André House Core Community Covenant
André House Core Community Mission Statement
André House is a ministry of hospitality, which combines the gifts of many people to pursue community in the body of Christ reflective of the Reign of God. We blend traditions of the Catholic Worker and the Congregation of Holy Cross. We are dedicated to serving poor persons by living and working among them. In serving and welcoming we strive to foster peace in an alienated world.
We believe in a philosophy of personalism, which values the gifts of every human being and calls everyone to a creative personal response to the world in which we live. André House provides opportunities for all our brothers and sisters to share their gifts through direct personal contact. This exchange engenders understanding, justice, and compassion, and together we honor the God who dwells in all.
André House intends to serve people who are poor through its capacities to provide food, shelter, clothing, companionship and other service, while recognizing other’s freedom to accept these. In serving people who are poor, we seek to learn from them. We strive to say with our actions: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Many donors, volunteers, and neighbors cooperate to finance and operate André House. A Core Community of full-time André House volunteers resides together to live and work for a life of greater solidarity with the poor. This covenant expresses aspects of their communal life, which both challenges and brings joy, to give clarity to those members.
We come to André House community blessed with the Spirit and inspired by the Gospel of Jesus. Our community is formed in the Catholic traditions shaped by individuals, lay and religious, men and women, influenced by the customs of the Catholic Worker and religious life in Holy Cross. Our time together is part of an ongoing quest for relationship with God and communion with God’s people. As we live and serve together, we strive to assist each other in that quest, seeking, studying, praying and living the Good News. We strive for integrity so that the values we profess in faith become part of our entire community and individual lives.
Individual Spiritual Life
- We expect people to be responsible for nurturing their own spiritual life.
- We encourage and will support each person in making a personal retreat (usually about 3-4 days). The timing and nature of the retreat should be discussed with the Core Community.
- We encourage each person to seek spiritual direction with someone outside the house.
- We encourage each person to become involved in the life of a local church, especially on Sundays.
Communal Spiritual Life
As a community we gather daily for prayer and worship, attending to the spiritual life of the group. We break bread together, we pray before meals and at points throughout the day, seeking integrity in life and ministry. As a community of hospitality we invite others to join in our spiritual life, but never make it a condition of service. We open ourselves to discuss faith issues with other community members.
- We encourage that individual spiritual gifts and leadership be shared with the community.
- We expect that when people are asked to lead prayer, that it be planned with sensitivity. We are open to diverse forms of prayer.
- We expect that the community will periodically step away from normal activities for retreat time together. We expect all members to participate.
- We expect members to participate in the prayer life of the community whenever possible. We reach out to absent members.
- We expect members to participate in First Fridays and in all special community celebrations.
André House is a Christian community gathered in service of people who are poor. We come as individuals with unique gifts, to build community reflective of the reign of God. We strive to work and live collaboratively, valuing the contribution of each individual, supporting and challenging each other in love.
Individuals in Community
- We encourage each other to develop our personal gifts and charisms in service to the community.
- We encourage people to be open to new experiences and to share in all aspects of the work, even that which is not immediately appealing.
We are a community of hospitality in the Christian tradition, welcoming a variety of people, recognizing that we all come together with gifts to be shared.
- We encourage each other to be welcoming, inviting others to share the life and the work.
- We encourage each other to get to know the extended André House community: guests, neighbors, volunteers, friends, benefactors, and others.
Core Community Common Life
We commit ourselves to the work of community, not just the ministry to the volunteers and people who are poor, but to each other. This takes time and work, which brings moments of both struggle and joy.
- We encourage people to listen selflessly, attending to the needs and concerns of each other and to challenge with compassion.
- We encourage people to be honest about their needs, voicing them in appropriate ways.
- We expect that individuals share responsibility for our common life in the houses. Love in community is expressed through mutual respect in the simple acts of living together.
- We expect each other to use days off and free time in ways that allow us to return to the work and community refreshed.
- The holidays are special times of increased work and celebration of community. Therefore we expect that all members of the Core Community be present Thanksgiving through Christmas as well as Easter.
Outside Relationships and Commitments
Core Community members will sometimes have commitments and relationships outside of André House that may positively or negatively affect the work and life.
- We expect that André House be one’s primary community and commitment. We expect that the common good be considered in all outside relationships.
- We expect that outside school or work be discussed with the Core Community in advance at the beginning of the year.
- We expect openness to frank dialogue with community members if conflict arises over these issues.
- Romantic/exclusive relationships within the Core Community are especially challenging. We expect openness to frank discussion and sensitivity to the needs of the community.
- We expect that romantic interests not be overnight guests in our houses. Nor should community members get in the habit of spending the night elsewhere. If two of the members of the Core Community are in a dating relationship the community will assist one of them in finding an alternative place in which to live while the relationship continues.
Community life will challenge us and call us to forget ourselves in the face of a greater need. In this process we will know the cross, but only through that journey we come to the joys that are beyond.
Extended Time Away
As a community that strives to be a family together, members of the Core Community commit to being present for all major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, 4th of July, etc).
We also recognize the importance of time away to relax and recharge our batteries. In addition to the personal retreat, we encourage and support each person to take a personal vacation. Vacations days over the course of a year normally should not exceed 7 working days.
André House Core Community opts for a simple lifestyle because we believe simple living frees us from non-essential material concerns. It allows us to bracket out or suspend concerns and baggage from our personal histories so that we can focus on the essentials of the universal human condition.
Simple living brings us to a greater degree of solidarity with the poor whom we serve. In living simply we are more likely to be trusted by them and are reminded of the powerlessness specific to being poor. This solidarity helps us to make decisions from the perspective of those in need.
Our daily commitment to simplicity requires a lifestyle of direct, personalist labor of a humble and servile nature.
- We expect as a community that we subsist on common holdings.
- We expect major community expenses to be discussed by the community before community money is spent. In emergency situations, financial decisions should be checked with the appointed treasurer and, in the absence of that person, another community member should be consulted.
- We expect personal spending to not exceed the monthly stipend.
- We encourage individuals to discuss and challenge each other towards growth regarding issues of simple lifestyle.
- Because we have access to donations, we encourage reflection on the acceptance of gifts and the use of other peoples’ generosity and economic power.