Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day talks about voluntary poverty and anarchism. This clip is from a 1970′s television special, “New Heaven/New Earth” which interviewed Day. It is available for purchase at cost from the Marquette University Catholic Worker Archives.

Dorothy Day was a Catholic, a professed anarchist, and an advocate for the poor and an advocate of pacifism. In her early years she worded as a journalist for some radical newspapers and as an activist for socialist and anarchist causes. After converting to Catholicism, she pondered how best to take the life and example of Jesus seriously. In 1932 she met French Catholic Peter Maurin, who had developed an idea for a “green revolution,” which combined rural farming with establishing houses of hospitality in cities on behalf of the poor. Out of this idea grew the Catholic Worker movement, aimed to unite workers and intellectuals in joint activities ranging from farming to educational discussions. The movement grew quickly. Within three years their monthly newspaper, The Catholic Worker, had a 150,000 subscribers, and houses of hospitality had sprang up in other cities outside of New York. The workers at these houses commit themselves to voluntary poverty and works of mercy.

Day and the Catholic Workers opposed all war, often at cost to themselves. When they protested WWII, many Catholics withdrew support from the Catholic Workers. Day was repeatedly arrested and jailed for protests against war and once while demonstrating in support of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.

On this page you will find not only the short video clip from an interview with Dorothy Day, but a few samples of her writings. None of the writings are hosted on the Jesus Radicals website, since the Catholic Worker website hosts a comprehensive database of her writings for The Catholic Worker paper in New York. In addition to her journalist writings, she published several books, among which are The Long Loneliness (1952) and Loaves and Fishes (1963).

Suggested articles by Dorothy Day for reading:

“Aims and Purposes of the Catholic Worker,” The Catholic Worker, February 1940, 7.

“Articles on War and Pacifism”

“Beyond Politics,” The Catholic Worker, November 1949, 1, 2, 4.

“The Pope and Peace,” The Catholic Worker, February 1954, 1, 7.

“Conversations on Distributivism,” The Catholic Worker, June 1955, 7.

“Catholic Worker Positions,” The Catholic Worker, May 1972

Suggested documentary about Dorothy Day:

Don’t Call Me a Saint