The first phase of the Catholic Worker was the newspaper, the second phase was opening Houses of Hospitality and the third phase was the Green Revolution where people would return to an agrarian way of life by establishing rural farming communities and teaching city people agrarianism and forming a personalist and communitarian revolution. Peter spent much of his life in the first Catholic Worker farm in Pennsylvania trying to realize this vision. It was not however the success that the newspaper and the houses of hospitality had been.
The Catholic Worker paper, houses of hospitality, the green revolution and roundtable discussions where all Peter Maurin’s ideas, which demonstrates the genesis of the man set a-lite by the spark of Divine Love. Hence the reason why Dorothy day would always defer any credit for the Catholic Worker to Peter, as she stress’s in the autobiography The Long Loneliness. Dorothy says that Round-table discussion, Houses of Hospitality and Farming communities were the three planks of Peter’s platform. In an easy essay ‘Cult, Culture and Cultivation’ Peter acknowledges Irish monasticism as the inspiration for these three planks in crediting Irish scholars with founding centres of thought, houses of hospitality and agriculture centres throughout Europe east and west and in so doing establishing the foundations of medieval Europe.
Peter Maurin’s vision was certainly prophetic and ahead of it’s time in seeing the effects technology had in creating a disconnect from the land. In an age when food shortage is predicted in the near future despite that there is so much food wastage and when over production of food stuffs and free trade agreements strangle the subsistence farmers in Mexico, the need for a return to the land and learning agrarianism is not optional but essential. While having garden allotments in the city is a recent trendy craze and talk of green issues and fair trade a dominant subject in our Churches and society at large, the Catholic Worker based on it’s political and spiritual analysis discerned back in the 1930’s the need to preach the radical alternative to capitalist and communist materialism with gentle personalism.
In Alliance we practice guerrilla gardening, planting seeds and plants around the community to transform barren and desolate spaces so that we can behold and enjoy beauty. We also grow some fruit and vegetables to provide for our needs