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Dorothy Day helped found the Catholic Worker movement. She spent the last
48 years of her life as a Christian anarchist on the margins of society. In a church
organized like a pyramid, her Catholic worker houses were small, informal and
decentralized. She traveled alternative paths where other members of the church often
found it difficult to go. The only way to live in any true security, she would
point out is to live so close to the bottom that when you fall you do not have far
to drop, you do not have much to lose.
She and her companions lived the beatitudes, embracing voluntary poverty. Their poverty
included bedbugs, roaches and rats. She often spoke of foolishness for Christs sake,
and, like St. Paul, called herself such a fool. To attack poverty by preaching
voluntary poverty seems like madness, she said. But again, it is direct
Bishop OHara of Kansas City once told her, You lead and we will follow.
Dorothy did lead. When bishops were wrong, she told them so. As prophet she opposed any
use of religion as a prop for nationalism, capitalism or militarism.
Even when religious leaders opposed her vision, and their lifestyles scandalized her,
Dorothy remained fiercely loyal to the church. Because her deep faith was rooted firmly in
the sacramental life and traditions of the church, she was not only a faithful follower of
the Gospel but also perhaps this centurys most powerful witness.
Dont call me a saint! she once said. I dont want to be
dismissed so easily. Dorothy Day died on November 30, 1980. Now, although Christians
of many confessions easily recognize her as saint and prophet, no one can dismiss the
profound impact of her life and contribution.
"Dorothy Day" courtesy of and © Br. R. Lentz ofm. Reproductions
available from Trinity Stores www.trinitystores.com