On May Day 1933 Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin co-founded the Catholic Worker movement and newspaper in New York City. Since then Day’s life of voluntary poverty, direct action on behalf of the worker and the poor and absolute nonviolence and pacifism has been a constant inspiration for both Christians and non-Christians. Without dismissing the importance of other leaders in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, it is fair to say that Dorothy Day remains, at the dawn of the new millennium, the radical conscience of American Catholicism.
Popular interest in Dorothy Day has grown since her death in 1980. Such interest only increased when the Vatican announced on March 17, 2000, that it had approved starting the process for Day’s canonization as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Scholars, too, have taken an interest in Dorothy Day. In addition to her own writings (eight books and several hundred articles), there are numerous critical studies of her life and of the Catholic Worker movement. (See references) These studies all point to a conspicuous entwined thread in the tapestry of Day’s life, the unique combination of social activism and deep religious feeling. The dual passion of social justice and intimacy with God was present in Day’s life from her early years.
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