Deo Gratias: A Novena of Gratitude: Introduction


Window, St Joseph House Catholic Worker, November 2021

The Dorothy Day Guild invites members and others to gather for a novena of thanks for the witness of Servant of God Dorothy Day, and to celebrate the advance of the cause for her canonization. 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’s teachings as she pursued a call to belong fully to the Body of Christ. On December 8, 1932, in the midst of the Great Depression, while on assignment as a journalist reporting on a communist-led 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 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.”

Day 1, Christian Vocation

Day 2, Personal Responsibility

Day 3, Voluntary Poverty

Day 4, Works of Mercy

Day 5, Labor

Day 6, Peacemaking

Day 7, Justice

Day 8, Love

Day 9, Community

Day 10, The Path Forward

3 Responses to Deo Gratias: A Novena of Gratitude: Introduction

  1. kathleen valdez says:

    What a blessing to have the example of Dorothy Day in our lives…may we choose to “not admire her but to imitate her” by living our lives in Love.

  2. George Dolhai says:

    I was thinking of Dorothy Day and the work of the Catholic Worker when I painted this painting for Christmas.

  3. Anthony Buttitta says:

    To all interested in learning more, I highly recommend the recent biography “Dorothy Day – Dissenting Voice of the American Century”. It offers a multi-faceted explication of her strivings and struggles with American society over the course of a long life.

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