Dorothy Day Essay Research Paper Dorothy Day

9 September 2017

Dorothy Day Essay, Research Paper

Dorothy Day, laminitis of the Catholic Worker motion, was born in

Brooklyn, New York, November 8, 1897. After lasting the San Francisco

temblor in 1906, the Day household moved into a level in Chicago & # 8217 ; s South

Side. It was a large measure down in the universe made necessary because John

Day was out of work. Day understands of the shame people feel when they

fail in their attempts dated from this clip. ( Miller, p.4 )

When John Day was appointed athleticss editor of a Chicago newspaper, the

Day household moved into a comfy house on the North Side. Here

Dorothy began to read books that stirred her scruples. Upon Sinclair & # 8217 ; s

novel, The Jungle, inspired Day to take long walks in hapless

vicinities in Chicago & # 8217 ; s South Side. It was the start of a life-long

attractive force to countries many people avoid.

Day won a scholarship that brought her to the University of Illinois

campus at Urbana in the autumn of 1914. But she was a loath bookman.

Her reading was in a extremist societal way. ( Miller, p.5 ) She avoided

campus societal life and insisted on back uping herself instead than populate

on money from her male parent.

Droping out of college two old ages subsequently, she moved to New York where she

found a occupation as a newsman for The Call, the metropolis & # 8217 ; s merely socialist day-to-day.

She covered mass meetings and presentations and interviewed people runing

from pantrymans and pantrymans to labor organizers and revolutionists.

She following worked for The Masses, a magazine that opposed American

engagement in the European war. In September, the Post Office rescinded

the magazine & # 8217 ; s get offing license. Federal officers seized back issues,

manuscripts, endorser lists and correspondence. Five editors were

charged with sedition.

In November 1917 Day went to prison for being one of 40 adult females in

forepart of the White House protesting adult females & # 8217 ; s exclusion from the

electorate. Arriving at a rural workhouse, the adult females were approximately

handled. The adult females responded with a hungriness work stoppage. Finally they were

freed by presidential order.

Returning to New York, Day felt that news media was a meager response to

a universe at war. In the spring of 1918, she signed up for a nurse & # 8217 ; s

developing plan in Brooklyn.

Her strong belief that the societal order was unfair changed in no

significant manner from her adolescence until her decease, though she ne’er

identified herself with any political party. ( Forest, p.23 ) Her

spiritual development was a slower procedure. ( Miller, p.6 ) As a kid she

had attended services at an Episcopal Church. As a immature journalist in

New York, she would sometimes do late-at-night visits to St. Joseph & # 8217 ; s

Catholic Church.

In 1922, in Chicago working as a newsman, she roomed with three immature

adult females who went to Mass every Sunday and holy twenty-four hours and put aside clip each

twenty-four hours for supplication. It was clear to her that “ worship, worship,

Thanksgiving, invocation & # 8230 ; were the noblest Acts of the Apostless of which we are

capable in this life. “ ( Day, p.8 )

Her following occupation was with a newspaper in New Orleans. Back in New York in

1924, Day bought a beach bungalow on Staten Island utilizing money from the

sale of film rights for a novel. She besides began a four-year common-law

matrimony with Forster Batterham, an English phytologist she had met through

friends in Manhattan. Batterham was an nihilist opposed to marriage and

faith. In a universe of such inhuman treatment, he found it impossible to believe

in a God. ( Miller, p.6 ) It grieved her that Batterham didn & # 8217 ; t sense God & # 8217 ; s

presence within the natural universe. “ How can at that place be no God, ” she asked,

“ when there are all these beautiful things? “ ( Day, p.11 ) His annoyance

with her “ soaking up in the supernatural ” would take them to dispute.

( Miller, p.7 )

What moved everything to a different plane for her was gestation. She

had been pregnant one time before, old ages before, as the consequence of a love

matter with a journalist. This resulted in the great calamity of her

life, an abortion. The matter and its atrocious wake had been the

topic of her novel, The Eleventh Virgin. Her gestation with Batterham

seemed to Day nil less than a miracle. But Batterham didn & # 8217 ; t believe

in conveying kids into such a violent universe.

On March 3, 1927, Tamar Theresa Day was born. Day could believe of nil

better to make with the gratitude that overwhelmed her than arrange

Tamar & # 8217 ; s baptism in the Catholic Church. “ I did non desire my kid to

flounder as I had frequently floundered. I wanted to believe, and I wanted my

kid to believe, and if belonging to a Church would give her so

inestimable a grace as religion in God, and the companionable love of the

Saints, so the thing to make was to hold her baptised a Catholic. “ ( Day,

p.16 ) After Tamar & # 8217 ; s baptism, there was a lasting interruption with Batterham.

In the winter of 1932 Day travelled to Washington, D.C. , to describe for

Commonweal and America magazines on the Hunger March. Day watched the

dissenters parade down the streets of Washington transporting marks naming

for occupations, unemployment insurance, old age pensions, alleviation for female parents

and kids, wellness attention and lodging.

Back in her flat in New York, Day met Peter Maurin, a Gallic

immigrant 20 old ages her senior. Maurin, a former Christian Brother, had

left France for Canada in 1908 and subsequently made his manner to the United

States. When he met Day, he was jack of all trades at a Catholic boys & # 8217 ; cantonment in

upstate New York, having repasts, usage of the chaplain & # 8217 ; s library, populating

infinite in the barn and occasional pocket money.

During his old ages of roving, Maurin had come to a Franciscan attitude,

encompassing poorness as a career. His celibate, unencumbered life offered

clip for survey and supplication, out of which a vision had taken signifier of a

societal order, instilled with basic values of the Gospel. A born instructor,

he found willing hearers, among them George Shuster, editor of

Commonweal magazine, who gave him Day & # 8217 ; s reference. What Day should make,

Maurin said, was get down a paper to advertise Catholic societal instruction and

promote stairss to convey about the peaceable transmutation of society. Day

found that the Paulist Press was willing to publish 2,500 transcripts of an

eight-page tabloid paper for $ 57. Her kitchen was the new paper & # 8217 ; s

editorial office. She decided to sell the paper for a penny a transcript, “ so

cheap that anyone could afford to purchase it. “ ( Day, p.7 )

On May 1, the first transcripts of The Catholic Worker were handed out on

Union Square.

Few publication ventures run into with such immediate success. By December,

100,000 transcripts were being printed each month. Readers found a unique

voice in The Catholic Worker. It expressed dissatisfaction with the

societal order and took the side of labour brotherhoods, but its vision of the

ideal hereafter challenged both urbanization and industrialism. ( Miller,

p.14 )

For the first half twelvemonth The Catholic Worker was merely a newspaper, but as

winter approached, stateless people began to strike hard on the door. Maurin & # 8217 ; s

essays in the paper were naming for reclamation of the antediluvian Christian

pattern of cordial reception to those who were homeless. Miller, p.14 ) these

manner followings of Christ could react to Jesus & # 8217 ; words: “ I was a alien

and you took me in. ” Maurin opposed the thought that Christians should take

attention merely of their friends and leave attention of aliens to impersonal

charitable bureaus. ( Miller, p.14 )

By the wintertime, an flat was rented with infinite for 10 adult females,

shortly after a topographic point for work forces. Following came a house in Greenwich Village. In

1936 the community moved into two edifices in Chinatown, but no

expansion could perchance happen room for all those in demand. Chiefly they

were work forces, Day wrote, “ gray work forces, the coloring material of lifeless trees and shrubs

and winter dirt, who had in them as yet none of the viridity of hope, the

lifting sap of religion. “ ( Day, p.13 ) Many were surprised that, in contrast

with most charitable Centres, no 1 at the Catholic Worker set about

reforming them. A rood on the wall was the lone unmistakable

grounds of the religion of those welcoming them. The staff received merely

nutrient, board and occasional pocket money.

The Catholic Worker became a national motion. By 1936 there were 33

Catholic Worker Houses spread across the state. Due to the Depression,

there were plentifulness of people necessitating them. The Catholic Worker attitude

toward those who were welcomed wasn & # 8217 ; t ever appreciated. These weren & # 8217 ; T

the “ worth hapless, ” it was sometimes objected, but rummies and

goldbricks. ( Miller, p.15 ) A sing societal worker asked Day how

long the “ clients ” were permitted to remain. “ We allow them remain everlastingly, ”

Day answered with a ferocious expression in her oculus. “ They live with us, they die

with us, and we give them a Christian buria

l. We pray for them after

they are dead. Once they are taken in, they become members of the

household. Or instead they ever were members of the household. They are our

brothers and sisters in Christ. “ ( Day, p.17 )

The Catholic Worker besides experimented with agrarian communes. In 1935 a

house with a garden was rented on Staten Island. Soon after came Mary

Farm in Easton, Pennsylvania, a belongings eventually given up because of

discord within the community. Another farm was purchased in upstate New

York close Newburgh. Called the Maryfarm Retreat House, it was destined

for a longer life. Subsequently came the Maurin Peter Farm on Staten Island,

which subsequently moved to Tivoli and so to Marlborough, both in the Hudson

Valley. Day came to see the career of the Catholic Worker was non so

much to establish model agricultural communities as rural houses of

cordial reception.

“ What got Day into the most problem was pacificism. “ ( Pausell, p.105 ) Angstrom

non-violent manner of life, as she saw it, was at the bosom of the Gospel.

For many centuries the Catholic Church had accommodated itself to war.

Popes had blessed ground forcess and preached Crusades. In the thirteenth

century St. Francis of Assisi had revived the dovish manner, but by the

20th century, it was unknown for Catholics to take such a place.

The Catholic Worker & # 8217 ; s first look of pacificism, published in 1935,

was a duologue between a nationalist and Christ, the nationalist dismissing

Christ & # 8217 ; s instruction as a baronial but impractical philosophy. Few readers were

troubled by such articles until the Spanish Civil War in 1936. The

fascist side, led by Franco, presented itself as guardian of the

Catholic religion. About every Catholic bishop and publication rallied

behind Franco. The Catholic Worker, declining to back up either side in

the war, lost two-thirds of its readers.

Those endorsing Franco, Day warned early in the war, ought to “ take

another expression at recent events in [ Nazi ] Germany. “ ( Day, p.20 ) She

expressed anxiousness for the Jews and subsequently was among the laminitiss of the

Committee of Catholics to Fight Anti-Semitism. Following Japan & # 8217 ; s attack

on Pearl Harbor and America & # 8217 ; s declaration of war, Dorothy announced that

the paper would keep its pacificist base. “ We will publish the words of

Jesus who is with us ever, ” Day wrote. ( Forest, p.18 ) Resistance to

the war, she added, had nil to make with understanding for America & # 8217 ; s

enemies. But the agencies of action the Catholic Worker motion supported

were the plants of clemency instead than the plants of war.

Not all members of Catholic Worker communities agreed. Fifteen houses of

cordial reception closed in the months following the U.S. entry into the war.

The immature work forces who identified with the Catholic Worker motion during

the war by and large spent much of the war old ages either in prison, or in

rural work cantonments. Some did unarmed military service as trefoils.

The universe war ended in 1945, but out of it emerged the Cold war, the

nuclear-armed warfare province and a series of smaller wars in which

America was frequently involved.

One of the rites of life for the New York Catholic Worker community

get downing in the late fiftiess was the refusal to take part in the

province & # 8217 ; s one-year civil defense mechanism drill. Such readying for onslaught seemed

to Day portion of an effort to advance atomic war as survivable and

winnable and to warrant disbursement one million millions on the armed forces. When the

Sirens sounded June 15, 1955, Day was among a little group of people

sitting in forepart of City Hall. “ In the name of Jesus, who is God, who is

Love, we will non obey this order to feign, to evacuate, to conceal. We

will non be drilled into fright. We do non hold faith in God if we depend

upon the Atom Bomb ” . ( Forest, p.9 )

The first twelvemonth the dissenters were reprimanded. The following twelvemonth Day and

others were sent to imprison for five yearss. Arrested once more the following twelvemonth,

the justice jailed her for 30 yearss. In 1958, a different justice

suspended sentence. In 1959, Day was back in prison, but merely for five

yearss. Then came 1960, when alternatively of a smattering of people coming to City

Hall Park, 500 turned up. The constabulary arrested merely a few ; Day

conspicuously non among those singled out. In 1961 the crowd swelled to

2,000. This clip 40 were arrested, but once more Day was exempted. “ It

proved to be the last twelvemonth of frock dry runs for atomic war in New

York. “ ( Miller, p.24 )

Another Catholic Worker emphasis was the civil rights motion. As usual

Day wanted to see people who were puting an illustration and therefore

went to Koinonia, a Christian agricultural community in rural Georgia

where inkinesss and Whites lived peacefully together. The community was

under onslaught when Day visited in 1957. One of the community houses had

been hit by machine-gun fire and Ku Klux Klan members had burned crosses

on community land. Day insisted on taking a bend at the lookout station.

( Miller, p.25 ) Detecting an approaching auto had reduced its velocity ; she

ducked merely as a slug struck the maneuvering column in forepart of her face.

Concern with the Church & # 8217 ; s response to war led Day to Rome during the

Second Vatican Council, an event Pope John XXIII hoped would reconstruct

“ the simple and pure lines that the face of the Church of Jesus had at

its birth. “ ( Forest, p.13 ) In 1963 Day was one 50 “ Mothers for Peace ” who

went to Rome to thank Pope John for his encyclical Pacem in Terris.

Near to decease, the Catholic Pope couldn & # 8217 ; t run into them in private, but at one of his

last public audiences blessed the pilgrims, inquiring them to go on

their labors.

Acts of war doing “ the indiscriminate devastation of & # 8230 ; huge countries

with their dwellers ” were the order of the twenty-four hours in parts of Vietnam

under intense U.S. barrage in 1965 and the old ages following. Many

immature Catholic Workers went to prison for declining to collaborate with

muster, while others did alternate service. About everyone in

Catholic Worker communities took portion in protests. Many went to prison

for Acts of the Apostless of civil noncompliance.

Probably there has ne’er been a newspaper so many of whose editors have

been jailed for Acts of the Apostless of scruples. Day herself was last jailed in 1973

for taking portion in a banned lookout line in support of farmworkers. She

was 75.

Day lived long plenty to see her accomplishments honoured. In 1967, when

she made her last visit to Rome to take portion in the International

Congress of the Laity, she found she was one of two Americans & # 8212 ; the

other an astronaut & # 8212 ; invited to have Sacramental manduction from the custodies of

Pope Paul VI. On her 75th birthday the Jesuit magazine America devoted a

particular issue to her, happening in her the single whom best

exemplified “ the aspiration and action of the American Catholic

community during the past 40 old ages. ” Notre Dame University presented

her with its Laetare Medal, thanking her for “ soothing the stricken

and afflicting the comfy. ” Among those who came to see her when

she was no longer able to go was Mother Theresa of Calcutta, who had

one time pinned on Day & # 8217 ; s dress the cross worn merely by to the full professed

members of the Missionary Sisters of Charity.

Long before her decease November 29, 1980, Day found herself regarded by

many as a saint. No words of hers are better known than her brusque

response, “ Don & # 8217 ; t name me a saint. I don & # 8217 ; t want to be dismissed so

easy. “ ( Miller, p.46 ) However, holding herself treasured the memory

and informant of many saints ; she is a campaigner for inclusion in the

calendar of saints. The Claretians have launched an attempt to hold her

canonised. “ If I have achieved anything in my life, ” she one time remarked,

“ it is because I have non been embarrassed to speak about God. “ ( Day, p.1 )

Dorothy Day & # 8217 ; s life and plants are a great inspiration. Her altruism

and strength are great theoretical accounts for people today. She was non merely seeking

comfort the hapless but change their state of affairs. She incorporated CHARITY

and JUSTICE in her campaign for the hapless and voiceless. The fact that she

questioned the church in her spiritual development is soothing to me.

It shows that even the most sacredly devoted people have inquiries.

She took an tremendous hazard with her life while staying firm

confident in the righteousness of her cause. As a consequence, her life

changed many of our mentalities and perceptual experiences.


Tom Cornell, Robert Ellsberg and Jim Forest, editors, A Penny a Transcript:

Hagiographas from the Catholic Worker ( Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995 )

Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness. ( Chicago: Saint Thomas More Press,

1993 )

William Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography ( New York: Harper & A ; Row, 1982 )

William O. Paulsell, Tough Minds Tender Hearts ( New York: Paulist Press,

1990 )

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