Here’s a great look at a way of living as community, via The Catholic Spirit in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis:

Dinner guests at the Maurin House, a relatively new Catholic Worker community in Columbia Heights, might be tempted to describe what they see as an exceptional and lofty expression of Christian life.

Just don’t expect the two families that make up the community to necessarily agree with you.

“We really don’t think that what we’re doing is something that any ordinary Catholic couldn’t do, either,” explained Tyler Hambley, 37, who with his wife, Crystal, 38, longtime friends Colin and Leigh Miller (44 and 35), and each couple’s four children make up the Maurin House community.

The way the Hambleys and Millers live their lives, however, bucks the standard American ideal: They’ve prioritized intentional community — to the point that the Hambleys moved across the country for the sake of living next door to their close friends. They’ve converted a garage into a chapel and gather there for daily communal prayer. They open their home for an “all are welcome” style dinner two days a week. And they acquired a third house where the poor and the homeless are invited to live, joining them in community.

This might strike many Catholics as an “extraordinary” way of life, a response to a “special call” to go above and beyond normal Christian practice, but that’s not how the Hambleys and the Millers see it. They say they’re just following the Gospel and the Catholic faith, plain and simple.

“It might not look exactly the same as what we’ve done, but building Catholic community, offering hospitality and being present with others, especially the poor, over a shared dish is something all Catholics can do,” he said.

In fact, the Maurin House community is guided by the conviction that these sorts of things aren’t optional aspects of following Christ — they’re integral to it.

The Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount; the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience; and the spiritual and corporal works of mercy are some of the primary touchpoints of Christ’s teaching and the Church’s traditional practice that animate the Maurin House community and its commitments to prayer, simplicity, life in common and hospitality to the poor.

Read it all. 

Photo: Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit