Sainthood causes: November 2012 Archives

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.
luciani.jpgMany of us only know the name Albino Luciani. He was the one who became Pope John Paul I in 1978 and lived only 33 days as the Supreme Pontiff. That was 34 years ago; I was only 9 when the smiling pope appeared and then departed. I often think of what the face of the Church would've been like had he lived longer.

Celebrating the 100th birthday of Pope John Paul I (17 October 1912), L'Osservatore Romano and Il Messaggero di sant'Antonio organized a symposium on November 8 learn more about this enigmatic man. An editorial in L'Osservatore Romano gave but a peek of what was learned.

Indeed, it's interesting to hear that JPI followed three assumptions: "detachment from the world, obedience to superiors, and absolute faithfulness to the institution" in his ministry and that he was a lover of books. Me too. Apparently, JPI liked authors as diverse as Aesop, LaFontaine, Mark Twain (his favorite) to Chesterton and Dickens, among many. He also liked rock music and the comics. For a priest of the mountains he was an educated, curious and humane person. His cause for canonization is being studied.

Luciani spoke of the Second Vatican Council using soccer terms. Good for him. He got the point across to those who likely wouldn't know where to begin to understand the complexities of a Ecumenical Council.

Read the editorial for yourself.
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Day the saint.jpgDorothy Day is not a pawn in political camps. She is the darling of a political camp for either the seculars or the ecclesials. To apply political monikers of liberal and conservative, left or right is grossly inaccurate and a rather reductionistic manner to understand a person and her vocation, the vocation defined by love and happiness. True to an authentic follower of Christ, Dorothy Day's vocation was to be a saint, that is singularly focussed on her Lord and Savior; her vocation was to adore and follow Jesus Christ. Day's vocation was not to feed the the poor and argue for a change in governmental policy. As a friend said, Day's life is too easily "framed in political terms by people who anachronistically use words like 'liberal' and 'conservative' to describe a life that was never about that fight." Additionally, I fully agree with Martha Hennessy, 57, the granddaughter of Day who said she was uncomfortable about her grandmother's abortion. Let's pay attention to Martha Hennessy, "I wish we would focus on the birth of her child more than on her abortion because that's what really played a role in her conversion." Indeed. This is the pro-life position of the Church.

I significantly dislike the way Day's life is used to diminish a true practice of faith, of religion. The NY Times published Sharon Otterman's article, "In Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint," and it's typically misguided with tired cliches and wrong information (her facts are often wrong) yet useful in a limited way because Dorothy Day saintliness shines. Obviously Otterman wanted a story and not the truth.
Dorothy Day3.jpgThere are some among the Christian faithful who would prefer not to spend resources, personal and financial, on the sainthood investigation of the Servant of God Dorothy Day. As we know the US bishops have recently given their approval for the process to move forward. The for Day's cause for canonization is being promoted by the Archdiocese of New York; Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a very strong supporter, as is Cardinal Francis George among others.  

For what it is worth, I am in favor of Dorothy Day's cause advancing because I think she faithfully points out in concrete ways that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ is possible, reasonable, even for sinners like me. That is, she reminds us, the living, that the Church is a hospital for the sick (that is, for sinners), and not a museum of the self-righteous. Spare me the people who think they have the Christian path to salvation all figured out. PLUS, Dorothy Day is a Benedictine Oblate [of Saint Procopius Abbey] and that is a terrific witness of the laity taking the spiritual life seriously and humanely. Day's sainthood makes no difference to her; it does make a difference to me; men and women declared saints by the Church --infallible statements of faith-- aren't sainted for their own benefit but those who are a part of the living Church today.

Many have heard it said that Dorothy Day said, "Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed that easily." But did she, and what did she mean?
Day Time mag.jpgThe canonization process of the Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897-1980) the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) by an unanimous voice vote on November 13, 2012 at the annual meeting of the bishops.

Sanctorum Mater (2007), requires of the diocesan bishop promoting a sainthood cause to consult at least with the regional bishops' conference on the work of the cause. 

Regarding Dorothy Day, she is a very well-known figure who is often connected with her stances on the economics and politics; the Catholic Worker movement that she co-founded is seen as a socialist and not too Catholic today. Day was based in New York City and her cause of canonization is being promoted by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York and current president of the USCCB.
Dorothy Day half-length portrait, seated at de...
The Servant of God Dorothy Day's cause for canonization may move forward (or not) depending on how the vote goes. The bishops of USA are meeting this week in Baltimore for the annual business meeting.

Dorothy Day is a Benedictine Oblate of Saint Procopius Abbey. She holds the ecclesial title of Servant of God which denotes that the Nihil Obstat (which says that the Vatican is open to the cause moving ahead).

Cardinal Dolan recently said that Day was a woman of the Church --the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Roman Church; she loved her faith. She had a reasonable view of the Church's ministry, even her sinfulness and yet she held firmly to the intimate connection between the Jesus Christ and the Church.

The anniversary of the Servant of God Dorothy Day's anniversary of death is forthcoming on November 29 (1980).

Listen to what Cardinal Dolan said about Dorothy Day is here.
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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]



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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Sainthood causes category from November 2012.

Sainthood causes: June 2012 is the previous archive.

Sainthood causes: December 2012 is the next archive.

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