An Influential Person Dorothy Day

Dorothy day was born in1897 in Brooklyn. In the 1910s and late and even late 1920s, she was Bohemian of the Greenwich Village and she was very active in socialist politics, which were very radical at those days (Roberts 15). She was particularly promoting free love, women’s rights, birth control, and rights of labor. After failure of her two common-law marriages as well as an abortion, birth of Tamar Teresa her daughter and desire for her to be baptized made her to embrace Catholicism formerly.

Dorothy Day converted from socialist to catholic crusader in the year 1927 (Coles 56).

She founded the movement of catholic worker in 1933 together with Peter Maurin who was French itinerant illegal immigrant. The movement of catholic worker adopted a pacifist, anarchist and neutral stance in the 1930s as world’s leaders were drifting towards war. Dorothy Day chose way to live with her faith at a great cost. As she was eighteen years old, together with other two college mates in the Illinois University, she followed her members of family as they moved to the city of New York.

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She involved herself in the radical politics as she lived at the lower eastern side.

There she was working on succession of journals and radical papers. Her compatriots were atheist, communists, wobblies and anarchists. Dorothy joined socialist party while she was at Urbana in Illinois (Stone 33). As the young Dorothy found the life of bohemian exciting, she encountered certain emptiness in her life, a loneliness which stalked her remaining life.

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Spiritual hunger led her to a disquieting and profound entrance to her life in the year 1917 a time she was imprisoned for a punishment of fifteen days in the prison of women federal after she had picketed white House to present women on the matter of suffrage of women (Kent 93).

She spends ten days out of the fifteen days of imprisonment stricken by hunger in an attempt to successfully gain her status as a prisoner of politics. Dorothy was imprisoned for act of civil nonviolent disobedience seven times. Dorothy movement from the square of union to Rome was apologetic and was her conversion from socialist to Catholicism (Jordan, and Day 61). It addressed her communist sisters and brothers, and made also her case to primacy of spiritual rather than material.

For Dorothy, church was her only place, which could address her own long existential for a transcendent meaning and provided her a framework, which could help her work for a change as well as serving the poor. As she wrote about the prison, she said that she felt despair as she was in jail for a duration of fifteen days. She also put that life in jail was miserable and unfit for human existence. The misery Day found in jail she said could remain even if the utopia state prevailed or even if the society were being ruled with social justice.

She said there is no hope for one to be happy especially in the jail unless the soul and heart of humankind realizes need to have a change (Coles 46). Just like anybody else and many other factors in the experience of America, Day’s conversion was a profound encounter to nature and left indelible mark to her spirituality. It was through and in the sea wondrous mystery that Dorothy came to understand the bountiful God love (Coles 57). God revelation on the nature, together with experience of Dorothy giving birth to Tamar her daughter, served her as entry point in the Christianity.

Day said that her conversion was due to overturn of her material world which made her to see seek protection in the God heart since he was creator and could satisfy all hungers of human beings. Day being primarily as a journalist could write in concrete and direct styles as a reporter, and this made her to raise high in the social and economic class and much surprisingly, her spiritual awakening started at that time. She said her life started to change as she was still in her work and started feeling no need of being in her work but should turn to the love of God since he was giver of live and every thing (Kent 102).

Day live in journalism was marked with many controversies. However, her experience and interaction with various peoples, and groups as well different social classes frequently put her in awkward position and in clash with the authorities when reporting on what is on the ground. That is, the issues affecting the community. She was never a quitter though. She is recognized for involvement in movements and demonstration, fighting for rights of the poor and the oppressed in the community (Stone 53).

The joy of Dorothy Day about the nature was brought in full circle the moment she found herself pregnant and made her life complete. It is also said that it was difficult in overstating the trauma and turmoil she underwent in entering the motherhood and how it could have eventually cost her. Day knew joy as often said her life brought great happiness when she was with Forster even though Day was always a searcher who was ready to take risk (Kent 76). After birth of her daughter Tamar, Dorothy understood her spiritual quest and which began bearing fruits.

While walking along the beaches, spontaneous payers offered reflexively, and little did she understand that the spirits were leading her to a Christian church. The entry in the church was inevitable to her just as her losing life with her husband Forster. He never knew her baptism and baptism of her daughter could lead to end of her common-law marriage. Dorothy Day could say the world greatest adventure is spiritual life since she was master in exploring through the wilderness which she was in, as she was expended from that wilderness into the spiritual life (Jordan, and Day 45).

She came to realize that God had plans for her and that plans of God prepared her from where she was until she came to receive Him in her life. Day after she been converted to Christian could pray and read Psalter every day, and often for duration of two hours in the early dawn. She could attend mass in almost every day and she could pray rosary at most of her time. Day could guard her herself with only weapon of spirit which are spiritual and corporal mercy works. Daily prayer devotion bore fruit to her to develop sacramental sense.

Day had ability which was hard-worn in discerning extraordinary in most human encounters in most ordinary happenings. Day seriously concerned about the poor and also the phrase which stated the poor were ambassadors of the God. Day could approach social issues in a simple manner. Day had hope in the spiritual way of living and she started the work movement of catholic to awaken other people. Day was a catholic laywoman and she did much in legitimizing pacifism as an option for the Catholics members than anybody else.

All in all, the conversion of Dorothy Day into catholic is much surprising since is not easy for a prominent person like her in the social party at that time and even a famous journalist and reporter to leave her job and turn to serve the lord. Due to her faith and influence in the community, especially fighting for human right and helping the poor, Day earned much recognition all around the world. Many argued that her deeds and believes would have made her sainted. The Impact she had in many people lives will forever be remembered.

Works cited

  1. Coles, Robert. Dorothy Day: A Radical Devotion. New York: Perseus Books, 1989.
  2. Jordan, Patrick, and Day Dorothy. Dorothy Day: Writings from Commonweal. New York: Liturgical Press, 2002.
  3. Kent, Deborah. Dorothy Day: Friend to the Forgotten. Cambridge: Eerdmans Young Readers, 1996 1996.
  4. Roberts, Nancy. Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker. New York: SUNY Press, 1984. Stone, Elaine. Dorothy Day: Champion of the Poor. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2004.
Updated: Jul 07, 2022
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An Influential Person Dorothy Day. (2016, Aug 21). Retrieved from

An Influential Person Dorothy Day essay
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