Dorothy Day

1897-1980

Dorothy DayDorothy Day was born in Brooklyn in 1897 and raised mostly in Chicago. She attended the University of Illinois and then moved with her family to New York in 1916 to pursue a career as a revolutionary journalist. She became a regular correspondent for publications such as the Call and the New Masses. She involved herself in controversial issues of the day, especially women’s rights. In 1917, she joined picketers in front of the White House who were protesting the brutal treatment of women suffragists in jail. They were all arrested and served 30 days in a workhouse. After Dorothy’s conversion to Catholicism, she co-founded The Catholic Worker in 1933, with a first issue of 2,500 copies. Three years later, the paper reached a circulation of 150,000. Dorothy used The Catholic Worker to promote her position of neutral pacifism, which she held for all the wars that took place during her lifetime. In addition to the newspaper, she opened a house of hospitality in the slums of New York to provide housing for the homeless and food for the hungry. By the 1960s, Dorothy was an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people and was acclaimed as the “grand old lady of pacifism.” She died in 1980 after a lifetime of voluntary poverty, leaving no money for her funeral. The Archdiocese of New York paid for it.