Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

1/11/2013 (3 years ago)

University of St. Thomas (stthom.edu)

Catholic Worker Seeks Success in Serving the Poor

For many people, the path to success means climbing the corporate ladder and working to make more money, with little concern for the community. For Monica Hatcher '98, a University of St. Thomas theology alumna and student in the Master of Arts in Faith and Culture program, her life has a new focus. After working for seven years as a professional journalist, including at the Miami Herald and the Houston Chronicle, she now lives and works at Casa Juan Diego's house of hospitality serving immigrant women and children, especially women who are battered, pregnant, homeless or seriously ill.

Highlights

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

University of St. Thomas (stthom.edu)

1/11/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in College & University

Keywords: University of St. Thomas, theology, Master of Arts in Faith and Culture, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Casa Juan Diego, Dorothy Day, Peter Maurin, Mark and Louise Zwick, hospitality, Archdiocese of Galveston Houston Communication Office, Center for Fait


Casa Juan Diego was founded in 1980, following the Catholic Worker model of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, to serve immigrants and refugees and the poor. From one small house started by Mark and Louise Zwick, it has grown to 10 houses in Houston.

For Hatcher, the decision to join Casa Juan Diego was personal.
"It has a lot to do with my faith, a deep and growing desire to follow Christ and seek him, and experience his presence by serving the poor though daily works of mercy," Hatcher said. "Caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked - we do it in a direct way."

To serve the poor, Casa Juan Diego runs a clinic with volunteer doctors, providing care guests would not be able to get elsewhere. Staff members bring sandwiches to men living on the street. They care for the ill in personal care homes, provide food and clothing distribution, teach English classes, and offer Spanish liturgy. But it starts as a house of hospitality.

"Our door is always open," Hatcher said. "You never know who will be on the other side of that door. If there is someone who needs a place to stay, we always answer it."

In a place that eschews bureaucracy, and embraces "personalism," the constant activity can leave Hatcher feeling exhausted, but she said, "It's an opportunity to grow in love."

Hatcher lives at the Center and is paid only a small stipend, which was no small adjustment for a professional who worked hard to build her salary. However, she said in seeking charity work, she realized she didn't want to be paid, and she put herself in God's hands.

"Part of being a Catholic worker is embracing voluntary poverty and living in solidarity with those we serve," she said. "It's the reason we're able to do so much, because we're not paid salaries. Your work is a gift."

Hatcher started studying in the MAFC program in 2011 while working at the Archdiocese of Galveston Houston Communication Office, trying to decide what next step to take in her desire to help others. Hatcher said her study in the Center for Faith and Culture helped clarify her decision to join Casa Juan Diego full time.

"The Faith and Culture program and the classes I was taking made me feel more confident in choosing this path," she said. "It also helped me answer the cultural objections to taking this path, which is contrary to what we are taught is the road to success."
While she no longer writes full-time, Hatcher gets a chance to write about her experience with Casa Juan Diego guests in the organization's bimonthly newspaper, the Houston Catholic Worker.

Hatcher referenced Dorothy Day in saying that too little is expected of the lay people, and there is a way for lay people to serve Christ in a radical way without being a priest or religious sister. 

"I just experience so much joy here," she said. "I don't think I could find it doing too many things anywhere else."

---

The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houstonís only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers.



Comments


More College & University

4 reasons Catholic education needs your help this year Watch

Image of Are America's Catholic schools being attacked? (Wordpress)

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Catholic education system is coming under attack by a plethora of policies designed to make the hiring process, acceptance of anti-Christian viewpoints, transgender issues and Catholic identity concerns. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Cardinal Newman ... continue reading


Catholic identity or education: Are the top Catholic universities falsely rated by secular standards? Watch

Image of

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A list of the top 40 traditional Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America was created, but were they rated fairly? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Newsmax revealed their top forty Catholic and Jesuit colleges in America, but what were their standards?The United ... continue reading


Becoming Divine Mercy: A Mission of Mercy Watch

Image of

By Jessie Tappel, Communications Director at Divine Mercy University

God, the source of all mercy, provides us with an experience so great that we have no choice but to reflect it to our own brother and sister. Mercy calls for an outward response, which is made clear in the examples of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. You can ... continue reading


UST Breaks Ground on New Center for Science and Health Professions Watch

Image of

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas, a member of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, broke ground on a new Center for Science and Health Professions on Nov. 12, 2015. The new facility, containing more than 100,000 square-feet of modern lab space and classrooms, will meet ... continue reading


Religion and Science: The Evolutionary Controversy

Image of

By Kyle Jorstad, Grove City College

Catholic Online welcomes scholarly submissions for consideration, contact marshconnolly@catholiconline.email Abstract: Though members of the scientific and atheistic community alike often tout science as the downfall of religion, theories regarding Darwinian evolution ... continue reading


Do you love America? What these college professors were caught doing on camera will shock you! Watch

Image of The Constitution codifies many liberties, including the right to shred the Constitution itself.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It should be no surprise that America's colleges and universities are overrun with anti-American liberals who lack all respect for the country and the principles upon which it is founded. In an age where political correctness has run amok, students are indoctrinated by ... continue reading


Catholic Colleges: Tackling Student Loans Ethically

Image of NORTHEAST CATHOLIC COLLEGE

By Caitlin Bootsma

It's almost an assumption in today's world that students will take out a staggering amount of debt to be able to attend a four year university. And, with college costs rising faster than the rate of inflation, 18 year olds are signing themselves up for increasingly ... continue reading


Franciscan nun becomes first woman head of a pontifical university Watch

Image of Sister Melone is an alumnus of the university set up in 1890 in honor of St Anthony, a 13th century saint from Spain known for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of the Bible.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education made history last week when it nominated a Franciscan nun as the first woman head of a pontifical university. In a position held usually by priests, Sister Mary Melone will become the rector of the Pontifical ... continue reading


University of St. Thomas Graduates First Nursing Cohort in 25 Years

Image of University of St. Thomas Nursing Graduate, Elizabeth Ciocco

By Darnell Miller - University of St. Thomas

This May 27 nursing students, including Elizabeth Ciocco, will be the first nursing students to graduate from the University of St. Thomas in nearly 25 years.  Ciocco joins 298 undergraduates and 739 graduates at the University's 64th Commencement ... continue reading


University of St. Thomas Honors Research Goes 6 Feet Under

Image of Honors Program students consider the issues of death and mortality in the Contemporary Seminar research presented at UST's Research symposium.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

A few hundred people have undergone cryopreservation procedures since 1962, having their bodies cooled to sub-zero temperatures, with the hope that one day they may be brought back to life using highly advanced technology. It's the kind of issue-along with assisted ... continue reading


All College & University News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Can you answer these four challenging questions about Lent?
  • 10 important things to consider during Lent
  • St. Apollonia: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, February 09, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey
  • Stations of the Cross - Series HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:22-23, 27-30
22 Then, in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, Solomon stood ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 7:1-13
1 The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 9th, 2016 Image

St. Apollonia
February 9: St. Apollonia, who died in the year 249, was ... Read More