The Fig Tree – A Jona House resistance and Catholic Worker community

in Hammarkullen, Falköping (Sweden) and Cairo (Egypt)

The Fig Tree resistance community is an ecumenical nonviolence and resistance community located in Hammarkullen, Gothenburg, Falköping (Sweden) and Cairo (Egypt).  Hammarkullen (Hammer Hill) is one of Swedens most ethnically diverse neighborhoods, with people from 130 nations and 70 languages.

The Community is part of a molecule of communities in Hammarkullen. Different communities organize resistance, soup kitchens, reflections, parties. Rather than thinking the Fig Tree Community as a whole it works like a rhizome and a molecule: becoming, connecting, departing, moving, resting.

We have been focused on: Nonviolence training in Europe, Kurdistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Iraq. A Soup kitchen on Fridays in Hammarkullen. And we have built a house for three women from Romania working in Sweden with begging.

Our community is inspired by the tradition of Jona House in Baltimore, and the Catholic Worker movement.  The Catholic Worker originated in New York City in the 1930’s as a radical lay movement devoted to the Works of Mercy and the development of a nonviolent, non-statist social order through prayer, direct action and personal transformation.  Today there are nearly 150 Catholic Worker communities around the world which are involved in social ministries ranging from hospitality to homeless and marginalized people, resistance to war and racism, and farming. Most are based in the United States, but they are also found in Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands and now Sweden!

The Fig Tree Catholic Worker seeks to apply the tradition of Catholic Worker personalism (that is, the recognition that all people are loved completely by God and are of infinite value; and that we have a personal responsibility to serve our sisters and brothers in need and work to transform unjust social and political systems) to Gothenburg and the unique Swedish social context.  Currently, our work includes active support for existing programs that assist recent immigrants and addicts, offering hospitality to people in need out of our Christ room, hosting a twice-monthly Catholic Worker book study and discussion group, and organizing resistance to the Swedish arms industry.  We also maintain a close connection to the Swedish Plowshares movement, which follows the injunction of Isaiah 2:4 (“they shall hammer their swords into plowshares”) by directly disarming nuclear weapons and other tools of killing.

Our community currently consists of six people: We welcome you to visit our community or to consider joining us in this kin-dom experiment!

The Fig Tree Resistance Community disarms military radar

Together with the Fig Tree Community, SAAB Microwave Becoming2 Ploughsharesdisarmed military radar and parts of Test Range at SAAB Micowaves in Sweden, Thursday June 26, 2008

Per Herngren and Ulla Røder climbed over the fence at SAAB Microwave’s test range at Mölndal, Sweden on the evening of June 26, 2008, and planted fig trees in the area around the factory.  Using blacksmith hammers, they started to disarm military radar and parts of the test range.  They spoke to workers and guards about their intent until police arrived and arrested them half an hour later.

Read more
of the ploughshares action

Fig Tree links

Catholic Worker & Jona House
Civil Disobedience


Texts by Per Herngren

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