Dorothy Day started the Catholic Worker Movement, which is most known for the Houses of Hospitality (www.catholicworker.org/) She ran with Eugene Debs, Lucy Parsons, the Haymarket martyrs and other IWW’s (Industrial Workers of the World). She witnessed the framing and killing of dear friends during the frenzy of the red scare. As an atheist, she also got burned out fast. Her conversion came as a result of 30 days of solitary confinement for a hunger strike, leading her, eventually to the Catholic Church.
She came to embody a radicalism that was sustained and founded on orthodoxy and love for the Church, one that inspires and gives me hope today. It was precisely her love for the church that fueled her desire to change the Church. And when I come to places where I am burned and frustrated with the Institution, with decisions like the one made recently in the Lancaster Conference to deny women ordination–decisions that deny imago Dei, that deny humanity to God’s children, I turn to the authentic voices of people like Day. And I am able to rejoice once more in this life, I am able to hope once more, and I am called once again not to leave, but to remain–I am reminded that my love for the Church only intensifies the pain of exclusion and injustice carried out in the scandals of the church. The Church is indeed that which brings “Christ to humanity…enabling us to put on Christ and to achieve more nearly in the world a sense of peace and unity.” (more…)