Canonize Dorothy Day!

Cambridge, MA. I was glad to read Jim Martin's post on the likely beatification and canonization of Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. We may, as he suggests, rejoice at such a prospect, and I have indeed admired Mother Teresa for a very long time.

     But when Jim concludes by saying, "As I've said before, if John Paul and Mother Teresa aren't canonized then no one should be!" — I would add, I cannot think of a better American saint for our times than Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker movement and newspaper along with Peter Maurin. Just to read her journals - The Duty of Delight (so wonderfully edited by Robert Ellsberg) convinced me - again - of her lifetime of true, deep, realistic holiness. That she and her best followers were/are not eager to see her canonized — too easy for the rest of us — doesn't take away from the fact that she is a truly great saint. Indeed, this wise distance from the protocols of canonization strengthens the case for her exceptional holiness.


     So I happily emend Jim's statement to read: "Let John Paul and Teresa and Dorothy be canonized together on the same day!" But then, I realize as I write this that one could add Archbishop Romero and a host of other women and men who lived and died as Catholic saints while witnessing to truth and justice... But saint-identifying isn't exactly my expertise, so I'd better stop here.

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9 years 2 months ago
Not unrelated is an article '' Bishop urges priests to be faithful to Church's teaching on sexual morality'':

From Bishop D'Arcy

“The Church calls us, the Church ordains us, the Church gives the mission, the Church gives us the truth,” he told the priests in attendance. “We can never, in the confessional or the pulpit, give anything but the teaching of the church of Christ or ever imply that we support going against it.”

“Delicacy is called for,” Bishop D'Arcy continued, “and also restraint and understanding and compassion. But today, more than this, courage is called for on the part of priests. Courage to proclaim the truth, in season and out season.”

Harking back to his days as a student in Rome during the Second Vatican Council, Bishop D'Arcy recalled an encounter with Dorothy Day. She was asked what she thought the role of the priest was and what it meant to her, and she replied simply, “my priest is the one who gives me the hard saying.”

“Fidelity to the truth for the priest means that he is willing to give the hard saying,” emphasized the bishop. “Hard for himself, perhaps because he does not believe it strongly enough; because he thinks it it is too hard for the people and they might reject it. Or, a greater temptation, he may worry that they might reject him.”

Keeping the saying of Dorothy Day in mind, the almost retired Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend challenged his priests, saying,“I ask this question to you and to myself: have we been faithful to the truth and willing to give people the hard saying? My dear priests, I ask this question to myself in prayer and repentance and in truth, seeking only to know His will and to do it.”
Charles Lewis
9 years 2 months ago
I agree Dorothy should be made a saint. She's a true Catholic hero and her sainthood would only help spread her message of radical care for the poor and living the Gospel. But there's another thing that should not be overlooked: I would expect that she brought a lot of people to the Church just by the way she lived. For me, growing up, she was the face of Catholicism I most related to. This may not be the most orthodox of views, but Dorothy was everything I believe a Catholic should be. Read the Long Loneliness, everyone; it was just as inspiring as The Story of a Soul. Imagine what an inspiration she would be to all the generations to come, especially the young.
Luke Hansen
9 years 2 months ago
Photo credit: Bob FitchUnited Farm Worker picket line, 1973Lamont, California
John Donaghy
9 years 2 months ago
A few years ago I taught a few Introduction to Catholicism classes at a state university and used Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness as the closing reading since in this work she really shows Catholicism lived. I think it helped students - Catholic and non-Catholic - see the beauthy of radical Catholicism. One student shared that Dorothy Day's reflections on confession brought this person to go to confession after many years. I continue to recommend this book.
9 years 2 months ago
How about that picture of Dorothy Day! You gotta love 'er. She even makes St. Michael look wimpy.
9 years 2 months ago
Hear, hear!
Michael Widner
9 years 2 months ago
I find all of this very exciting and very important for our Church.  At the same time, I somehow (and I don't know exactly why) have to question the wisdom of canonizing what are basically "contemporaries".  It just seems that we need to let a little time pass so that we aren't quite so familiar with these great people.
History is an individual approach to the past, its impact on the present and what that means to me and to us. History is an Interpretation of events.
At the same time, I too would love to see these people canonized and if the Church sticks to its own rules, then that's all I need to know.  I would, for example, want JP-II canonized ONLY because of the proofs offered to us by God through his intercession, not because he was a "popular" contermporary.
Thanks to all of you at America, especially Fr. Martin for your continued teaching about the Saints!  They are so important to our everyday lives as followers of Jesus.
Finally, I want to add another name - Servant of God Simon Gabriel Brute' Sprititual director to Elizabeth Ann Seton and first Bishop of Vincennes Indiana:
Jordan Henderson
9 years 2 months ago
I'm a great admirer of Dorothy Day. I often pray for her and for her intercession that I might gain the clear vision and heart she had for the poor.

That being said, Saints aren't declared by popular proclamation. I believe the cause for her beatification has been started. If it is believed that it's being held up for any reason, by all means, air these concerns.

I find this article disturbing. It appears that the author is pitting the sanctity of one person against another, which I find distasteful. If you are really interested in seeing her beatified, I would think that prayer and perhaps helping out with the cause for beatification would be in order. You can find information on this here:
9 years 2 months ago
Can anyone share the context of that amazing picture of Dorothy Day?
David Mueller
9 years 1 month ago
Can we please have a layperson canonized for once?  St. Dorothy Day will be proof that you don't have to be ordained or a professed religious to live a holy life and be recognized for living the Gospel!


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