US bishops support sainthood for Dorothy Day

The Catholic bishops of the United States have endorsed the cause for sainthood of social activist Dorothy Day — who was famously quoted as saying, “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

Day, who died in 1980, established with Peter Maurin the non-violent, pacifist Catholic Worker movement, which claims more than 200 autonomous communities providing social services in many countries, including New Zealand.

The endorsement by the US bishops took place during their annual general assembly in Baltimore. The bishop promoting her cause is Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the bishops’ conference.

Cardinal Dolan called the journey of Day’s life “Augustinian”, saying that “she was the first to admit it: sexual immorality, there was a religious search, there was a pregnancy out of wedlock, and an abortion. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, she was radically changed.” He said she has become “a saint for our time”.

“Of all the people we need to reach out to, all the people that are hard to get at, the street people, the ones who are on drugs, the ones who have had abortions, she was one of them,” said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington.

“What a tremendous opportunity to say to them you can not only be brought back into society, you can not only be brought back into the church, you can be a saint!”

Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, said: “She was a very great personal friend to me when I was a young priest. To be able to stand here and say yes to this means a great deal to me.”


Catholic News Service

Image: Georgetown University

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