success stories

Book: Dorothy Day: Writings from Commonweal
Editor: Patrick Jordan
The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN, pp. 173

Excerpt from the Jacket:

Dorothy Day (1897-1980) has been described as "the most significant, interesting, and influential person in the history of American Catholicism." Outside The Catholic Worker (which she edited from 1933 until her death), Day wrote for no other publication so often and over such an extended period covering six decades as the independent Catholic journal of opinion, Commonweal.

Gathered here for the first time are Day's complete Commonweal pieces, including articles, reviews, and published letters-to-the-editor. They offer the reader not only an overview of Day's fascinating life but also a compendium of her prophetic insights, spiritual depth, and unforgettable prose. Her writing transcends her times.

Excerpt from Book:

Tales of Two Capitals

. . .Dinner is served at Il Poverello House on Tenth Street in Washington every night at six-thirty, and swarms of the children of the neighborhood come in. There are three little girls living in the house and two big girls, both graduates of Francis Xavier University in New Orleans, now finishing up a year of graduate work at the Catholic University. These, with the two older women, who teach at the University, make up the family.

But everyone in the neighborhood considers the house a sort of headquarters and comes for aid of one kind or another. The doors are open when the women get home from school and the work of hospitality goes on. Bedtime is early, because everyone gets up at quarter past five to offer the Mass at the shrine at quarter of six, where they all make the responses together, and where Father Paul Hanley Furfey gives a short homily every day. It's a good way of starting the day, and the early morning is cool and fragrant as we drive over to the shrine.

The life of the group at Il Poverello house is dedicated to voluntary poverty. The principle is, " If we have less, everyone will have more." So on this very immediate practical idea, many are helped.

They certainly need help, the Negroes in Washington. Down the alley in back of this house it is a two-story, box-like structure for which the rent is $75 a month --- the tiny little houses with no running water, rent for $16 a month. Quite literally they are hovels. Places that would rent for $8 a month in New York cost twice as much here. And places are hard to find.

Washington is a beautiful city; the streets are tree-shaded and on the streets the houses are mostly not bad. But down the alleys live the great mass of poor, crowded in dirty, evil-smelling, little holes. There the unemployed hang out, dull and lethargic, some vicious and dissipated, as well as the greater number who struggle against terrific odds to keep themselves human, to rise above their surroundings.

Table of Contents:

1. The brother and the rooster
2. Guadalupe
3. A letter from Mexico City
4. Spring festival in Mexico
5. Bed
6. Now we are home again
7. Notes from Florida
8. East Twelfth Street
9. Review: Everybody's St. By Elizabeth von Schmidt-Pauli
10. Real revolutionists
11. Review: Catholic poets by Thomas Walsh
12. For the truly poor
13. Saint John of the Cross
14. Houses of hospitality
15. The house on Mott Street
16. Tale of two capitals
17. Letter: in the name of the staff
18. King, Ramsay and Connor
19. It was a good dinner
20. About Mary
21. Tobacco Road
22. Review: In the steps of Moses by Louis Golding
23. Review: Our Lady of the Birds by Louis J. A. Mercier
24. Peter and the woman
25. Letter: Things worth fighting for
26. The scandal of the works of mercy
27. Traveling by bus
28. Letter: Blood, sweat and tears
29. The story of Steve Hergenhan
30. Priest of the immediate
31. We plead guilty
32. Letter: from Dorothy Day
33. Pilgrimage to Mexico
34. In memory of Ed Willock
35. Southern pilgrimage
36. A.J.
37. Dorothy Day on hope
38. Reminiscence at 75