Dorothy Day’s Conversion

This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Catholic Worker by Dorothy Day (1897-1980) and Peter Maurin. When Day died, one writer called her “the most significant, interesting and influential person in the history of American Catholicism.” The Catholic Worker, with its newspaper, soup kitchens and houses of hospitality, was an unprecedented attempt by lay people to live out a radically evangelical form of poverty in solidarity with the poor, the “ambassadors of God.” There’s still nothing quite like it. Today marks the day that Dorothy was received into the Catholic Church, at Our Lady Help of Christians Church on Staten Island. She had a bungalow there before and after her conversion. This 1924 photo shows her sitting in front of it. She’s buried in Resurrection Cemetery on Staten Island. Just recently her diaries have just been published under the title The Duty of Delight. Father Jim Martin at America calls it “one of the most powerful works of Christian spirituality I have ever read.” There’s also a great documentary by Claudia Larson about her, titled “Dorothy Day: Don’t Call Me a Saint.”
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