Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who Is Today's Saint? (Special FranIam Edition)

Today's saint is not a saint, though she is on-track to become one. Fresh! Today marks the anniversary of her death in 1980, so I guess this is the day my Saint-A-Day Guide has assumed would be her feast day.

She is Dorothy Day. (Not Doris Day, lover of animals and the fabulous Rock Hudson). Apparently the most fascinating thing about Dorothy Day is that she had an abortion. Okay, I kid. Except that every single bit of information about Ms. Day on the 'nets include the fact that she had an abortion. Personally, after a lifetime of good works, I would think that would suck. Maybe they'll make her the patron saint of abortion doctors?

Here's what my Saint-A-Day Guide says about Dorothy Day:

In her younger days Dorothy was a suffragette, a Communist, a journalist [blog note: isn't that redundant?] a free love advocate and a knockout to boot. She had a seies of lovers (including Eugene O'Neill), a divorce, an illegal abortion, and a "punk" hairdo, and she could make wine from dandelions and parsnips. Pregnant with her (out-of-wedlock) daughter, she became interested in Catholicism. Dorothy converted, left her lover, and raised her daughter alone. Because the Catholic Church had brought her to Christ, she put aside her reservations about its bureaucracy and bilious priests-"One must always live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church," she said. She and her fellow pacifist Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker for the poor and disenfranchised of society and personally distributed its newsletter. Dorothy built and lived in a "hospitality house" in the slums of new York, which she established to feed and shelter the homeless. She slept on a cot there and would wear only secondhand clothes. In the words of the Making Saints author, Kenneth Woodward, "Dorothy Day did for her era what Saint Francis of Assisi did for his: recall a complacent Christianity to its radical roots." She died penniless, and Abbie Hoffman, Cesar Chavez and Daniel Berrigan attended her funeral. When Dorothy's expensive canonization process began in March 2000, Father Berrigan, calling her the people's saint, suggested the money be given to the poor instead. She might have agreed: when a reporter, in light of her status as a living Saint, asked if she had holy visions, Dorothy's response was an irritated "Oh shit!"

If Ms. Day were alive today she would not be a Saint (uh, cuz' she's still not), she would be Angelina Jolie.


dguzman said...

Or just a starving artist or homeless person. WTF is the big deal about this lady? No disrespect meant to her work, her sacrifice, or FranIAm!, but are they running out of prospective saints or something? 'Cuz this one just doesn't cut it for me. And-er-she's kinda sorta not really a "knockout" in that pic, you know? Just sayin'.

Jess Wundrun said...

d: at least she did something. In the past all you had to do was be a virgin who got beheaded. Like that's hard!!

Dr. Zaius said...

Wow! What a great story.

"'One must always live in a state of permanent dissatisfaction with the Church,' she said."

That could apply to governments as well. This is great!

FranIAm said...

Jess Jess Jess- how I love you and this blog.

And Delia my girl, let me (pardon me Matty) 'Splain...

Dorothy Day is a real saint in my book.

Her turn towards the church was a most remarkable one indeed. She was always a rebel.

Here are some words, which are long but I can not link to them for you at this moment.

Anyway they are from a post about Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin that a certain blogger wrote for another blog she edits for an institution that she belongs to. Along with Peter, Dorothy started the Catholic Worker movement, which at one time held great weight with the church.

Then it got kind of a pinko glow to it. I however, am fairly certain that one Jesus was pretty socialistic. I am just sayin'.

Hope this does not get too "God-y" for you. You can choose to not publish the comment if you wish. I won't be offended!

Dorothy, Peter and Labor Day

"Over this table was a hand-printed sign saying, “The First duty of a Christian is to Return Thanks.” The quotation was by Saint Ambrose. The sign was put up by Dorothy Day, as I later learned, because a visitor had argued that it was wrong to thank people who gave clothes and money to the poor. “It is they who should thank the poor,” he said, “because the poor, by accepting their alms, open up the gates of heaven to them.” Stanley Vishnewski on a visit to Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker Office

On this Labor Day, let us be grateful for all the bounty we may have and let us give freely to others. Let us remember the toil and sweat of workers of all time.... whether they be our parents and grandparents, our friends, neighbors, strangers and more. From the house that you live in, to the goods that you use, the food that you eat... Human hands, inspired by God contributed to what is around us, what is before us.

Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin were devoted to the cause of The Catholic Worker movement. May we remember their tireless efforts today.

"The future will be different if we make the present different." - Peter Maurin

"Dorothy Day saw the world at large turned into a huge commercial marketplace, where money means more than anything else. She saw people turned into tools of commerce. She saw the family treated as a marketplace. She reminded us frequently enough that the Church herself could become simply a marketplace. She loved the Church, and she was immensely faithful to the Church. She had no time for those who attacked the Church as such, the Body of Christ. She loved the Holy Father. But she recognized that we poor, weak human beings--people like you, people like me--could turn the Church into nothing but a marketplace." -Cardinal John O'Connor

"The night I met Peter I had come from an assignment for The Commonweal, covering the Communist-inspired "hunger march" of the unemployed to Washington. I had prayed at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, that I might find something to do in the social order besides reporting conditions. I wanted to change them, not just report them, but I had lost faith in revolution, I wanted to love my enemy, whether capitalist or Communist." Dorothy Day on meeting Peter Maurin

"People who are in need and are not afraid to beg give to people not in need the occasion to do good for goodness' sake. Modern society calls the beggar bum and panhandler and gives him the bum's rush. But the Greeks used to say that people in need are ambassadors of the gods. Although you may be called bums and panhandlers you are in fact the ambassadors of God. As God's ambassadors you should be given food, clothing and shelter by those who are able to give it." Peter Maurin

Yoga Korunta said...

She worked hard for others' benefit and is still Dorothy!

dguzman said...


But she's still not a knockout.

Whiskeymarie said...

If I were going to have a saint in my life, I'd like that saint to be like Dorothy.
"Saint Dorothy".
No headless virgin, but it has a nice ring to it.

Mauigirl said...

I think she sounds like a remarkable woman. I don't tend to believe in saints (at least, not as supernatural people who can help you with your current problems) but she certainly was a good Christian and as deserving of sainthood as a lot of others. I loved her response to the question about holy visions!

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