Dorothy Day doesn’t look like the Catholicism of my upbringing

“(Day’s daughter) Tamar is partly responsible for the title of this book in that when I was beginning it she was writing me about how alone a mother of young children always is. I had also just heard from an elderly woman who had lived a long and full life, and she too spoke of her loneliness. I thought again, ‘The only answer in this life, to the loneliness we are all bound to feel, is community. The living together, working together, sharing together, loving God and loving our brother, and living close to him in community so we can show our love for Him.'”

— from “The Long Loneliness,” Dorothy  Day’s autobiography.

I’m just fascinated by how peculiar she and the Catholic Worker movement are, and yet how much they take that peculiarity for granted. Some parts are beyond my understanding; she assumes much about the reader’s grip of communism and unions and socio-politics of early last century. But the “long loneliness” and poverty and co-suffering’s pretty universal.

How am I just now learning her story? Why were the movement and she, a Catholic as I was for 20-odd years, not part of the modern Catholic story I heard? Ah well. We get what we need when we need it, eh? Even in books, especially from books.

1 thought on “Dorothy Day doesn’t look like the Catholicism of my upbringing

  • 20 “odd” years a Catholic? Sounds like you were raised a Catholic, but no longer consider yourself Catholic? I pray that you will consider what this once “Protestantized Catholic” finally realized (though I must admit I am a slow learner so it took me way too long): the Catholic Church really is who she claims to be–the Church started by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the only explanation for why the Catholic Church is still around–it has to be the work of the Holy Spirit! Mere mortals could not have kept the edifice going through 2,000 years of heresy, schism, and scandal. And what a community of believers it is!

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