Tag Archives: Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day’s cause for sainthood advances

Today, Timothy Cardinal Dolan , Archbishop of New York, announced that he was setting up the various commissions to study and advance the canonization process for the Servant of God Dorothy Day. This part of the canonical process, the Inquiry on the life of Day needs to argue for the Chuch that she lived a life of “heroic virtue.” Dorothy Day was the founder of the Catholic Worker movement.

Dorothy Day is a convert to Catholicism (1927), a mother, and a Benedictine Oblate.

With Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933 in New York City. The Movement places a high emphasis on the virtue of “hospitality”, a supreme Catholic virtue and one that is spoken of directly in the Rule of St. Benedict. Dorothy Day died in New York at the age of  83 in 1980.

In 2000, Cardinal John O’Connor requested from the Holy See the nihil obstat, naming Dorothy Day “Servant of God” and thus opening the canonization process. Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo was named “postulator” or chief advocate for the Cause of Canonization. In 2012, Cardinal Dolan asked the body of US Bishops to formally endorse Day’s cause in November 2012; they approved.Dorothy Day Nicholas Brian Tsai

The Cardinal will appoint a historical commission that will report on the relevance of Day’s life in historical context and review her unpublished writings. Likewise, there will be a group of theological experts appointed by Dolan to review her published writings to make sure her teachings are without error. The process includes two readers for each publication.

George B. Horton said, “Dorothy Day created or inspired dozens of houses of hospitality throughout the English-speaking world, but she was also a journalist who published The Catholic Worker newspaper. Her articles in that paper alone total over 3,000 pages. Add her books and other publications and we will probably surpass 8,000 pages of manuscripts.”

The New York Archdiocese is sponsoring Day’s cause. Dolan will see to it that the documentation will be properly given to Congregation for the Saints. It will be this Congregation that will examine the evidence making a recommendation to Pope Francis whether what is written of Day is authentic give the next determination, the title of “Venerable Servant of God,” which gives an eye toward beatification and canonization.

Visit the Dorothy Day Guild for more information.

Dorothy Day and St Procopius Abbey meet again

Dorothy Day 2.jpgI don’t hide the fact that I believe Dorothy Day is a very reasonable and attractive candidate for the Church to canonize. Following John Paul’s insistence, we need more contemporary saints from among the laity. Several times in the past years I have posted articles on Dorothy Day (+1980) and I am happy to do so again today. My enthusiasm has less to do with Day’s social activism –even though at one time the Catholic Worker Houses were more Catholic and Benedictine-like– as it does with her accepting the truth of Jesus Christ as Messiah, her eventual conversion to Catholicism and her being a Benedictine Oblate.

Oblation as a lay woman she was first connected with the Benedictine monks of Portsmouth Abbey before she moved her Oblation to St Procopius Abbey (outside Chicago). However, there is a difference of opinion on where Day’s Oblation was first offered, Portsmouth or Procopius. The historians are doing some fact checking.
Personally, I have been anxious for the Benedictines and the officials of Day’s sainthood cause in the Archdiocese of New York to talk about the relevance of Day’s Benedictine connection and to propose it for the laity’s consideration to follow. Hopes have been fulfilled with St Procopius Abbey Abbot Austin Murphy’s posting of the Oblate Dorothy Day on their web site.
More on the Dorothy Day-St Procopius connection and the prayer for her canonization is noted here.

Benedict XVI: to whom do you belong? –asks for prayers for himself and future pope

When the Pope came into the Paul VI Hall he was greeted with lots of people which is typical, but there seemed to be more than c. 8000 people in attendance. The outpouring of affection was evident. Before the weekly teaching, he said, 

audience feb 13 2013.jpg

Dear brothers and sisters, as you know I decided. Thank you for your kindness. I decided to resign from the ministry that the Lord had entrusted me on April 19, 2005. I did this in full freedom for the good of the Church after having prayed at length and examined my conscience before God, well aware of the gravity of this act.

I was also well aware that I was no longer able to fulfill the Petrine Ministry with that strength that it demands. What sustains and illuminates me is the certainty that the Church belongs to Christ whose care and guidance will never be lacking. I thank you all for the love and prayer with which you have accompanied me.

I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me. Continue to pray for me and for the future Pope, the Lord will guide us!

The catechesis the Pope offers us today…

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Dorothy Day: former atheist, social advocate & journalist, moves toward sainthood

Rome Reports, a work of a group of laity covering news items concerning the Catholic Church particularly in Rome (the bulk of their reporting) but the reporters also cover other stories of interest to the Christian world. 

As you know I am hoping with eagerness for positive news on the studies related to the cause for canonization of the Servant of God Dorothy Day. Rome Reports did a news piece today: “Dorothy Day: former atheist and social advocate journalist, on the way to sainthood.”

Dorothy Day’s 32nd anniversary of death


Day's Funeral procession.jpgToday is the 32nd anniversary of death of the Servant of God Dorothy Day. The Benedictine Oblate from Brooklyn Heights, NY, who is remembered for her conversion to Christ and His Church and with Peter Maurin founded The Catholic Worker Movement.

In recent days we’ve learned that the bishops of the USA are standing behind Day’s cause for canonization advancing it to the next canonical stage. While the process may be protracted for some, it is a good and substantial process to ascertain the claim of sanctity of the person in question. As an editorial, I tend to think 30 years is a good amount of time between the death of a person and the study process commencing; in my humble opinion I think it was far too short of time for Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II beatifications; both are saints in my opinion, but I think the process can’t be shortchanged because of cosmic popularity.

Day was a Benedictine Oblate of St Procopius Abbey.

The Archdiocese of New York is in charge of the cause of canonization. You can contact the office at 212-371-1000, ext. 2474.

The following letter to the editors by Kenneth Woodward regarding the funeral of Dorothy Day which sheds some light on the New York Archdiocese’s involvement. Many are falsely led to believe the Church was callous because no bishop was present at the funeral Mass. Apparently, truth prevails. Read the letter.

To the Editors:

Your story on Dorothy Day and the bishops ignores a number of facts concerning her funeral, which I attended.

As it happened, Cardinal Terrance Cooke of New York wanted her funeral held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where the congregation would certainly have included many bishops, but the Catholic Worker community insisted that the funeral held in the neighborhood where Dorothy had lived so the poor could attend. Few actually did. At the church door each mourner was greeted by Cooke himself, not dressed in a cardinal’s finery but in a simple black cassock. Cooke did not stay for the mass because he did not want his presence to draw attention away from the woman for whose sake we mourners had gathered. Later, he held a memorial mass for Dorothy at the cathedral.

Cooke was a conservative churchman. So was Cardinal John O’Connor who formally initiated the cause on behalf of Dorothy Day’s canonization. Paradoxically, it was Father Daniel Berrigan and other members of the “Catholic Left” who opposed the effort to canonize Dorothy Day. Details can be found in my book, “Making Saints,” first published in 1996. Berrigan feared that in the canonization process the narrative of Day’s life would be stripped of its radical Christian elements. Those fears would indeed be realized if “Saint Dorothy” were to be venerated solely for her remorse for having had an abortion in the years prior to her conversion to Catholicism.

Kenneth L. Woodward

You also be interested to read the Eulogy given by the former Dominican Friar Geoffrey B. Gneuhs on December 2, 1980.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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