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New York’s Dorothy Day: A Catholic Social Activist, Inspirational Model, and Possible Saint

by John-Mark de Palma

Continuing our celebration of Women’s History Month, Catholic Charities of New York highlights the life and work of Dorothy Day. Nominated for sainthood by John Cardinal O’Connor 20 years ago and lauded by Pope Francis in 2015, Dorothy Day served the poor and homeless while she promoted women’s suffrage, pacifism, and worker’s rights. She founded the Catholic Worker newspaper in 1933 and served as its editor until her death in 1980. Dorothy turned away from her Bohemian lifestyle, becoming a Catholic convert and Benedictine Oblate of St. Procopius Abbey.

David O’Brien commented that Dorothy Day was the "most significant, interesting, and influential person in the history of American Catholicism." A point not lost with Pope Francis in 2015, when he likened Dorothy to Lincoln and Martin Luther King. He said, “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.”

In 1972, the editors of America Magazine wrote: "By now, if one had to choose a single individual to symbolize the best in the aspiration and action of the American Catholic community during the last forty years, that one person would certainly be Dorothy Day."

Related Content:

Dorothy Day: Our #1 Women’s History Month Nominee | by Alice Kenny, Catholic Charities of New York

An Introduction to Dorothy Day | America Magazine

What Is a Man, a Woman, a Saint? | Catholic New York

Diocesan Inquiry on Dorothy Day’s Cause is Initiated | Catholic New York

Dorothy Day: Her Life, Her Works, Her Legacy | Archways Magazine

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