Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:52 PM
struggle4progress (80,138 posts)
Loaves and Fishes, by Dorothy Day
Introduction by Robert Coles
Dorothy Day (1897 - 1980) is gone some years now. This text from the early 1960s is about the Catholic Worker
... The Catholic Worker is a newspaper, but it is also a movement ... When our readers agree with us, they are Catholic Workers. When they disagree, they are readers of The Catholic Worker. It is a fluid situation ...
They started in New York in the early 30s with the newspaper, then a house of hospitality and a communitarian farm
... One Irishman looked at the masthead and rebuked us for the line which read "a penny a copy." We were in the pay of the English, he said. Next month we changed it to a "cent a copy" ... Another protest came from a Negro, who pointed out that the two workers on our masthead .. were both white men ... Before our next issue came out we found an artist who made a new masthead for us, a white man and a colored man .. clasping hands ...
The writing is clean and crisp, and the issues discussed are serious. People around the country learn about them, and the response isn't always entirely what the Catholic Workers hope: when a troubled girl in Pittsburgh attempts suicide by jumping, for example, her family drops her at the New York house, still in her hospital braces
... I remember .. wondering if there was not a single charitable family in Pittsburgh to take in the young woman ...
But they offered hospitality to everyone who sought it
... He was an old soldier ... Why did he stay with us? Who can say? He had no truck with pacifists or Jews or Negroes ... His little cabin was by the entrance to the farm, and he never missed a visitor ... If the visitor was shabby, he shouted at him ... He was ready with his fists, too ... We were being pruned all right ... No, somehow we must be saved together ...
The radical commitment to community, and the demand that one must love one's actual neighbors, in practical deed -- together with the idea that since we do not always feel a natural love for our neighbors, we must sometimes commit ourselves to a supernatural love of them -- is an unifying theme
... the war was a difficult time ... Our pacifist position made matters no easier. We once went so far as .. uring men not to register for the draft ... We had to follow our own consciences, which later took us to jail
Today, thirty years after her death, Day still has something to say. And today, her views are perhaps still as provocative as they were fifty years before that
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