Tag Archives: Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day’s teaching on Justice

dorothy-day“If you find the life of Dorothy Day inspiring, if you want to understand what gave her direction and courage and strength to persevere, her deep attentiveness to others, consider her spiritual and sacramental life.”

These are the words of Jim Forest published in an article, “What I learned about justice from Dorothy Day,” that originally appeared in the July/August 1995 issue of Salt of the Earth magazine. This article is really good and I highly recommend it. One reason being you really do locate the source of Day’s thinking and spirituality in the Eucharistic Heart of Our Savior, Jesus.  Is there really anything more to be taught/learned by way of praying before the Blessed Sacrament?

Jim Forest began his association with Dorothy Day in 1961, when he moved to New York City to join the Catholic Worker community there. Jim is the author of an excellent introduction on the life and work of Dorothy Day called All Is Grace.

Dorothy Day’s caused for sainthood has been introduced. It would be good to learn from Day on how to be an authentic Catholic and not some secularist: Go to Jesus through the example of Dorothy!

St Teresa –thirsting for God

Mother Teresa & Dorothy Day, New York 1979 (Photo by Bill Barrett)I saw this picture of Servant of God Dorothy Day and Saint Teresa and wondered what they talked about. Did they pray? I wondered what the visit meant to each of them, and what was the lasting impact the meeting had for them and their co-workers. Saints meet saints and encourage others to be saints.

The other day Cardinal Pietro Parolin concluded a homily by remembering the two simple words of the newly canonized Saint Teresa of Calcutta posted in every house of the Missionaries of Charity: ‘I thirst’.

‘I thirst,’ the cardinal said, ‘a thirst for fresh, clean water, a thirst for souls to console and to redeem from their ugliness to make them beautiful and pleasing in the eyes of God, a thirst for God, for His vital and luminous presence. I thirst; this is the thirst which burned in Mother Teresa: her cross and exaltation, her torment and her glory.’

Both Dorothy Day and Saint Teresa give witness to thirsting for God.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!

Dorothy Day and the Benedictines

I found the following file on my computer this morning by accident –I wasn’t looking for it, but I was happy to find it. I’ve been harping on the Benedictine influence upon Dorothy Day and the importance the Rule of Benedict and the influence various monks had Day. For example, we have a good example of Dom Virgil Michel working with Dorothy Day at the Catholic Worker. Another is Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila Latourrette. Day’s sainthood cause is being studied at the moment and these things matter, in my opinion.

Virgil Michel, O.S.B., and the Benedictine Influence on the CW Movement:

Virgil Michel, Fellow Worker in Christ
by Dorothy Day

To us at the Catholic Worker, Father Virgil was a dear friend and adviser, bringing to us his tremendous strength and knowledge. He first came to visit us at our beginnings on East Fifteenth Street. He was like Peter Maurin in the friendly simple way he would come in and sit down, starting right in on the thought that was uppermost in his mind, telling us of the work he was engaged in at that particular moment and what he was planning for the future. He was at home with everyone, anywhere. He could sit down at a table in a tenement house kitchen, or under an apple tree at the farm, and talk of St. Thomas and today with whoever was at hand. He had such faith in people, faith in their intelligence and spiritual capacities, that he always gave the very best he had generously and openheartedly.

He was interested in everything we were trying to do, and made us feel, at all the Catholic Worker groups, that we were working with him. When he came in it was as though we had seen him just a few weeks before. He was at home at once, he remembered everybody, he listened to everybody.

Orate Frates, January, 1939

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.

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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