A Radical Lay Catholic
Dorothy Day's life and legacy is a radical movement, faithful to the Gospel and the church, immersed in the social issues of the day, with the aim of transforming both individuals and society. In an age marked by widespread violence, impersonal government, shallow interpersonal commitments, and a quest for self-fulfillment, Dorothy Day's spirit fosters nonviolence, personal responsibility of all people to the poorest ones among us, and fidelity to community and to God.
Dorothy Day's vision continues in the Catholic Worker Movement that she cofounded with Peter Maurin. Approximately 120 Catholic Worker communities serve in the United States, with new houses of hospitality opening every year. Dorothy left no rule or directions for the Catholic Worker communities. The rule she lived by and promoted is contained in the Gospels, most particularly in the Sermon on the Mount and in Matthew, chapter 25.
The vision of Dorothy Day lives on in The Catholic Worker newspaper that has been continually published since 1933. Dorothy was a journalist all her adult life, and she lived through and commented on the central events of the twentieth century: wars, economic depression, class struggle, the nuclear threat, and the civil rights movement. The Catholic Worker and her prodigious writings always focus the light of the Gospel on our conscience as we struggle with these issues. She wrote to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.
These world issues and the suffering of humanity still challenge people of conscience to create a better world. Dorothy Day's response is essential Gospel: an old vision, so old it looks new. Her vision is anchored in the apostolic era and is essential for the atomic age. It challenges us to build community, grow in faith, and serve poor people. Her vision is a model of liberation for the United States.