In a two-room flat on 11th Street, a man of 48 lies wheezing and moaning all day. He cannot eat anything, because there is something the matter with his stomach and with his lungs, and every once in a while blood pours out of his nose and mouth. He could drink milk but milk is now 10 cents a quart. And the only money that is coming into the house is the $5 a week that his wife earns in a restaurant as helper in the kitchen. All day long the man lies on the cot in the kitchen. The kitchen is clean scrubbed all but underneath the cot, and the little girl of 12 that does the housework does not scrub under the cot for fear of disturbing her sick father.The 3 year old baby has not enough energy to play around and mess things up healthily. From the time he was born three years ago his mother has gone every day to work and his father has been lying on the couch, so he has not been fed babies’ natural food but has subsisted on rice and milk, when milk was not 10 cents a quart. The mother is 38. She has to go away in the morning at 7 and stay away all day to earn the $5 a week that is given her in addition to her meals. They will not let her bring any of the food home to her hungry family. Food is too valuable now. So, when the rent is to be paid, and when the doctor prescribes medicine for the sick man the family must go hungry. They need coal now and some food. Today is Thanksgiving.
Dorothy Day (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement along with Peter Maurin. A writer and journalist by trade, she and Maurin founded the Catholic Worker newspaper. Much of her writing on the Catholic Worker Movement website is taken from the newspaper. The Roman Catholic Church is currently considering her cause for canonization.
Summary: Rambling reflections on workers, the need for saint-revolutionists, monasticism, shared work, living on the land, and Catholic Workers leaving to become priests. (The Catholic Worker, October 1946, 1, 6, 8. DDLW #429).
Summary: Contends that bigness, such as government, cities, institutions, etc., escapes personal responsibilities. One becomes lost in its array and thus is not responsible for his actions. Toys with the idea of incorporating the C.W., but prefers a decentralized organization. Comments on the power of the novena. (The Catholic Worker, May 1950, 1-2. DDLW #167).
Summary: Describes the Catholic Worker as “an inn by the side of the road” and explains the attraction it has for people who want to do the works of mercy. Also talks about visitors, diminished interest in May Day rallies, groups for the mentally ill, and a delightful week of caring for her grandchildren. (The Catholic Worker, June 1957, 2, 8. DDLW #723).
Summary: Promotes non-violent resistance to atomic bomb testing and all preparations for war. Defends the Catholic Worker’s civil disobedience actions in refusing to participate in civil defense drills. Says all Americans need to atone for Hiroshima and Nagasaki as she anticipates being jailed again for her protest. (The Catholic Worker, July-August 1957, 1, 3. DDLW #724).
Summary: Reflects on the dignity of work, manual labor, and her childhood chores. Talks of reading the novels of Chaim Potok and decries continuing anti-Semitism. (The Catholic Worker, February 1977, 2,8. DDLW #194).
Summary: Details life at Peter Maurin Farm–nearby brush fires, visitors, discussions, neighbors–“It is not a Utopia.” (The Catholic Worker, November 1953, 2, 4. DDLW #659).