Inspired by these reflections on the life of Jesus and by the ministry of Dorothy Day, Temenos Catholic Worker seeks to identify with those who find themselves abandoned and isolated in their suffering, in particular male and female sex workers and homeless gay/lesbian/transgender youth.
Temenos is a Greek word for an area that is cut off or separated. Harry Hay referred to it as "the edge of the village"--a dwelling place designated by some ancient societies for gays, lesbians and other outcasts. Temenos Catholic Worker seeks to reach out in the name of the Risen Christ to those who are alienated and cut off from society and to follow the model of Jesus who, as Monika Hellwig writes, was "one who entered into immediate, shockingly unconventional relationships with people, not evading the human encounter by the choreography of the socio-cultural role definitions." Temenos Catholic Worker is committed to the ideals of: Personalism: A philosophy of life based upon respect for the freedom and dignity of each person as an image of God, personalism understands that our fundamental purpose as human beings is to incarnate self-emptying love through practical action for the common good.
Non-Violence: Jesus taught us to take suffering upon ourselves rather than inflict it upon others. Thus, we oppose the deliberate taking of life for any reason and see every oppression or degrading of human life as blasphemy.
The Works of Mercy: As recorded in Matthew 25:31-46, these works include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, and visiting the prisoner. We understand the works of mercy to be at the heart of the Gospel; they are clear mandates as to how we are to respond to "the least of our brothers and sisters." Anything beyond what we immediately need belongs by right to those who are going without.
Voluntary Poverty: Dorothy Day, cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement, wrote that "the mystery of ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love." By embracing voluntary poverty, that is, by casting our lot freely with choice, we ask for the grace to abandon ourselves to the love of God. This puts us on the path to incarnating the Church's "preferential option for the poor."
Born of the experience of rejection and uncertainty, Temenos Catholic Worker seeks to embrace in the name of Jesus Christ others who have felt abandoned in their most difficult moments.