Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World

Article excerpt

Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World. By Dorothy Day with Francis J. Sicius. (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Press, 2004. Pp. xxviii, 187. $20.00 paperback.)

Dorothy Day's longstanding desire to publish a biography of Peter Maurin has at last borne fruit through the work of Francis J. Sicius, who served both as editor and co-author of the present study. Dorothy had begun her Maurin biography by 1943 and completed the rough manuscript in 1947, just two years before Maurin's death. However, the work remained in need of considerable editing, a job that Day neither found the time nor energy to pursue toward publication. Thus, we owe a great debt to Sicius, who unearthed Dorothy's biography from the archives, readied it for publication, and, when necessary, filled in the gaps of Day's account by incorporating passages from her other writings, such as The Long Loneliness. For greater ease while reading the present work, Day's words are printed in italics; Sicius' narrative, which is nearly half of the book, appears in normal font.

The genius of the content and structure of Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World is threefold. First, Sicius provides a type of basso continua that is supportive of Day's narrative. His own portions of the text unify and clarity her story without overpowering it, thus carrying through on Sicius' own claim: "The true author and inspiration for this work remains Dorothy Day..." (p.xv). Second, Sicius honors Day's perspective on Peter the man and saint, whose spirituality greatly affected the development of Dorothy's own.While focusing on Maurin the person, Sicius nonetheless provides the reader with a larger historical, theological, and cultural context than the one which Dorothy was able to provide. …

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