Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Dorothy Day: A New Way of Looking at the World

Dorothy Day's long labors came to an end on November 29, 1980. After her conversion, she spent half a century bearing witness to Christ and serving Him in the poor.

Dorothy was a radical in every sense: she was rooted in prayer, penance, and fidelity to the Church, while also recognizing that a living faith has radical implications for the way human persons regard and interact with one another.

Her extensive writings are a dimension of her whole personal witness, and her voice was prophetic in that it pointed to a way of looking at the world—the demiurgic, tumultuous, explosive world of the twentieth century (that continues today). She endeavored to give a voice to the poor, to the dignity of the human person and the mysterious workings of God's grace, and to the deep passion and hard realism of loving our neighbor, of loving one another in the here-and-now.

Before she began her powerful apostolate and founded The Catholic Worker, however, Dorothy Day underwent her own long and often difficult conversion experience. The hand of the Lord was upon her from childhood, but she ran from Him in the days of her youth. She ran down desperate roads and into dark places only to encounter the love of God again and again, until she finally surrendered to Him.

Her story is, indeed, a "Great Conversion Story," and though I cannot do justice to this remarkable story in two small pages of a magazine article, I gave it my best shot in the October 2017 issue of MAGNIFICAT.

I have been writing this monthly series called Great Conversion Stories for nearly ten years in this excellent magazine, and there's still more to come in 2023 and beyond. And there are many reasons (besides my column) to subscribe to MAGNIFICAT. It is a wonderful resource for daily immersion in the liturgical life of the Church according to the current Roman rite, as well as daily meditations, articles, and monthly full color reproductions of classic works of religious art accompanied by enlightening commentary. Magnificat is a great resource for people who want to pray daily with the Church even in the midst of a multitude of responsibilities in the temporal world.

The Servant of God Dorothy Day died 42 years ago. In marking this anniversary today, I can only provide the most brief of introductions to the early years of this great and unique, holy and challenging woman of faith: