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- The Franciscan & Catholic Worker Traditions-


The Catholic Worker ethos and Franciscan traditions are a big part of the subculture from which Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) organizers have emerged. Folks who come from the Franciscan and Catholic Worker movements easily integrate into the organizing style of NDE.


Franciscan Tradition

Francis Bernadone was born in 1181 or 1182. He became known as a saint for helping to radicalize the church in his day and age, due to his clear thinking regarding the pacifist anarchist message of Jesus Christ. With such clarity and courage, he simply began to follow the way of Jesus. Saint Francis did most of his work in Assissi, Italy, and Saint Clare soon joined in this work, creating the female counterpart for folks wishing to live in such a communal Christian way. This step away from privilege and into poverty, choosing to depend on the grace of the God alone flowing through the channels of other people's kindness, was an attractive movement to hundreds of folks in that region. The Franciscan movement continued and changed over the centuries, but Francis and Clare's radical witness to the peace, simplicity, nonviolence, and ecological respect of Jesus Christ has been the common thread for all who consider themselves Franciscans.

800 years after Francis reminded the Christians of the ways of their God, NDE came into being in the Nevada Desert, a region on earth known by the Shoshone residents for the past several thousand years as Newe Sogobia. With a nod towards the Franciscan movement that birthed NDE, an unnamed artist moved around some rocks at Peace Camp to create this Franciscan icon (patterned after the painted icon):



Catholic Worker Tradition

In 1932 Dorothy Day met Peter Maurin because Peter wanted to start a newspaper to popularize the beauty of Catholic Social Teaching in New York City and beyond. In 1933 on May Day, the newspaper was distributed for the first time, and it was called the Catholic Worker. Because the specific idea to magnify Catholic Social Teaching in concrete ways of service to the general population was not well-practiced, the Catholic Worker newspaper staff began to practice what they preached, and the Catholic Worker movement was born. It is exemplified by Houses of Hospitality in urban areas to help poor folks struggling in the underbelly of society, farming communes where folks needing to reconnect with the ways of our ancestors can be practiced, and roundtable discussions where we all can figure out what is the best way to live amidst what Dorothy Day called the "filthy rotten system."


American Peace Movements

The movements for peace and justice in the USA usaully develop democratically through the "power of the people" over the centuries, and the contemporary movements (of the past 50 years) have more international flavors integrating into the American style. In the 1980s the Japanese and Russian peace movements had a major influence on NDE's origins along with the Franciscan and Catholic Worker roots. How can we tackle the problems of the Nuclear Age?

See more on the Soviet antinuclear movement.

See more on the Japanese antinuclear movement.




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