Dorothy Day Essay Research Paper Dorothy Day
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.
Only $13.90 / page
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 In September, the Post Office rescinded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
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
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,
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
“ 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
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
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,
William Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography ( New York: Harper & A ; Row, 1982 )
William O. Paulsell, Tough Minds Tender Hearts ( New York: Paulist Press,