Feb 15, 2013

Pope speaks on Dorothy Day

In his Ash Wednesday talk, a few days after his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement.

In November, the U.S. bishops voted unanimously to move forward with the canonization process that would recognize Day as a saint. Day is most often know for her social justice efforts, her activism, and her political radicalism. On Wednesday, though, the pope emphasized a different aspect of Day's biography:
The ability to oppose the ideological blandishments of her time to choose the search for truth and open herself up to the discovery of faith is evidenced by another woman of our time, the American Dorothy Day. In her autobiography, she confesses openly to having given in to the temptation that everything could be solved with politics, adhering to the Marxist proposal: 'I wanted to be with the protesters, go to jail, write, influence others and leave my dreams to the world. How much ambition and how much searching for myself in all this!' The journey towards faith in such a secularized environment was particularly difficult, but Grace acts nonetheless, as she points out: 'It is certain that I felt the need to go to church more often, to kneel, to bow my head in prayer. A blind instinct, one might say, because I was not conscious of praying. But I went, I slipped into the atmosphere of prayer ....' God guided her to a conscious adherence to the Church, in a lifetime spent dedicated to the underprivileged.

In our time there are no few conversions understood as the return of those who, after a Christian education, perhaps a superficial one, moved away from the faith for years and then rediscovered Christ and his Gospel.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, likewise describing Day's life as a turning-away from the secular, has called her "a saint for our times."