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Dorothy's Place

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Who was Dorothy Day?

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Dorothy Day, namesake of Dorothy's PlaceDorothy Day (November 8, 1897 – November 29, 1980) was an American journalist turned social activist, who, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement. She became known for her social justice campaigns in defense of the poor, forsaken, hungry and homeless. She espoused nonviolence, and hospitality for the impoverished and downtrodden. Her commitment to social justice spanned most of the twentieth century, including her support of the Russian Revolution in 1917, then turning around in 1971 and accusing the Soviets of mistreating Alexander Solzenitsin.

The Catholic Worker movement started with the Catholic Worker newspaper, created to stake out a neutral, pacifist position in the increasingly war-torn 1930s. This grew into a "house of hospitality" in the slums of New York City and then a series of farms for the poor to live together communally. The movement quickly spread to other cities in the United States, and to Canada and the United Kingdom; more than 30 independent but affiliated CW communities had been founded by 1941. Well over 100 communities exist today, all over the world.

Her autobiography The Long Loneliness was published in 1953. Day's account of the Catholic Worker movement, Loaves and Fishes, was published in 1963. A popular movie called Entertaining Angels: The Dorothy Day Story, was produced in 1996 about the life and struggles that Day endured. The first full-length documentary about her, Dorothy Day: Don't Call Me a Saint, premiered at Marquette University, where her papers are housed, on November 29, 2005.

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