Dorothy Day is a shero of mine! But I will never call her a saint! The tradition of commemorating saints on the day of their death makes today a day for celebrating Dorothy Day! But, Dorothy Day objected, “Don’t call me a saint! I don’t want to be dismissed so easily!”
Dorothy Day died in 1980, at the age of 83. She was one of the greatest religious figures of the century, and one of the most paradoxical. She was a Catholic and she was an anarchist. She condemned poverty and she advocated against it. She founded the Catholic Worker, a loose aggregation of ”houses of hospitality,” communal farms, newspapers and round-table discussions for ”further clarification of thought” — and called her memoirs ”The Long Loneliness.” The movement was wary of authority, yet revered her as its leader.
When she died, a multitude came down to the old dwelling off the Bowery to pay their respects, the way people had come to Catholic Worker houses for soup ever since the Depression. There were Catholic Workers, social workers, migrant workers, the unemployed; addicts, alcoholics, anarchists; Protestants, Jews and agnostics; the devout and the strident and the curious, there to see what a saint looked like.
On this day, I celebrate the life and witness of Dorothy Day a shero, a Christian mystic with all the attributes of a saint!