Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

1/11/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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

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


What the devil?! Bill Gates wants your college info so he can tell you what classes to take Watch

Image of Bill Gates could do so much more if only he had your privacy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It might be easier to compose a short list of people and agencies that don't want to spy on you. Adding his name to the long list, Bill Gates has proposed tracking the lives and careers of college graduates as an ongoing means to assess college value. Of course, they'd ... continue reading


Two Cardinals, a Theologian and a Historian to Lecture at the University of St. Thomas

Image of N.T. Wright, one of the world's leading Bible scholar.

By Darnell Miller, University of St. Thomas

The University of St. Thomas is fortunate to have four outstanding speakers giving lectures on campus in the month of March. These speakers include N.T. Wright, one of the world's leading Bible scholars; Thomas Cardinal Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto; Dr. Andrew ... continue reading


Women Succeed in UST Engineering, CUA is New Partner

Image of Kendall Niemann is a UST cooperative engineering student studying at the University of Notre Dame.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

In the male-dominated field of engineering, it can be difficult for women to succeed, but last year, all four graduates of the University of St. Thomas cooperative engineering program were women, and three of them were Hispanic. Dr. Sheila Waggoner said she is proud of ... continue reading


Mardi Gras King, Queen Exemplify UST Mission

Image of University of St. Thomas Mardi Gras King and Queen, C.J. Miller and Meredith Smith.

By Vivian Cabrera - University of St. Thomas

The ideal Mardi Gras king and queen should embody the University's mission to educate leaders of faith and character. With the crowning of C.J. Miller and Meredith Smith The ideal Mardi Gras king and queen should embody the University's mission to educate leaders of ... continue reading


40 Celts March for Life in Washington

Image of Students from the University of St. Thomas - Houston, brave the cold weather as they march with nearly half a million others from across the country, declaring their pro-life stance.

By Brenda Cooper, University of St. Thomas

It didn't matter that when 40 college students boarded a bus in Washington, D.C., the temperature was in the teens. It also didn't matter that they had spent the night on blankets and in sleeping bags in cold elementary school classrooms, sans showers, at a parish ... continue reading


GRACE Goes International With Irish Teachers

Image of Pictured from L to R: Colm Supple, Mary Buckley and Sarah Tighe.

By Darnell Miller

In May 2013, merely two weeks after completing final exams, Mary Buckley, Colm Supple and Sarah Tighe, graduates from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, Ireland, packed their bags and said goodbye to their friends, family and homeland as they journeyed 4,479 miles to ... continue reading


Seven in 10 college students graduate with loan debt Watch

Image of An independent analysis of federal data has revealed that more than 70 percent of college graduates in 2012 had student loans.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There was a time in America when graduating from college meant freedom and unlimited vistas. A sheepskin in the hand was the ticket to new challenges and rewarding careers. That's not true for seven out of 10 college students, who now are burdened with student ... continue reading


All College & University News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 3:2-12
2 You have surely heard the way in which God ... Read More

Psalm, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
2 Look, he is the God of my salvation: I shall have ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:39-48
39 You may be quite sure of this, that if the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Pope John Paul II
October 22: Karol J. Wojtyla, known as John Paul II since his October 1978 ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter