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.
“A Catholic Worker Primer” was originally drawn by Chuck Trapkus in 1986 and continues to be distributed and reprinted in Catholic Worker circles as much for its ability to distill the essence of the Movement as for its fun and irreverent style.
This article is from the introduction to the book Praying with Dorothy Day by James Allaire and Rosemary Broughton.
Tom Cornell, associate editor of The Catholic Worker and a leader in Catholic peace and justice movements, offers a brief overview of the Catholic Worker Movement.
Summary: States that the purpose of the paper is to articulate the Church’s social program and to popularize the Popes’ social encyclicals. (DDLW #12) The Catholic Worker, May 1933, 4 (First Issue)
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
A timeline of the life of Dorothy Day cin the context of the history of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Worker Movement, and the world. Created by Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty.
- Reprinted from The Catholic Worker newspaper, May 2019, 86th Anniversary Issue
The Catholic Worker Movement began simply enough on May 1, 1933, when a journalist named Dorothy Day and a philosopher…
An account of the birth of the Catholic Worker Movement on May 1, 1933, in New York City’s Union Square, from the opening paragraphs of “All Is Grace: a Biography of Dorothy Day,” by Jim Forest. “Dorothy found more bewilderment than enthusiasm from those who had the paper thrust into their hands. They all knew The Daily Worker, a Communist paper that was a militant supporter of unions and strikes. But a radical paper, a paper for workers, put out by Catholics?”
The following statement of beliefs, values, and commitments from the June 2023 Catholic Agitator (newspaper of the L.A. Catholic Worker) offers another take on how different Catholic Worker communities frame what they do.
This essay by Jim Forest on Peter Maurin was written for The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History published by the Liturgical Press.
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.
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.
The Aims and Means of the Catholic Worker movement describe its goals and the means by which the movement hopes to achieve those goals. The Aims and Means have taken many forms over the years; the following are some of its iterations.
The Works of Mercy are an abiding norm for the Catholic Worker Movement. Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin lived lives of “active love” built on these precepts.