Catholic Worker Movement Turns 75

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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Sojourners Magazine July 2008
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