Dorothy Day and Catholic Worker

December 25, 1997

On the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Dorothy Day, the legendary co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement back in 1933, Cardinal O’Connor of New York announced that he would take the first steps toward proposing sainthood for Dorothy Day.

After converting to Catholicism in her 20’s, Dorothy Day founded the Catholic Worker movement with Frenchman Peter Maurin. Thus began a life of voluntary poverty and radical politics.

Catholic Worker first began by setting up urban houses of hospitality and farm communes to feed and shelter the poor. The movement also advocated pacifism and opposition to the draft. Soon, Dorothy Day became a national leader against the Vietnam War. She died at age 83 in Manhattan in 1980.


  • Daniel Berrigan, a Jesuit priest, author, poet and longtime peace and social activist. Along with his brother Philip, Daniel Berrigan burned draft files in a Catonsville, Maryland, parking lot back in 1968 to protest the Vietnam War. The action led to harsh prison terms for the two brothers and seven others. But it also propelled the Berrigans into the national spotlight and sparked a nationwide series of draft-file burning.
  • Carmen Trotta, the curator of an exhibit on the life and work of Dorothy Day, who presently lives at Dorothy Day House in New York.
  • Kate Hennessy, the granddaughter of Dorothy Day.