The first issue of The Catholic Worker, May 1, 1933. Image credit: Catholic News Archive

On May 1, 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression, The Catholic Worker newspaper made its debut with a first issue of twenty-five hundred copies. Dorothy Day and a few others hawked the paper in Union Square for a penny a copy (still the price) to passersby.

Today 187 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.

Explore the life and writings of Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Discover what Catholic Worker communities worldwide are doing today to fulfill Dorothy and Peter’s vision. It is a fascinating story.

Suggested articles

1940s | Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker | Dorothy Day | Dorothy Day’s Writings

Aims and Purposes (1940)

Summary: Restates the central vision of the Catholic Worker Movement as working for “a new heaven and a new earth, wherein justice dwelleth.” This vision recognizes the “primacy of the spritual” and the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Catholic Worker is “a new way of life” involving Houses of Hospitality for the daily practice of the Works of Mercy and Farming Communes where each person can take responsibility of doing their part. (DDLW #182). The Catholic Worker, February 1940, 7.

Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker | Dorothy Day | Dorothy Day’s Writings

Aims and Purposes (1943)

Summary: On the tenth anniversary of The Catholic Worker she explains their purpose as promoting love of God and our brother. Their work expresses the beauty of Christianity in supporting the worker, the poor, and eschewing violence. She highlights instances of violent racism. (DDLW #919) The Catholic Worker, May 1943, 4

What is the Catholic Worker?
History of the Catholic Worker Movement

What is the Catholic Worker?

This essay was written by Jim Forest on the Catholic Worker Movement for The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History to be published by the Liturgical Press. Jim Forest, once a managing editor of The Catholic Worker, is the author of Love is the Measure: a Biography of Dorothy Day; and Living With Wisdom: a Biography of Thomas Merton. Both are published by Orbis.