Search Dorothy Day’s writing

The Dorothy Day Library on the Web includes all of Dorothy Day’s writings in The Catholic Worker newspaper as well as selected articles published elsewhere and many of her books.

  • You can use the search form above, or browse the writings using one of the methods below.
  • For an additional list of resources about Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, see the bibliography.
  • To view PDF scans of the Catholic Worker Newspaper, see the Catholic News Archive: The Catholic Worker.

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Browse writings by their topic tags; for a hand-picked selection of writings organized by theme, see the Themes in Dorothy Day’s Writing page.

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Full Text of Books by Dorothy

House of Hospitality

An account of the first five years of the Catholic Worker. Describes the C.W. not simply as a newspaper but as a movement. Explicates its position on labor and unions through Peter Maurin’s ideas on personalism. Much of the book, however, is taken up with the day to day experiences of the C.W., describing the soup lines, publication of the paper, picketing, farm communes, and the finances of the C.W. (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1939.

On Pilgrimage

States the objectives of the Catholic Worker and defends it against the accusations of other Catholics and secular thought. Writes on such themes as marriage, sex, the human condition, poverty, economics and a variety of Church doctrines. All of these topics are treated from an orthodox Catholic point of view. The book is adapted from the diary she kept in 1948, when she spent the first four months with Tamar (daughter) and the rest of the year at Mott Street and the retreat farm in Newburgh. She noted that the book could be called a woman’s book, since parts of it are directed solely to women. As usual, much of the book dwells on the day-to-day happenings in her life.

From Union Square to Rome

An autobiography written as a letter to her brother John. Conversion story genre of her conversion from Communism to Catholicism. Compiled from articles in America and Preservation of the Faith. Discusses Dostoyevsky’s influence on her life and the lonely experience of her conversion Reads as a baptized version of The Eleventh Virgin, with emphasis on her religious experience throughout her life. Expounds on such topics as Eucharist, prayer, Marxism, capitalism, free will and St. Teresa of Avila.

The Eleventh Virgin

Autobiographical novel of her pre-conversion years. Begins with family relationships, with emphasis on her mother. Proceeds through her radical years with the pacifist, birth control, socialist and suffrage movements, and ends with her abortion and break up with Lionel Moise (Dick Wemys). William Miller’s biography on D.orothyDay gives the real names of the characters. The New York Times reviewed the book as “just one more adolescent novel,” and D.orothy herself later called it a bad book.

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On Pilgrimage

Summary: Relishes life on the land, saying it is a place to retreat to, find God, and to go forth from as apostles. Summarizes five retreat talks whose focus is to increase the desire for sanctity, to a more complete love of God. Gives examples of her failure to love and the struggle to renew love of God and neighbor. (DDLW #482).
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On Pilgrimage

Summary: Describes the hustle and bustle around the farm–planting, building, cooking. Ruminates about conversion, calling each person to a revolution beginning with themselves–to make a start toward a new way of living based on distributism. Says distributism is neither communism nor capitalism but based on individual ownership of land, tools, workshops, and factories. Keyword: economics (DDLW #481).
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Summary: Praises God for May, the month of Mary and full of beauty. Recalls the Catholic Worker began in May sixteen years ago and summarizes their program and the many allied movements of the lay apostolate. Says their pacifism and distributism distinguishes them from other movements. Focuses on voluntary poverty as exemplified in Peter Maurin’s life, especially since he became ill. Reflects on holiness and the call to all to become saints. Includes quotations from her winter’s reading. Keywords: Gandhi, machine, philosophy of work (DDLW #480).
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Letter from Dorothy Day to Frater Charles, 24 June 1955
Courtesy: Marquette University: Dorothy Day – Catholic Worker Collection