The Light Of Day

by Timothy Lusch

A Beacon For The Dark Night Of The Soul

The Life And Writings Of Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a journalist, activist, Catholic convert, and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. She was devout in faith, radical in politics, and unwavering in charity. At one time or another she was a communist, anarchist, distributist, and syndicalist. A spiritual searcher since youth, Day read and talked and prayed her way into the Catholic Church. Committed to helping the poor, marginalized, and downtrodden, Day took action. No act of love was too small, and no one in need was unworthy. Day, however, did not wish to be called a saint. An anecdote about Dorothy Day has her saying that calling her a saint would be to dismiss her too easily.

This is one of the reasons I enjoy Day so much. She defied categorization. She refused to be minimized by a label. In our age of identity politics and professional victimhood, Day is a welcome tonic. She refused to be defined except by Love. We can roll our eyes at her political passion, or disregard her economic idealism, but doing so misses the point. Day always sought the Truth in Love. She gave all she had to help others. She was a believer in the little way, bookended perhaps by St. Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa. Day fed the hungry at her front door, clothed the naked, and gave shelter to the homeless. She did what she could, with what she had, where she was. That is something all of us can do.

“Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.”