St. Joseph House on East 1st Street and Maryhouse on East 3rd Street are sobering remnants of the old East Village. Staten Island resident Dorothy Day was known as a Catholic social activist and journalist. Most notably, she co-founded the Catholic Worker movement — which includes a newspaper that continues to publish new issues today — and two “houses of hospitality. ” She did not stop there, as she established more of these houses for the poor throughout the country and around the world. In addition to providing food for the hungry with a soup line that operates five days a week, both houses are home to two dozen men and women. In recognition of Dorothy Day’s remarkable life of service, she was made a “servant of God” by the Catholic Church in 2000. Her philanthropic legacy lives on here in the East Village through St. Joseph House, Maryhouse, and the newspaper she edited until her death in 1980. And, in 2022, a new Staten Island ferry will be christened with Dorothy Day’s name.
So much more than a hotel, Seafarers International House was founded in 1873 by the Augustana Lutheran Church as a mission to Swedish seafarers. Open to growth, this mission has evolved to include all manner of sojourners – of many nations and of many faiths. This 15th Street location operates as a guesthouse for seafarers and other travelers including refugees, asylum seekers, domestic violence victims, and displaced persons. Seafarers cares for these people in a variety of ways, offering social assistance, pastoral care, advocacy, and prayer. The foundation of this mission is a call to “hospitality to the transient, ” and the team at Seafarers has appropriately expanded their definition of “transient” to include those who have fared more than the sea itself. As for those who are seafarers by occupation, the House has expanded their work beyond 15th Street. Now that shipping technologies allow ships to remain in port for mere hours, not days, the guesthouse is no longer the best place for seafarers to get the care they need. Instead, the House has implemented port missions, sending supplies and a chaplain to offer care and companionship to the port itself. Christopher V. Roehrer of the Seafarers International House team spoke passionately about providing resources to seafarers that allow them to connect with family back home – be that in the form of a cell phone or calling card, internet access, or a even a regional newspaper. Having emerged out of a desire to care for those who feel isolated, Seafarers International House has grown into a hub of hope, offering hospitality to all those feeling out of place.