Dorothy Day was a famous American social activist who founded the ‘Catholic Worker Movement’. She became a journalist at an early stage of her life, and wrote for various socialist publications. As a social activist she stood for various issues like women voting rights and got arrested many times. With the help of her experience as an activist she wrote ‘The Eleventh Virgin’. After going through a spiritual enlightenment she co-founded the newspaper ‘The Catholic Worker’ which aimed at promoting Catholic teachings. The ‘Catholic Worker Movement’ initiated by her with the same motive spread to many countries like Canada and United Kingdom. She even turned to writing and penned down various autobiographical works. These autobiographies explained different phases of her life. She was honored with the ‘Pacem in Tetris Award’ for spreading peace and justice globally. She was also awarded the ‘Laetare Medal’ from the ‘University of Notre Dame’ for her exceptional service to the Roman Catholic society. We bring to you a treasure trove of quotations and thoughts by Dorothy Day which have been extracted from the vast sea of her work. Go through these quotes by Dorothy Day to enlighten yourself about the catholic society.
When you love people, you see all the good in them, all the Christ in them. God sees Christ, His Son, in us and loves us. And so we should see Christ in others, and nothing else, and love them. There can never be enough of it. There can never be enough thinking about it.
I do not know how to love God except by loving the poor. I do not know how to serve God except by serving the poor.... Here, within this great city of nine million people, we must, in this neighborhood, on this street, in this parish, regain a sense of community which is the basis for peace in the world.
Turn off your radio. Put away your daily paper. Read one review of events a week and spend some time reading good books. They tell too of days of striving and of strife. They are of other centuries and also of our own. They make us realize that all times are perilous, that men live in a dangerous world, in peril constantly of losing or maiming soul and body. We get some sense of perspective reading such books. Renewed courage and faith and even joy to live.
We need to change the system. We need to overthrow, not the government, as the authorities are always accusing the Communists 'of conspiring to teach [us] to do,' but this rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering in the whited sepulcher of New York.
Poverty is a strange and elusive thing. ... I condemn poverty and I advocate it; poverty is simple and complex at once; it is a social phenomenon and a personal matter. Poverty is an elusive thing, and a paradoxical one. We need always to be thinking and writing about it, for if we are not among its victims its reality fades from us. We must talk about poverty because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.
Maybe I was praying for him then, in my own way. Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow? I doubt it. I believe some people-- lots of people-- pray through the witness of their lives, through the work they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people. Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?
True love is delicate and kind, full of gentle perception and understanding, full of beauty and grace, full of joy unutterable. There should be some flavor of this in all our love for others. We are all one. We are one flesh in the Mystical Body as man and woman are said to be one flesh in marriage. With such a love one would see all things new; we would begin to see people as they really are, as God sees them.
To feed the hungry, clothe the naked and shelter the harborless without also trying to change the social order so that people can feed, clothe and shelter themselves is just to apply palliatives. It is to show a lack of faith in one’s fellows, their responsibilitie s as children of God, heirs of heaven.
If you are rushed for time, sow time and you will reap time. Go to church and spend a quiet hour in prayer. You will have more time than ever and your work will get done. Sow time with the poor. Sit and listen to them, give them your time lavishly. You will reap time a hundredfold.
Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.
Whatever I had read as a child about the saints had thrilled me. I could see the nobility of giving one's life for the sick, the maimed, the leper. But there was another question in my mind. Why was so much done in remedying the evil instead of avoiding it in the first place? Where were the saints to try to change the social order, not just to minister to the slaves, but to do away with slavery?
We must talk about poverty, because people insulated by their own comfort lose sight of it.
I felt that the Church was the Church of the poor,... but at the same time, I felt that it did not set its face against a social order which made so much charity in the present sense of the word necessary. I felt that charity was a word to choke over. Who wanted charity? And it was not just human pride but a strong sense of man's dignity and worth, and what was due to him in justice, that made me resent, rather than feel pround of so mighty a sum total of Catholic institutions.
The works of mercy are the opposite of the works of war, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, nursing the sick, visiting the prisoner. But we are destroying crops, setting fire to entire villages and to the people in them. We are not performing the works of mercy but the works of war.
The older I get, the more I meet people, the more convinced I am that we must only work on ourselves, to grow in grace. The only thing we can do about people is to love them.
I was always much impressed, in reading prison memoirs of revolutionists, such as Lenin and Trotsky ... by the amount of reading they did, the languages they studied, the range of their plans for a better social order. (Or rather, for a new social order.) In the Acts of the Apostles there are constant references to the Way and the New Man.
People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.
As we come to know the seriousness of the situation, the war, the racism, the poverty in our world, we come to realize that things will not be changed simply by words or demonstrations. Rather, it's a question of living one's life in a drastically different way.
What we would like to do is change the world - make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do....We can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.
Over and over again, people had to disobey lawful authority to follow the voice of their conscience. This obedience to God and disobedience to the State has, over and over again, happened throughout history. It is time again to cry out against our 'leaders,' to question (since it is not for us to say that they are evil) whether or not they are sane.
How necessary it is to cultivate a spirit of joy. It is a psychological truth that the physical acts of reverence and devotion make one feel devout. The courteous gesture increases one's respect for others. To act lovingly is to begin to feel loving, and certainly to act joyfully brings joy to others which in turn makes one feel joyful. I believe we are called to the duty of delight.
What we would like to do is change the world...by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, of the poor, of the destitute. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world.
Do not give to the poor expecting to get their gratitude so that you can feel good about yourself. If you do, your giving will be thin and short-lived, and that is not what the poor need; it will only improvish them further. Give only if you have something you must give; give only if you are someone for whom giving is its own reward.
Everything a baptized person does every day should be directly or indirectly related to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.
An individual can march for peace or vote for peace and can have, perhaps, some small influence on global concerns. But the same individual is a giant in the eyes of a child at home. If peace is to be built, it must start with the individual. It is built brick by brick.
I cannot worry much about your sins and miseries when I have so many of my own. I can only love you all, poor fellow travelers, fellow sufferers. I do not want to add one least straw to the burden you already carry. My prayer from day to day is that God will so enlarge my heart that I will see you all, and live with you all, in His love.