Our mission, therefore, is an annual home-coming, and in more ways than one. In the form of these wonderful uniforms, Mayan heritage cloth is coming home to the place of its origins but where, sadly, local people can no longer afford the ancient fruits of their magnificent tradition. Instead, Guatemala’s poor indigenous people have to rely on cheap second-hand clothing imported from (cast off by, is a more appropriate term) the US. Plus, major corporations are forcing local weavers into the use of cheaper, inferior cotton. The ancient Mayan cotton industry in Guatemala is dying—and in a small way, Goods of Conscience is trying to stem the tide.
In these uniforms, as in all the clothing we produce at Goods of Conscience in New York, three unique and mutually-sustaining elements come together. One, the foundation is the finest fabric woven from heritage heirloom cotton; two, the fabric is produced by the use of decidedly low-tech pre-Colombian weaving techniques and equipment; and three, our crafts people in Guatemala weave in a high-tech, highly reflective fiber produced by a single factory in the United States—a signature addition that authenticates our fabric. Our workers in our New York workshops and our weavers in Guatemala are intimately bound together! Now there is a benefit of globalization!
This gift to the students in San Pedro Crutzan is a significant gesture both real and symbolic that your vital support makes possible; we do not simply give the people money—although we do some of that too: $2500 goes to help feed children of the poor, and another $2500 provides for medicine and medical care for elderly people in the village.
But beyond these monetary gifts—important as they are of course—Goods of Conscience gives the indigenous students and their families access again to their own heritage in the form of these uniforms.
Their fabric is woven by another of our master weavers, Francisco Tcoc, who has woven a tattersall fabric in the elemental shades of the wild indigenous strands of Guatemala’s finest heirloom cotton. The uniforms were made in our Bronx workshop where designers and seamstresses thus re-interpret (high-tech fiber included!) and revive an ancient Mayan craft.
This dynamic form of giving demonstrates the interdependence and interplay of worlds old and new—and going far beyond the one-way monetary gift—empowers giver (you included!) and recipient alike. This is the vision at the heart of Goods of Conscience.
And there’s more! A thing of beauty is the fact that the gift bags (made of Goods of Conscience fabric) containing the uniforms are put together by students from my new parish of St. Mary Grand, students who are also preparing for their First Communion come May 2014. The bags also contain one of our hand-dripped candles and, still more importantly, an English-language primer, complete with illustrations, made by my local students themselves. This too is a great illustration of the potential of globalization to bring about the intimate encounter of worlds once separated by unbridgeable gaps.
We welcome your support, be it in the form of cash—checks are much preferred!—or gifts-in-kind. With the latter I am referring to Spanish-language texts books or teachers’ manuals on any possible subject. The children of San Pedro Crutzan grew up speaking one of almost three dozen ancient Mayan languages and have to learn Spanish in school! The cost of each of the 50 gift bags is $100, including the uniform, candle and share of the cash gift for the children and the elderly.
Please pray for our mission to San Pedro Crutzan. I am happy to say I will be in good hands, accompanied this time by my brother Christopher, my nephew Eamon and my friend and colleague Greg Lord, Goods of Conscience photographer, videographer and web designer too. He is the genius and workhorse behind the new site you are visiting right now.
Thanks very much for your friendship and support.
PLEASE DONATE HERE NOW
Goods of Conscience now makes 10” hand-dripped candles, produced right here at
St. Mary Grand, NYC
two for $10
We now import fair trade, raw coffee from the parish of
San Lucas Tolliman, Guatemala.
Every week we roast a fresh batch by hand in our new cafe
at St. Mary Grand, NYC
$20 for a one pound bag or
$15 for 10 Keurig pods
This is a new design for the Goods of Conscience basic
field shirt for men,
made of Merino Wool.
Available S,M,L, XL $220
Goods of Conscience is a not-for-profit fair trade company founded by Fr. Andrew O'Connor, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York.
Its growing line of products are made and sold in ways that uniquely benefit the lives of individuals and communities.
Goods of Conscience works with cotton growers and traditional weavers in Guatemala, and employs seamstresses in the Bronx, New York in the production of hand crafted clothing.
At home and abroad, Fr. Andrew's parish-based enterprises pay good wages and are both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Goods of Conscience is developing a network of US parishes to employ talented people to develop and manufacture products of superior quality — goods and services that do good, for workers and consumers alike.