The Common Good
July 2008

Catholic Worker Movement Turns 75

by Rose Marie Berger, Alexis Vaughan | July 2008

The Catholic Worker movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933, celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 1.

The Catholic Worker movement, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in 1933, celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 1. Started as a radical Catholic newspaper amid the Great Depression, the Catholic Worker soon became a movement of Christian urban “houses of hospitality” and farms for re-establishing a proper relationship with labor and the land. “Our rule is the works of mercy,” said Day, who died in 1980. “It is the way of sacrifice, worship, a sense of reverence.” All are dedicated to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the destitute.

“Dorothy believed in the real presence of Christ in the Euchar­ist, and she felt absolutely sustained by it,” Robert Ellsberg, editor of Day’s recently published diaries The Duty of Delight, told a Catholic news agency. “She believed that the purpose of the liturgy was to help us live in a more conscious confrontation with Christ.” There are about 200 Catholic Worker houses in the U.S. and in eight other countries—double the number that existed at the time of Day’s death
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