Don't Call Me a Saint!

While I am certain that Dorothy Day would want whatever money it takes to canonize her directed toward the poor, I can't wait for the holy cards. The psychedelic-colored, 3D kind with the eyes that follow you across the room. Or the humidity-sensitive Catholic Worker house that turns from blue to pink as the weather changes. Believe me, sainthood can kick up some serious kitsch.

In March the Vatican declared Day a "Servant of God" and gave a green light to the process by which Dorothy Day, a founder of the Catholic Worker movement, may be canonized as a Roman Catholic saint. New York City's late Cardinal John O'Connor, who officially initiated Day's canonization process, took fire from traditional and progressive Catholics alike. Traditionalists argue that a woman who had an abortion, had a daughter with her common-law husband, and consorted with communists makes a poor model for a righteous Christian life. Progressives worry that sainthood will trivialize Day and distance her from the everyday world in which she lived so fully.

Claretian Publications' Tom McGrath, who first proposed Day's canonization in 1983, recently told the New Orleans Time-Picayune, "I can understand the fear that a lot of Catholic Workers have, that she'll be tamed and prettied up...but she could do a lot of good for sainthood by driving home the idea that a lot of these people have a certain wildness in them."

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 2000
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