On November 8, 2022, we celebrate Dorothy Day’s 125th birthday!
The Guild will mark this milestone with a year-long celebration of Dorothy Day’s birth and life and her continuing inspiration to all to live our lives governed by the Gospel, each through our own unique calling.
The celebration will include a novena. Dorothy Day Guild members and friends are invited to join in a novena of gratitude, giving thanks for Dorothy Day’s valiant response to God’s call and rejoicing in her model of holiness. Beginning on November 29 (the anniversary of her death), the novena will continue until December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the 90th anniversary of Dorothy Day’s fervent “special prayer.”
Dorothy Day did not set out to become a saint, although she often quoted a famous statement that “The only tragedy in life is not to be a saint.”
She simply spent a lifetime attuning herself to hear God’s voice. The pilgrimage of her daily life was oriented by Jesus’ teachings as she pursued a call to belong fully to the Body of Christ.
In the midst of the Great Depression, while on assignment as a journalist reporting on a national Hunger March and a gathering of poor farmers, Dorothy Day prayed to discern her vocation as a Catholic. She attended Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.: “There I offered up a special prayer, a prayer which came with tears and with anguish, that some way would open up for me to use what talents I possessed for my fellow workers, for the poor.” ― from The Long Loneliness.
On her return to New York City, the answer to her prayer was waiting in the person of an itinerant Frenchman and worker-scholar named Peter Maurin. Their meeting led to the founding of the Catholic Worker movement, which to this day continues to open up ways to practice the Church’s social teachings.
Over the course of the novena, we will reflect on Dorothy’s generous, whole-hearted acceptance of God’s call by each day looking at a particular facet of her discipleship – what biographer Robert Ellsberg referred to as the “distinctive features of her holiness.”
Each one of us, too, has a unique calling; and God loves each of us as a whole person. As we give thanks for Dorothy Day’s life – and for the Church’s recognizing of her holiness – let us ask her to join us on our pilgrimages. Servant of God Dorothy Day, intercede for us; pray that we grow in courage and faith to follow our own path to holiness.