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THE INFLUENCE OF DOROTHY DAY CONTINUES IN 2020

By Joyce Rothermel 

Earlier this year, Journey Films released a new documentary entitled: “Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story.” The 57-minute documentary by director Martin Doblmeier brings Dorothy’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness to life. Through rare archival photographs, film footage and interviews with actor/activist Martin Sheen, public theologian Cornel West, Jim Wallis of Sojourners, popular author Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and many others, viewers experience Dorothy’s amazing life story. 

Dorothy Day has been described as a mother, grandmother, Catholic convert, anarchist, prophet, journalist, pacifist, and saint. The film profiles Dorothy as one of the most extraordinary and courageous women in American history. Pope Francis in his speech to Congress in September, 2015 said, “A nation can be considered great…when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed as Dorothy Day did.” Dorothy was co-founder with Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker movement. It began as a newspaper to uncover rampant injustices during the Great Depression and soon expanded to become a network of houses of hospitality to welcome those who are poor and destitute. 

A peacemaker, Dorothy resisted all forms of military intervention. She protested U.S. involvement in World War II, was arrested multiple times protesting America’s nuclear weapons buildup, and led nationwide resistance against the war in Vietnam. On this issue, she corresponded with Thomas Merton, often printing his writings on peace and non-violence. The Thomas Merton Center presented her with its annual Thomas Merton Award in 1973. 

Today, the number of Catholic Worker houses continue to grow and the newspaper is still a prophetic voice speaking truth to power. The Catholic Church is now considering her for sainthood. 

I encourage everyone concerned about peace and social justice to see the film and read the new book on Dorothy’s life that is reviewed by Byron Borger in this issue of the NewPeople. The film has been shown recently on PBS and can be ordered at http://www.journeyfilms. com When the Merton Center reopens, we hope to have a group showing and discussion there. The DVD is also available for loan. Contact me at rothermeljoyce@gmail.com. 

Joyce Rothermel lived at the Amos House, a catholic worker type community, in Garfield from 1984 – 1995.

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 4. May/June, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

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