Dorothy Day: Quotes


Photo courtesy of the Marquette University Archives

Dorothy Day - photo courtesy of
the Marquette University Archives


Quotations about Dorothy Day


"I have never known anyone, not even in monasteries, who was more of a praying person than Dorothy Day. When I think of her, I think of her first of all on her knees praying before the Blessed Sacrament. I think of those long lists of names she kept of people, living and dead, to pray for. I think of her at Mass, I think of her praying the rosary, I think of her going off for Confession each Saturday evening...
At the heart of what Dorothy did were the works of mercy. For her, these were not simply obligations the Lord imposed on his followers. As she said on one occasion to Robert Coles, "We are here to celebrate him through these works of mercy." -- What I learned about justice from Dorothy Day - Jim Forest

"Dorothy Day has been designated the lay person of the century by a panel of Church historians and theologians. Asked to select laity who made the Church better or lived their faith in exemplary ways during the past 100 years, Dorothy Day was their top pick. She was singled out for her pacifism, rejection of abortion, and social consciousness which inspired others to follow her example." -- Dorothy Day Library on the Web

So many people came to her funeral at Nativity Church in New York City that many had to stand outside on the sidewalk. During her life, Dorothy Day refused to let people "dismiss her as a saint" (Eileen Egan, Dorothy Day and the Permanent Revolution, p. 19). At her death, many of her admirers used the word openly. A "permanent revolution" had been initiated by Dorothy's leadership, grounded in the Sermon on the Mount for which she had "prayed, spoken, written, fasted, protested, suffered humiliation and gone to prison" (p. 25).
"Although Dorothy spurned the suggestion that she was a saint, she took seriously the importance of becoming one; saintly people could heal the ills of this world. God created the Mystical Body of Christ for holiness, wholeness, and sanctity. Jesus took on humanity to show people how to be godly through acting justly, loving tenderly, and walking humbly. The Holy Spirit continually invites all Christians to holiness.
Dorothy Day provides a contemporary model of the qualities of holiness: solidarity with and service to God's poor, promoting and being willing to suffer for justice, acting in charity, living in community, integrating faith and action through prayer, sacred ritual, and meditation. Dorothy Day may not always be a comfortable companion on the spiritual journey, but she will certainly be a wise, caring, and challenging one." -- From An Introduction to the Life and Spirituality of Dorothy Day - by James Allaire and Rosemary Broughton

"Long before her death November 29, 1980, Day found herself regarded by many as a saint. No words of hers are better known than her brusque response, "Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed so easily." Nonetheless, having herself treasured the memory and witness of many saints, she is a candidate for inclusion in the calendar of saints. The Claretians have launched an effort to have her canonized." -- Dorothy Day

Quotations from Dorothy Day


"The mystery of the poor is this: That they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love." --The Mystery of the Poor

"Those who cannot see the face of Christ in the poor are atheists indeed." -- quoted in "What I learned about justice from Dorothy Day

"No, there is nothing particularly holy about dirt and rats and roaches. But there may be something very unholy about the way we regard those who suffer from these things. The safety of the rich lies in almsgiving. We must give until we become blessed. Blessed are the poor. Christ came to make the rich poor and the poor holy, Eric Gill said. When the Sadducees and Pharisees asked St. John the Baptist 'What must we do?' he answered, 'Let him who has two coats give to him who has none,' and with food likewise. Unquestioning sharing, unquestioning love. -- This passage, from Not Without Tears By Helen Caldwell Day

"If I have achieved anything in my life it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk about God." -- quoted by Jim forest in

"I can write no other than this: unless we use the weapons of the spirit, denying ourselves and taking up our cross and following Jesus, dying with Him and rising with Him, men will go on fighting, and often from the highest motives, believing that they are fighting defensive wars for justice and in self-defense against present or future aggression."-- Dorothy Day, Prophet of Pacifism for the Catholic Church

“I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions”

"Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love the least.." -- Dorothy Day

Resources on Dorothy Day


           The links on Dorothy Day given above as well as several others can be found on one of the pages of my Web site. Click here to see this page.
          The most extensive resources available on Dorothy Day on the web is a web site hosted by the Catholic Worker's Movement and called Dorothy Day Library on the Web .

Salt of the Earth offers free prayercards and posters to interested individuals, parishes, and schools. Call 1-800-328-6515 for more information.

          Entertaining Angels, a Paulist Pictures movie on Dorothy Day, is also available.
          "Full of powerful and profound moments, Entertaining Angels is a film for every politician and parent looking for a Hollywood movie with uplifting themes and positive messages.
          But it is not a sugarcoated antidote to the ills of Hollywood or society. The messages are tough -- as tough as the woman Kelly is playing." -- BJE Movie Review Dorothy Day Story