About Us

The Iowa City Catholic Worker House community sees the Cross on the foreheads of the poor and practices the daily Works of Mercy — housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, sheltering the stranger, caring for the sick, and visiting the prisoner. Our hospitality house is located on the southeast side of Iowa City. We currently have open bedrooms for transitional housing, a weekend meal program, and a variety of other programming, such as Mass, bible study, and book clubs. Our property is held in a community land trust.

"We want everyone to know that immigrants and refugees are welcome here," co-founder and trustee Emily Sinnwell said. "We are a safe house and sanctuary where the poor come first."

"A house of hospitality is a private, community-owned home that shares the spare bedroom, the extra coat in the closet, and the spare place at our table with those who need it most," Sinnwell said.

"We get calls every day and we can’t meet the housing need out there," David Goodner, co-founder of the Iowa City Catholic Worker, said to Lauren Shotwell writing for Little Village  in November, 2016. "I think the biggest thing we’re learning from this experience is no matter how much we talk about the housing crisis here, it’s worse than we think it is. And a lot of the people we’ve had come through have been women and children."

The "Catholic Worker Movement [is] a Roman Catholic lay movement ... emphasizing personal reform, radical agrarianism, absolute pacifism, and the personal practice of the principles in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The movement was founded in 1933 by Dorothy Day (1897–1980) at the instigation of Peter Maurin (1877–1949), a self-described peasant-philosopher and Christian radical. Maurin and Day’s program provided for round-table discussions of Christian social thought, the opening of houses of hospitality for all in need, and the establishment of independent farming communes." — Encyclopaedia Britannica

workers at work

Interested in volunteering, donating, or forming community? Call or write 319.499.8929/515.729.6482 or iowacitycatholicworker@gmail.com

The people of the Catholic Worker Movement hold to the teachings of the Church that direct us "to bring about a new society within the shell of the old, a society in which it will be easier to be good. A society in tune with these teachings would have no place for economic exploitation or war, for racial, gender or religious discrimination, but would be marked by a cooperative social order without extremes of wealth and poverty and a nonviolent approach to legitimate defense and conflict resolution." — Tom Cornell at CatholicWorker.org

"The UFW Teamsters union [in 1973], had begun a campaign of mass civil disobedience to protest unconstitutional rulings that blocked their pickets. The arrests did more than that: They made headlines, and they created headaches for local law enforcement authorities because protesters refused to post bail. Farmworkers and their supporters clogged the jails, most famously in Fresno, where a group of religious supporters ended up behind bars for weeks. One of them was Dorothy Day."