A Life of Spiritual Adventure

DOROTHY DAY HEARD the call of God. This new biography shows clearly and with fascinating detail how this call, once heard, was lived out in a life of adventure, both spiritual and world-filled. Written by her co-Worker and friend Jim Forest and greatly expanded from his 1986 biography of the indefatigable founder of the Catholic Worker, this book will delight both those who feel they know Day from her writings and those meeting her for the first time in its pages.

Included are more than 200 photos, many published here for the first time. Also of interest are sidebars quoting Day’s writings, including her recently available diaries and letters (see Sojourners, August 2008 and March 2011).

It’s all there: Her birth in Brooklyn, surviving the San Francisco earthquake, her teenage years in Chicago and at the University of Illinois, her defiance in becoming a journalist against her father’s wishes, her love affairs—both tragic and happy—and finally her conversion after the birth of her daughter, Tamar. We read of her meeting Peter Maurin and how they began to publish The Catholic Worker and from there to found a lay movement. People who only know the public Day—her hospitality, her standing up for the downtrodden and against U.S. militarism—will find especially endearing the stories of her young years when she struggled to find a place for her writing talents, when she loved deeply and sometimes unwisely, and when she searched for a way to be a Christian single parent after leaving the father of her child. Others will resonate with her waning years, when her outward travels were curtailed and she sometimes felt herself a prisoner of an aging body.

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