Living Communion Resource Page

This page will be updated regularly with ideas for how your community (parish, neighborhood…) can practice economic mutuality in the spirit of the “living communion” initiative.

Decommoditizing Software

For our Jan/Feb 2023 First Mondays, we explored the influence our communion economy framework can have on our technological lives. Mike Bass offered us a primer on the current technological environment followed by an introduction to the questions we should be asking ourselves and how to chart a path toward a better way.

Some questions we considered together included: 

  • What does it mean to “consume” software relative to traditional commodities we hold in our hands? 
  • What do we make of the political and social “techlash”? 
  • What is a better way to engage with software outside of a financially-incentivized environment? 

During Part II, we explored concrete steps we can take as individuals and communities to respond to these questions.

Commons Management and Local Food Systems

For our November 2023 First Monday, Narendra Varma, the co-founder of Our Table Cooperative, introduced us to local food systems in Portland and gave us an overview of the principles of commons management, both of which inform the food sharing practices of our local mutual community (and hopefully yours, too!). While we sadly lost track of our discussion recording, check out this video from Our Table for an introduction to what they’re up to.

The Theory and Practice of Voluntary Poverty

Malcolm Schluenderfritz (host of Happy Are You Poor) guided us in a series of discussions on the theory and practice of voluntary poverty, drawing on Happy are You Poor by Fr. Thomas Dubay. “Voluntary poverty” is one of the fundamental “means” of the Catholic Worker movement that is, as Malcolm helps us see, something we are all called to as Christians.

During Part II, Malcolm helped us consider what living out this calling might look like in our daily lives as individuals and communities.

Redeeming Medical Debt

Medical debt is the largest source of consumer debt and about 1 in 10 American adults has significant medical debt. In June 2022, Ryan Callahan (South Bend, IN) led a discussion on medical debt drawing on his experience working on the business side of healthcare. During this conversation, Ryan walks us through what medical debt is and why it is on the rise, centering the stories of people worst affected, and giving detail on 3 ways for individuals and communities to help. Slides here

 Steps you can take
  1. Get engaged with Dollar For’s Debt Forgiveness Program: Dollar For helps patients navigate their hospital’s Charity Care policies in order to get their medical debt reduced, or even eliminated.See if you qualify to get your own medical debt forgiven–and share this information with a friend! Emma ( was recently trained as a Patient Advocate and can help you navigate this process, and you can become one for your community, too.
  2. Consider starting a campaign to support RIP Medical Debt: RIP Medical Debt uses donated funds to buy large amounts of medical debt for pennies on the dollar–and forgive it. Because it buys bundled debt portfolios, it is not able to forgive the debt of particular individuals (see Dollar For), but communities can start a campaign for a particular state or geographic region.
  3. Explore direct care providers: Direct care providers provide care outside of the for-profit insurance system. Check back here as we compile more resources!

Care for Creation: The Eucharistic Vision of Laudato si’

In July 2022, Prof. Lucas Briola (St. Vincent College) led a First Monday session on the the Eucharistic vision of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si,’ and its possible implications for a “communion economy”—that is, a vision for economic life rooted in our understanding of the Eucharist and what it means to be the Body of Christ. Dr. Briola highlighted connections between this economic ideal and care for creation in light of the Eucharist, drawing from concrete examples of communities who have put this ideal into practice. Slides here.

Additional Resources

  • Bethany Land Institute: Highlighted in Prof. Briola’s talk, a Ugandan organization inspired by Laudato si’ that “carries out its mission through an integrated education program in sustainable land use, economic entrepreneurship, and spiritual formation”
  • Catholic Rural Life: Highlighted in Prof. Briola’s talk, an organization that supports Catholic life in the rural United States, and offers a number of educational and liturgical resources
  • Saint Kateri Habitats Program: Similar to the Audubon Backyard Habitat Certification, created by Catholics. Also check out their page on region-specific Mary Gardens.
  • Wholemakers: Small groups for young adults focused on creation care and integral ecology