Dorothy Day: A Hidden Treasure

The title of this really isn’t fair. Dorothy Day is far from hidden. In fact, there are many who are seeking her canonization as a saint in the Roman Church. But, for most protestants she remains somewhat hidden. I had never heard of her until I read an excerpt from one of my devotional books. The heading of the section of the devotional is ‘Service.’ I read the brief bio that stated that she was a social activist and union organizer in the early part of the 20th century. The fact is, she was a Socialist. But, something happened. According to the bio, “while working as a journalist in New York City, Day moved from atheistic socialism to Christian belief, shocking her friends by embracing Roman Catholic faith.” She met a man, Peter Maurin, and together they co-founded the Catholic Worker movement.
As I read through the devotional that was taken from her autobiography, The Long Loneliness, I was struck by this person’s concern for the poor and marginalized. As I prayed afterwards I was drawn to check out the website of the Catholic Worker movement. A quick search took me to I began to poke around on the site. I did not spend a lot of time reading the various articles and pages that were there. However, tears began to flow. I wept as I simply viewed what these saints were doing.
I am a follower of Jesus. He said,
                         The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, 
                         Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. 
                         He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, 
                         And recovery of sight to the blind, 
                         To set free those who are oppressed,
                         To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord. Luke 4:18-19
While we argue about who is ‘in’ and who isn’t, countless people are suffering from hunger and cold and sickness. The questions about ‘Gays’ or socialists or whatever, you fill in the blank, simply are not important. Jesus came to save. He healed and he fed the hungry and he fought for the marginalized. Should we not be with him? Dorothy Day shames us. I hope the Roman church does canonize her. And, I hope the rest of us will honor her with our actions.


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