“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.” –Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day was born in 1897 and grew up in Chicago. She was very sensitive to the needs of others and as a young woman got involved with the communists and with sexual immorality and felt pressured to have an abortion. Later she met a man who was an atheist and wanted to escape from life. Dorothy moved to the beach with him for three years, but she couldn’t accept his atheism. She got pregnant again and this time refused to have an abortion. This broke up her relationship so she moved to New York City with her new daughter.
There she met Peter Maurin, a French Catholic, who helped influence Dorothy to trust her heart belief in God and to begin to obey God’s leading. She turned from her old lifestyle and began to follow Jesus Christ. She said: “My manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount. In May 1933 she and Peter Maurin started a newspaper called The Catholic Worker. By 1936 it had more than 150,000 subscribers. It’s goal was “to promote Catholic social teaching and to promote steps to bring about the peaceful transformation of society”.
Homeless people began to come to her and she allowed several of them to stay in her apartment with her and her daughter. Soon she began to start Houses of Hospitality to help feed and clothe and comfort the poor. And she herself took a vow of poverty. By 1936 she and Peter Maurin had opened 33 Catholic Worker Houses of Hospitality across the USA.
Dorothy day felt the needs of others deeply and was moved by the poverty and injustice around her. Through out her life, she worked tirelessly to help people and to speak up for justice. She was arrested often in the struggle for civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights and against war.
Dorothy’s desire was to build a better world and to show the love of Jesus Christ to those who need Him the most. She said: “The greatest challenge of our day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each of us.”
Dorothy reminds me of one of my great heroes, Mother Teresa. Dorothy Day is number ten of my Top Ten Greatest American.