I was struck by the sense that Dorothy Day is the patron saint of mid-life,” said Paul Elie, author of a joint biography of Day, Walter Percy, Flannery … When the Cold War was at its height, she vociferously asserted that the Soviets differed from the Gospels only in the methods they used to achieve equality. Dorothy Day was hailed as a modern day saint, (1) as one of the “10 Catholic women who changed the world,” (2) as “one of the most significant women in the life of the Church in the United States,” this last statement by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York , (3) , and as a “great reformer in American history” by President Barak Obama. There was hardly anything she did which didn't attract criticism. The path to heaven, it seems, is marked by open doors and the smell of onions. Nothing we achieved was ever our doing, it was only God's mercy passing through us. In 1932 she had found a partner and soul mate in the brilliant French autodidact Peter Maurin, who believed that she could reform the Catholic Church much as St. Catherine of Siena had done in the 14th century. Her big sacrifice every Lent was giving up smoking, but having to get by without a cigarette made her increasingly irritable as the days passed, until the rest of the community was praying she would light up a smoke. Many voices are in support of the canonization process, citing Dorothy Day's life as an example that has inspired them to … For John Loughery and Blythe Randolph, Dorothy Day’s wholehearted approach to life explains her religious conservatism — her desire to … The paper would eventually acquire 100,000 readers. How could she be so radical about social matters and so conservative about her Church? According to her apochryphal tradition, she was a resident of Caesarea, Cappadocia, who when she refused to sacrifice to the gods during Emperor Diocletian's persecution of the Christians, was tortured by the governor and ordered executed. Her basic message was stunningly simple: We are called by God to love one another as He loves us. Reprinted with permission of Canticle Magazine. I was 20 years old the first time I saw her. From left, Cesar Chavez, Coretta Scott King and Dorothy Day at a service for farm workers at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, 1973. They also include perceptive portraits of her colleagues, lovers and friends, who in these early days included Mike Gold, a prominent American communist, and the playwright Eugene O’Neill. When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. A day never passed without Dorothy speaking of the works of mercy: Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, caring for sick, visiting prisoners, burying the dead, admonishing the sinner, instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries, praying for the living and the dead. "Dorothy Day Saint and Troublemaker." The authors render their subject in precise and meticulous detail, generating a vivid account of her political and religious development. The family moved to San Francisco and then Chicago, where they lived in poorer housing after Dorothy’s father lost his job. Sacramental life was the rockbed of her existence. Dorothy Day was certainly not without her rough edges. "All the way to heaven is heaven," she so often said, quoting Saint Catherine of Siena — "because He said, I am the Way. Dorothy Day – ‘a saint for our times’ November 30, 2018. "Christ is in the stranger, in the person who has nowhere to go and no one to welcome him. John Loughery and Blythe Randolph, who are seasoned biographers, claim that they will never again have such a “challenging and complex” subject as Day, implying that this in part justifies their biography, “Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century” — the first full-length portrait, according to the book jacket, to appear in 40 years. First, like the faithful women who both stood beneath the cross of Christ and carried his … Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth: Dorothy Day did not preach at people, ... She did not want to be called a saint because she thought of herself as a sinner always in need of more help from God. Those who cannot see the face of Christ in the poor are atheists indeed," she often said. das Erzbistum New York, das Seligsprechungsverfahren zu eröffnen. Dorothy Day, Servant of God Almost immediately after her death in 1980 controversy arose about whether Dorothy Day should be canonized a Saint by the Church. Dorothy Day died 38 years ago. If she was one of the freest persons alive, she was also one of the most disciplined. The mere fact of her having died 17 years ago doesn't seem to get in the way. Dorothy Dayand her family had to mo… A movement to have Dorothy Day canonized as a saint in the Catholic Church began in the 1990s. There is not only hospitality of the door, but also hospitality of the face and heart. What got her in the most hot water was her sharp social criticism. Saint Dorothy is a 4th-century virgin martyr who was executed at Caesarea Mazaca. Thereafter he used a chalice. Pope Francis cited Day — alongside Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton. I am among them. For John Loughery and Blythe Randolph, Dorothy Day’s wholehearted approach to life explains her religious conservatism — her desire to experience the entire Catholic package, warts and all. Day was a tireless advocate for the poor and homeless, but what exactly is a saint and was she one? To a college student who asked a sarcastic question about her recipe for soup, she responded, "You cut the vegetables until your fingers bleed." He was a sports article writer for the paper and majored in writing on horse racing. Feastday: February 6. The final authority was Dorothy Day — not a responsibility she enjoyed, but no one else could make a final decision that would be respected by the entire staff. Mar 10, 2013 - " The Greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart.". People sometimes tell me how lucky I am to have been part of the same community that Dorothy Day belonged to. One year, as Lent approached, the priest who ordinarily heard her confessions urged her not to give up cigarettes that year, but instead to pray daily, "Dear God, help me stop smoking." While she occasionally deplored statements or actions by members of the hierarchy, she was by no means an opponent of the bishops or someone campaigning for structural changes in the Church. She had no kind words for war or anything having to do with it war. Dorothy Day's main achievement is that she taught us the Little Way of love, which it so happens, involves cutting up a great many onions. Dorothy Day is a saint because she lived a life of heroic sanctity, just like most of us strive to do each day — or at least strive to do every couple of days. "They live with us, they die with us, and we give them a Christian burial. Still more remarkable, she remained a person of hope and gratitude to the end. It's a century since Dorothy Day was born and nearly twenty years since she died, but she continues to touch our lives, not only as a person we remember with gratitude, but also as a saint, if by the word "saint" we mean a person who helps us see what it means to follow Christ. She should not be confused with another 4th-century saint, Dorothea of Alexandria. I picked Dorothy Day. If God was one key word, hospitality was another. Years later it was mainly in the beach house that she found the peace and quiet to write her autobiography, The Long Loneliness. When I think of her, the first image that comes to mind is Dorothy on her knees praying before the Blessed Sacrament, either in the chapel at the farm, or in one of several urban parish churches near the Catholic Worker. Pleased as she was when home Masses were allowed and the Liturgy translated into English, she didn't take kindly to smudging the border between the sacred and mundane. While she hated every kind tyranny and never ceased to be thankful for America having taken in so many people fleeing poverty and repression, she was fierce in her criticism of capitalism and consumerism. If Dorothy Day is ever canonized, the record of who she was, what she was like, and what she did is too complete and accessible for her to be hidden in wedding cake icing. If the question means "Has Dorothy Day been formally recognized as a saint? For many years, she said, she had been a heavy smoker. She repeated again and again a saying from the early Church, "Every home should have a Christ room in it, so that hospitality may be practiced." I met her at the Catholic Worker Farm on Staten Island in the days when the island still had rural areas, its only link to the rest of New York City being the ferry. Michelle Boorstein. This was most notable in her religious life. Canticle: The Voice of Todays Catholic Woman is published quarterly by Urbi et Orbi Communications. But it may also be true that Day’s life highlights tensions that are currently of concern to both Catholics and Americans. We designed our website to be very user friendly. Share on Facebook. Once they are taken in, they become members of the family. We pray for them after they are dead. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ.". She will be the patron saint, not only of homeless people and those who try to care for them, but also of people who lose their temper. Feast Day of Saint Dorothy The Feast Day of Saint Dorothy is February 6th. The origin of Feast Days: most saints have specially designated feast days and are associated with a specific day of the year and these are referred to as the saint's feast day. Now many want the Vatican to make her a saint. In 1917, at the age of 20, she was arrested during a suffragist rally outside the White House and experienced for the first but not last time the terror and brutality of an American jail, with its filthy cells, exposed toilets, violent guards and, in this instance, the physiological and psychological nightmare of forced feedings. DOROTHY DAYDissenting Voice of the American CenturyBy John Loughery and Blythe Randolph. At her death in 1980, historian David O'Brien called Dorothy Day "the most influential, interesting, and significant figure” in the history of American Catholicism. The Dorothy Day Canonization Support Network exists to help make this happen. In the Hebrew Bible, the word for “holiness” (qadosh) literally means “set apart, other”; and the cultivation of sanctity has often been an “othering” — a deliberate and dramatic inversion of a social or spiritual norm. For subscription information visit their web site at http://www.canticlemagazine.com/ or call 1.800.789-9494. Canticle Magazine (Winter, 1998). It was a simple structure with a few plain rooms and a cast iron stove. In March 2000, 20 years after her death, the Vatican began a stringent examination of Dorothy Day’s life to prove that she had demonstrated the “heroic virtue” that qualifies a Catholic for sainthood; this process is ongoing. In this case, when Dorothy returned from a cross-country speaking trip, she told the two people running the kitchen that the butter and eggs should go to the family, which led to their resigning from kitchen work and soon after leaving the community trailing black smoke, convinced that Dorothy Day wasn't living up to the writings of Dorothy Day. In her wholehearted embrace of the Catholic faith, was Day also attempting an “othering,” tacitly and subversively suggesting that there were different ways of being a loyal citizen and devout Christian — that the radicalism of a St. Francis, indeed, of Jesus himself, spoke imperatively to the American dilemma? He is the author of All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day, Love is the Measure, a biography of Dorothy Day, Praying With Icons, Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment, and, with Tom Cornell and Robert Ellsberg, co-edited A Penny a Copy: Readings from the Catholic Worker. I learned more about the Eucharist that day than I had from any book or sermon. A social worker asked Dorothy one day how long the down-and-out were permitted to stay. If an outsider who comes to visit us doesn't pay attention to our prayings and what that means, then he'll miss the whole point.". -from the homily given by Pope Francis on the All Saints Day, November 1, 2017 The most effective way for future generations to be inspired by Dorothy Day’s life and values is through official canonization. What is life without transcendence? Dorothy’s religiously inspired politics flagrantly challenged the Enlightenment ideals of the American Constitution. It was simply murder wrapped in flags. She was the third of five children and had three brothers and a sister. Author and Publisher - Catholic Online. Then one morning she woke up, reached for a cigarette, and realized she didn't want it and never smoked another. As she said, "We are here to celebrate Him through these works of mercy.". If we experienced love for another person, whether wife or child or friend or enemy, it was God's love. Dorothy Day in 1916 Bettmann Archive The movement to have Dorothy Day canonized started shortly after the centennial of her birthday, November 8, 1997, by John Cardinal O’Connor. St. Dorothy. Passionately denouncing the inequity of his time, Francis of Assisi abjured his wealth and joined the beggars. Yet she also welcomed back others who had left Catholic Worker communities to fight in the Second World War. The news that America’s bishops, led by Cardinal Dolan, have unanimously approved the cause of Dorothy Day—-the famous convert and Catholic Worker leader—-has brought joy to her many admirers. One of the miracles of Dorothy's life is that she remained part of a conflict-torn community for nearly half a century. It was a learning experience for the priest as well. Several months ago, in writing about Day’s “ dynamic orthodoxy ,” I put forward the reasons I thought she merited sainthood, despite the controversial aspects of her life. She spoke against the draft in Congress shortly after the beginning of World War II, and in her lectures and articles, she condemned the use of the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They might disagree about the best way to fight Nazism, but as she often said, there is no party line in the Catholic Worker movement. But is she a saint? When she was 12, her parents allowed her to be baptized in the Episcopal Church, which she attended for a year before giving it up to focus on politics. She used that prayer for several years without it having any impact on her addiction. Accused of flouting male authority by demanding that bishops and priests reform, Catherine of Siena starved herself, becoming frighteningly and androgynously “other.” Ever since the Pilgrim fathers fled the “popery” of Europe, America’s national religion has been Protestant, and Catholicism was long felt to be incompatible with enlightened liberty. Is Dorothy Day a Saint? She was attentive to fast days and fast seasons. • In 1992, Day received the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey. Part II in a series examining the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, an American activist and founder of the Catholic Worker movement. Even hospitality scandalizes some people. Even though her middle-class Republican family had no interest in faith and her father shared a widely held disdain for Catholicism, Dorothy was attracted to religion from an early age. It is the living from day to day, she once said, taking no thought for the morrow, seeing Christ in all who come to us, and trying literally to follow the Gospel that resulted in this work. No term, in her mind, better described the ideal Christian way of doing things. Dorothy Day – ‘a saint for our times’ November 30, 2018 6.42am EST Dorothy Day died 38 years ago. Dorothy Day, American journalist and Roman Catholic reformer, cofounder of the Catholic Worker newspaper, and an important lay leader in its associated activist movement, the Catholic Worker Movement. If Dorothy Day is ever canonized, the record of who she was, what she was like, and what she did is too complete and accessible for her to be hidden in wedding cake icing. Dorothy Day (* 8.November 1897 in Brooklyn, New York; † 29. In reality, Catholic Worker community life in Manhattan in the early sixties, had much in common with purgatory. ", It was chiefly through the writings of Saint Therese of Lisieux that Dorothy had been drawn to the Little Way. But while reading their respectful account, I began to wonder if Day’s religious conservatism might also, perhaps unconsciously, have been politically subversive. The greatest challenge of the day is how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us.”   Dorothy Day, co-founder of Catholic Worker movement, born November 8, 1897. Whether traveling or home, it was a rare day when Dorothy didn't go to Mass, while on Saturday evenings she went to confession. For all her traveling, most of Dorothy's life was spent in New York City. Her father was a native of Tennessee, but of Irish heritage, while her mother was a native of New York, with English ancestry. Day and Maurin also tried, less successfully, to create self-sustaining farming communities, with the goal of furthering Maurin’s dream of a “green revolution” long before environmental issues became a public concern. More recently, in September 2015, Pope Francis cited Day — alongside Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton — as an American who exemplified principles that were desperately needed in our inequitable world. Increasingly, Day asked herself: Why are we here? I don't want to be dismissed that easily.". Dorothy Day was certainly not without her rough edges. She also felt increasingly drawn to Catholic churches, where she was deeply moved by the cadences of medieval hymns as she stumblingly learned to pray the rosary. What was needed, she said, wasn't new doctrine, but our living the existing doctrine. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven: Dorothy Day lived a humble life. Following its review by a theological commission, a recommendation would be made to the pope that, pending a documented miracle linked to her, Dorothy Day would be declared “Venerable” and later “Blessed.” A second miracle would then open the way for her formal recognition as a saint. St. Dorothy is a legendary saint who was pre-congregational - declared a saint before the canonization process was instituted in the 12th century. Not everyone was all thorns, but agreement within the staff was as rare as visits by the President of the United States. He lives in the Netherlands. She was ancient, that is to say 62 years old, seven years older than I am today. She and Theophilus are mentioned in the Roman … I don’t want to be dismissed that easily." Some of them may even be called “saint” in the future by the Church. Her day began with lighting up a cigarette. If Dorothy Day is ever canonized, she will be the patron saint not only of homeless people and those who try to care for them, but also of people who lose their temper. She embraced doctrines and practices that Protestants had deplored since the Reformation: transubstantiation, the cult of Mary and the saints, the rosary, relics, confession and indulgences. When you go back and look at her childhood, you see those little influences — … Our own love wasn't our love. Dorothy was never too polite to speak about God. Tweet on Twitter. Kris McGregor: There are people out there who feel that Dorothy Day’s not worthy to be a saint. It was in that connection she told me a story about prayer. I have to write a report on saints. She is called a martyr of the Diocletianic Persecution, although her death occurred after the resignation of Diocletian himself. Catholic Online; Saints & Angels; Facts.
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