I went to The Catholic Worker, a soup kitchen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and served soup to the homeless, while I was still an atheist. The Catholic Worker was really the basis of my conversion, back to Catholicism, but when I first got there I had no idea that God was calling me back to Himself. Sadly to say I was spoiled by mother. So growing up I never cooked or even washed the dishes. Usually in Hispanic families the first born male is treated like a prince; at least this has been my experience. At the Catholic Worker I washed dishes, helped cook the soup, serve bread and soup to homeless people, swept the floor, mopped the floor, and my personal favorite was washing the big pot. I really enjoyed it.
I meet people who were funny, weird, from out of state, out of country, people from when they opened the Catholic Worker and, more importantly, people who knew Dorothy. I would hear stories about her. About her sincerity, gracefulness, her beauty, her quick and sharp tongue, and her devotion to people that she served. It was inspiring. I began to read her writings about finding Christ in the poor and taking care of the least of our brethren. Her thoughts on nonviolence and concern for the poor resonated with me on a deep level and I began think that I if was Catholic I would have to live like this. Since then the homeless have always been in my heart and serving them has been a significant meeting place for me and God. The image of Fritz Eichenberg’s, “Christ on the Breadlines” has been a constant reminder for me of finding God anywhere in anyone. I still go back when I can and an event like May Day is a great day to catch up with people; to be reminded of my roots.