Located in a former Franciscan Monastery in Chicago’s “Back of the Yards” neighborhood, Su Casa is a house of hospitality in the Catholic Worker tradition, made up of volunteers and guests living in community who attempt to live out the gospel values of non-violence, personalism, resistance, hospitality, and voluntary poverty. Founded in 1990, Su Casa’s current mission is three-fold: to provide a place of healing and hope for destitute Spanish-speaking families, to advocate for social justice in issues related to our work of hospitality, and to partner with our neighbors to make our community a better place to live. Su Casa is a recognized 501(c)3 organization in good standing.
Su Casa is located in a former Franciscan Monastery in the “Back of the Yards” neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. (3.8 miles from McCormick Theological Seminary). Historically the site of the Union Stockyards described by Upton Sinclair in The Jungle and the location of the oldest community organization in the country (started by Saul Alinsky), the neighborhood around Su Casa continues to be a made up of working class families, and Su Casa itself is on the border between Hispanic and African American neighborhoods. Outreach to this community currently includes a weekly soup kitchen that servers 80-150 people year-round, a weekly play night for neighborhood children, and an adjacent organic garden which is farmed by “Growing Home,” a separate work training program for homeless people.
The house has the capacity to welcome up to six families at a time, as well as six full-time volunteers, the average stay of which is 4-6 months. Most of the families are single mothers with children who have been victims of domestic violence, yet Su Casa continues to be one of only a handful of shelters in the city which is equipped to welcome the entire family unit—men, women, and children, and it is especially unique in its ability to work with Spanish speaking people. Additional programming for these families currently includes monthly excursions for the children, birthday celebrations, ESL classes, art programming, and ongoing support from our case manager in obtaining documentation, health care, and job readiness skills.
While participation would be welcome in any of the above activities, the field studies intern would be specifically charged with building partnerships with congregations for the sustainable support of the house. This would include contacting churches in the Chicago area, writing letters to their staff, and where possible speaking and/or preaching as a representative of the Su Casa community. There would be additional opportunities for grant writing, organizing fund-raisers, writing articles for Su Casa’s newsletter, starting new community development projects, and being a part of the financial decision-making of the institution.
The intern would also be responsible for leading weekly theological reflections for the community, taking part in staff, house, and board meetings, and for maintaining an overall pastoral presence in the house. There would be an opportunity for the intern to live on-site if desired.
Su Casa is located about 3.5 miles due West of Hyde Park.
By Car (20 minutes): 51st St West from Hyde Park to Laflin (beyond Halstead and Racine, before Ashland). Turn Right (North) on Laflin, building is on right.
By Bus (40 minutes): Bus 55 to Ashland, Bus 9 four blocks north to 51st St. East three blocks to Laflin St. Turn Left (North) on Laflin, building is on right.
By Bicycle (25 minutes): Take Garfield boulevard West past Sherman Park on your right. Turn Right on Loomis, Left on 51st, Right on Laflin, building is on right.
Sister Maria Davis, IHM, is the longest standing member of the Su Casa community and currently acts as Su Casa’s case manager.