Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance

By Dorothy Day; Kate Hennessy | Go to book overview

two: THE PAPER

The Catholic Worker movement began with the newspaper. As a writer and journalist, Dorothy felt that starting a newspaper was a logical way to help make known the Worker’s program of houses of hospitality, roundtable discussions, and what her co-founder, Peter Maurin, called agronomic universities, or farms. The paper was also a vehicle to explain “the faith that is in us,” as Dorothy would say, and often her first piece of advice for those opening a new house or farm around the country was to start a newspaper. But it also carried stories of the times. The paper covered the numerous strikes and hunger marches during the Great Depression, and it was one of the first to write of the growing anti-Semitism in Germany. Dorothy proclaimed her pacifist stance in the paper, and during World War II this led to a drop in circulation from 150,000 to 50,000. The paper contained wide-ranging debates ranging from Catholic conscientious-objector status to the back-to-the-land movements, alongside Dorothy’s personal columns in which she described life at the Catholic Worker, while always instructing and advising. But it wasn’t enough simply to write for or edit the paper. Getting out on the street to sell copies, from Union Square down to Wall Street, became something of a rite of passage for many young volunteers, as was sometimes getting arrested while protesting the very things they wrote about.

Dorothy was careful to limit articles written by theologians, priests, and academics. “We are a layperson’s paper,” she said. In its

-43-

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Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • One- House of Hospitality 16
  • Two- The Paper 43
  • Three- The Farm 60
  • Four- The Duty of Delight 84
  • Five- Protest and Prison 107
  • Six- Prayer 116
  • Epilogue- What Can One Person Do? 128
  • Excerpt Sources 130
  • Index of Photos 133
  • Select Titles from Empire State Editions 137
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