row. House guests can spend anywhere from a day to the longest resident guest, 20+ years. There is no board of directors, CEO, or professional staff. All full-time members receive room and board, transportation, and a $25 a week stipend. However, there is no health care plan or retirement program.

Unlike other Skid Row service organizations, the LACW attempts to take a prophetic stand for and with the poor and unhoused in opposition to the city, police, and business community, and thus periodically engages in various nonviolent demonstrations/protests and acts of civil disobedience in opposition to the city’s punitive policies toward the poor, mostly people of color.

The LACW’s prophetic stand as a resistance community is also validated in our regular vigils, demonstrations/protests, and nonviolent direct action campaigns in opposition to war and militarism, which not only oppress the poor in foreign lands but robs our domestic poor of essential resources as well. We also stand against this nation’s harsh immigration policies, racial injustices, economic inequality, climate emergency, and capital punishment.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.lacatholicworker.org/wp/?page_id=15

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    • Julia Granton on March 24, 2005 at 4:17 pm
    • Reply

    How does one research opening a house of hospitality?
    I’ve always thought there should be one here in Riverside, California.
    I’ve felt it is my calling for when I retire. (I’m 45.)
    Maybe I can start the research now.
    Any pointers?
    Thanks, 🙂 Julia Granton

    • Briana on June 15, 2005 at 8:59 pm
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    I used to be in the AmeriCorps working out of The Volunteer Center of the
    Inland Empire. You can call them to see if they know of any resources to
    start a house of hospitality. (909) 884-2556 I think is still their number.

    • Meredith on June 30, 2005 at 7:11 am
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    How neat that you have a website now! I’m getting nostalgic seeing all the pictures! Meredith

    • Sirena on July 25, 2005 at 7:20 pm
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    Nice website. Bob has invited me to check out the LA Catholic Worker this Wednesday. Really looking forward to it!
    Sirena

    • Chris Spicer on September 12, 2005 at 2:26 pm
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    Hey Everyone–I’m applying to Portland’s sherrif’s office to work with Jail Chaplaincy.
    Since I’d like you all to be my references, I came to check out the site. Love it. Thanks
    for all the memories and your help on this one. I Miss you Hippies.
    Keep singing and letting your light shine!

    • Gloria Fetta on November 8, 2005 at 1:45 am
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    Love the website! Great pictures…Hey, David, I’ll bet you helped get this sie site up and running. Good job.

    • marcus on November 27, 2005 at 8:28 am
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    Hey David,

    this is a great Website! Must have cost you a lot of hours!!!

    peace & Love from Bonn, Germany,

    Marcus

    PS: Have a nice Christmas Season at the LACW. Say hello to all.

    • John Harris on March 5, 2006 at 3:06 am
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    You’ve finally crossed the line. WWJET? (What would Jacques Ellul think?) Next thing you know, the Agitator will not have that Pepto Bismol color to it. David, i assume this is all you, and it is all beautiful, baby!!!

  1. Yes, John I did make the site. Regarding Pepto Bismol color in the Agitator, can’t help you there, we have to print on the cheap, and inks aren’t cheap. Most colors require some mix of cyan, magenta and yellow. Pepto is just straight 50% magenta.

  2. I got to visit last weekend and was well impressed with your wonderful house and mission. Blessings!

  3. Hello,

    I had a good time visiting the “Hippie Kitchen” six weeks ago while on a college/seminary class called “LA Urban Immersion.” Time and time again I am reminded of your work in LA, and I have chosen you to be one of the communities/ministries who I will write about for my final term paper.

    May the grace and help of God be with you.

  4. Thank you so much for being there, living the gospel in what I like to call “real time”. Jesus lived it this way and away from the government. I want to subscribe to your paper and although I do not have a lot of money, I will try to donate on a monthly basis. again, thank you!!!!!!

  5. CATHOLIC WORKER is an important part of Downtown LA and especially in feeding the homeless, ill, and the infirm. It’s a blessing to see dedicated, Christ-centered people taking up the causes of peace, justice, and the right/sacredness of life. In a society where status, wealth, ‘pull’ and greed lead, Catholic Worker refreshes our souls and of those in need. Thank you so much for your work!

    In solidarity!

    Christian Martinez, Publisher,
    Downtown LA Life Magazine

    • ROSE FLORES on April 23, 2008 at 8:57 pm
    • Reply

    SADLY TO SAY, BUT MY DAUGHTER LIVES ON THE STREETS AND I FOUND OUT ABOUT HIPPIES KITCHEN BECAUSE I STARTED SENDING HER MAIL THERE. AND THROUGH MY DAUGHTER SHE IS THE ONE THAT TOLD ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK THIS UP ON THE INTERNET WHICH I DID JUST NOW. AT LEAST I KNOW THAT MY DAUGHTER HAS A PLACE TO GO TO FOR MAIL WHEN I WRITE TO HER BECAUSE IT IS VERY HARD FOR ME AS A MOTHER TO KNOW THAT MY CHILD EVEN THOUGH SHE IS 42 NOW IS LIVING THIS WAY. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS TO CHRIST.

    • Christelle & Craig on April 25, 2009 at 8:51 pm
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    My husband and I came to help today. Although it was not his first time with you, it was mine and I feel I have received more than I could give. Thank you for all your warmth. God bless you.

    • Donald Young on August 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm
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    I and my daughter live in the Lehigh Valley (Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown) of eastern Pennsylvania. What procedure might we follow to establish a Catholic Worker group in our region?

    • Stacey Major on November 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm
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    Im at school right now looking at the web site thankyou all so very much for all your wonderful help you gave me. I lived at the hospitality house a little over a year while i cared for Michael Cooksey and got my life back together after prison,homelessness, and heroin abuse.Everyone at the LACW helped me so much. Unfortuneately Michael died January 28th,2011 from head and neck cancer. It was a huge blessing to be with Michael as he fought the horrible cancer plight.I’m so glad we were both at the house because without it and all of you at LACW we would of not had the spiritual healing nor the love we received.Special hellos to Catherine,Jeff,Faustino,Alecia,Rebecca,David,claire,Marthe,and jessie.I Love you all very much,xxxxooooxxxoo I wish you all a very merry and happy thanksgiving…

    • Jennifer Ho on June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm
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    I heard an interesting story that I think originated from your work. My sister-in-law gets a magazine that shared a story about legally permitted shopping carts that the homeless can obtain and keep belongings in. I would post the article on my facebook page as I think it is interesting. Certainly, taking the little belongings a person has away from them is criminal, and having a registered cart is an interesting solution. I wonder, if making the carts look like a modified gypsy wagon would improve public opinion? ( I know gypsies weren’t so well treated, but the cart did capture imagination in a way) However, that is not why I am writing. I applaud your caring and humane work and hope you consider putting brief articles and maybe even utube videos out.

    • Jennifer Ho on June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm
    • Reply

    I just noted that you do have some utube videos. Hope you can find time to produce one about legal carts and what makes them so, and how useful they are. Thanks again for all you do for our brothers and sisters-there but for fortune go you or I.

    • John Sullivan on May 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm
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    I just returned from a wedding in San Francisco and my good brother sent me this message. I live in the Boston area and am glad to see the Catholic Worker spirit so strong. I especially like your focus on building community. Yes it sure is a challenge but worth every sacrifice. I am friends of Brayton and Suzanne Shanley who animate Agape which is a Catholic peace community in western Massachusetts. Shalom my friends……….. John Patrick

      • John Loughery on August 18, 2018 at 8:21 am
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      John Sullivan: Any relation to Tom Sullivan of the NY Catholic Worker?

      John Loughery

    • Rob Inder-Smith on October 19, 2015 at 8:01 pm
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    Congratulations and great thanks to the LACW. Your work is immeasurable and gives hope to so many.
    You are an inspiration.
    Rob Inders
    Darwin
    Australia

    • Rosemarie Harper on July 31, 2018 at 10:49 pm
    • Reply

    Hi, I love that I have come across this tonight. I loved my time at the LA Catholic Worker. Thanks for doing the work, I’m on the east coast but would love to come back one day to the community. My youngest son is named Ammon.
    It’s been 24 years!
    Peace,
    Rosie Harper

  1. […] we just received our copy of the Catholic Agitator, published by the Los Angeles Catholic Worker.  Many of you know how much we admire them and that we have modeled some of what we do here after […]

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