Claire Schaeffer-Duffy

Member, SS Francis and Therese Catholic Worker House; Freelance Journalist

So, this very emaciated man with a burlap bag was ferreting through that trash looking for something to eat. And I went in the house and got two pieces of bread and spread jam. And just held it out because I didn’t speak Hindi. But he came over and we were, you know, just holding it like this. And I remember, kind of our two hands connected. And just, that curiosity about who’s the person on the other side of the fence, [laughs] in my life I think has been an early trait of mine. And that was just who I am [laughs]. But in India there were lots of opportunities to ask that question: who is on the other side?

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Claire Schaeffer-Duffy, was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1960.  She is currently a freelance journalist, lives in and runs the Catholic Worker House in Worcester, Massachusetts, and is involved in a wide range of peacemaking activist work within the city and beyond, with a focus on anti-war efforts.  Claire describes her childhood as formative in that her international, highly diverse upbringing in a home that cultivated a curiosity of the world has played an integral role in her interest in diverse cultures and peoples.  Her educational experience studying political and social thought increased her interest in social life and its connections to institutions, particularly that of religion.  Claire is a convert to Catholicism and is highly influenced by Catholic social teaching’s tendency to question the status quo, particularly in relation to suffering.  Her work is driven by the coupling of a strong faith grounded in seeing Christ and the value in all humans combined with an active resistance to structural inequalities through demonstrations and other forms of disobedience aimed at sending a political message.

Interview Date: 
March 29, 2017
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