Labor Day: A Spirituality of Work

“Work,” the Persian poet Gibran writes, “is love made visible.”

A spirituality of work is based on a heightened sense of sacramentality, of the idea that everything that is, is holy and that our hands consecrate it to the service of God. When we grow radishes in a small container in a city apartment, we participate in creation. When we sweep the street in front of a house, we bring new order to the universe. When we repair what has been broken or paint what is old or give away what we have earned that is above and beyond our own sustenance, we stoop down and scoop up the earth and breathe into it new life again. When we compost garbage and recycle cans, when we clean a room and put coasters under glasses, when we care for everything we touch and touch it reverently, we become the creators of a new universe. Then we sanctify our work and our work sanctifies us. Read more

Women’s Spirituality in the Workplace (Part 2)

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Women’s Spirituality in the Workplace (Part 2)

A Compilation of Reports from Diocesan Focus Groups
(Spring, 2003 – Spring, 2004)


In late 2002 and early 2003, at the invitation of the Bishops’ Committee on Women in Society and in the Church, 17 arch/dioceses conducted focus groups on the topic of women’s spirituality in the workplace. The Committee provided a template with questions on spirituality and work. Each arch/diocese submitted a report to the Women’s Committee. The Committee compiled a summary report which is available at

Because of the success of these initial focus groups, the Committee invited additional arch/dioceses to participate in the project. Between the spring of 2003 and spring of 2004, an additional 19 arch/dioceses sponsored focus groups (St. Paul and Minneapolis also participated in the first round). These arch/dioceses, and the number of focus group participants, are: Austin (11), Brooklyn (61), Galveston-Houston (21), Grand Rapids (19), Honolulu (number not given), Joliet (20), Lexington (number not given), Metuchen (16), Milwaukee (39), New Orleans (7), New Ulm (7), Omaha (100+), Philadelphia (14), Rockford (61), Rockville Centre (40), St. Cloud (252 women responded to a questionnaire, an unspecified number participated in focus groups), St. Paul-Minneapolis (24), San Angelo (32), San Bernardino (8), and Superior (7). More than 500 women participated in these focus groups. Read more

Women’s Spirituality in the Workplace

Women’s Spirituality in the Workplace

A Compilation of Diocesan Focus Group Reports


In 2002 the Bishops’ Committee on Women in Society and in the Church embarked on a project to explore the relationship between women’s spirituality and their employment outside the home. As a first step, the Committee invited dioceses to convene focus groups on the topic. The Committee provided a suggested template and asked women to discuss such questions as: What do you find satisfying and frustrating about work? How do you balance home and work responsibilities, and how do you fit in volunteer activities? How do you make time for spiritual activities? Does your spirituality affect your work, and vice versa?

A cross-section of arch/dioceses—large, medium, and small, rural and urban, from all parts of the country—accepted the Committee’s invitation to hold focus groups. The groups were conducted over a two-month period, from late November, 2002 until late January, 2003. Each diocese submitted a written report to the Committee. This report is a summary of the diocesan reports.

Reports were received from the following 17 arch/dioceses (number of focus group participants in parentheses): Albany (9), Allentown (54), Biloxi (27), Buffalo (10), Chicago (22), Detroit (7), Gary (26), Jackson, MS (6), Las Vegas (17), Marquette, MI (29), Newark (8), Orange (8), Richmond (5), Saginaw (28), St. Paul and Minneapolis (9), San Bernardino (11), and Youngstown (16). A total of 292 women took part in these focus groups. Read more



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Hall of Popes
Monday, December 2, 1996

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. I extend to you a heartfelt welcome and thank you for having accepted the invitation of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace to take part in this meeting which is reflecting on the reality of the economy and the role of labour associations and unions in the defence and promotion of the dignity of workers.  I am grateful to Cardinal Roger Etchegaray and his staff for the generous willingness with which they follow the complex social and economic questions of our day. This meeting with you, distinguished union representatives from many parts of the world, gives me the opportunity to encourage you in your commitment, with the conviction that “work is a fundamental dimension of man’s existence on earth” (John Paul II, Laborem Exercens, 4). Read more

“Right to Work” Laws: Get the Facts


“Right to Work” Laws: Get the Facts

What is a “right to work” law?

Despite its misleading name, this type of law does not guarantee anyone a job and it does not protect against unfair firing.  By undermining unions, so-called “Right to Work” laws would weaken the best job security protections workers have – the union contract.

A “right to work” law is a state law that stops employers and employees from negotiating an agreement – also known as a union security clause – that requires all workers who receive the benefits of a collective bargaining agreement to pay their share of the costs of representing them.  Right to Work laws say that unions must represent every eligible employee, whether he or she pays dues or not.  In other words, “Right to Work” laws allow workers to pay nothing and still get all the benefits of union membership.

“Right to Work” laws aren’t fair to dues-paying members.  If a worker who is represented by a union and doesn’t pay dues is fired illegally, the union must use its time and money to defend him or her, even if that requires going through a costly, time-consuming legal process.  Since the union represents everyone, everyone benefits, so everyone should share in the costs of providing these services.  Amazingly, nonmembers who are represented by a union can even sue the union is they think it has not represented them well enough! Read more