History of Karen House

Over the years, St. Louis has seen two incarnations of the Catholic Worker, 40 years apart from each other.  Our current incarnation, active since 1977, has seen hospitality experiments, resistance actions, and great community throughout.

Explore the different CW projects and houses that have existed in our neighborhood over the years!

  • Our Neighborhood – our page dedicated to the other CW projects in our neighborhood, with articles from each one.
Dorothy Day's second visit, in June 1939.

Dorothy Day’s second visit, in June 1939.

Also, check out The Early St. Louis Catholic Worker (1930s) to read about the hospitality inspired by Dorothy Day’s visit in 1935.


Video: The Founding of Karen House

In this video, three of the women who founded Karen House – Sue Lauritsen, Mary Ann McGivern SL, and Virginia Druhe – tell the story.

This “Foundress Breakfast” took place during the 35th Anniversary Weekend of the St. Louis Catholic Worker, and includes memories of the early days of both Karen House and Cass House.

Click here for more photos from the 2012 Karen House reunion!

St. Louis CW 35th Reunion

St. Louis CW 35th Reunion

Cass House Community, mid 80's. Zach Davisson, Tommy Askew, Tim Pekarek, Audrey Tomkins, Emmett McAuliff, Carol Donohue, Jeffrey Tomkins, Janet Mckennis, Stanley Hackney

Cass House Community 1985

Friends from Kabat House and the Neighborhood

Karen House Community 2011

Karen House Community 2011