My Fair Maiden

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The letters of passionate and physical devotion to Forster disappear suddenly; they are followed not by mystical ecstasy but by the everyday details of her vocation of love—food deliveries, heating bills, eviction notices. D ay guessed that sexual desire had gotten out of proportion because industrialism deprived workers of physical activity, while modern civilization deprived them of tenderness from family and friends.

He wishes to be taken possession of. Second best is to be possessed, even for the moment of orgasm, by some force greater than himself.

Creative force, life force. Sexual desire, which responds to beauty, might also ruin it. And because so much was at stake, Day thought the recommendation of sexual immorality to the poor—the promotion of birth control and abortion—was an act of contempt toward those who should be treated as Christ himself. A former nurse, Day had herself carried one pregnancy to term, and had another aborted. She had been friends with Margaret Sanger, and in her twenties nearly took a job with the newly founded Birth Control League.

I n , Day sensed the beginnings of the sexual revolution. During one of her brief jail terms—this one for civil disobedience in protest against nuclear war—she was dismayed by the sexual freedom of her fellow prisoners.

From Union Square to Rome, Chapter 1

Life without sex was, she said, using the terms of Catholic devotion, part of the Sorrowful Mysteries, which stand between the Joyful and the Glorious. Sexuality glorifies God in marriage and in celibacy; but its true fulfillment is in eternal life.

DOROTHY DAY as known by Cornel West

Close Login. Web Exclusives First Thoughts. Intellectual Retreats Erasmus Lectures. Video Podcasts. Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Day lamented the moral waywardness she was witnessing in Catholic Worker communities: I have seen such disastrous consequences, over my long lifetime, such despair, resulting in suicide, such human misery that I cannot help but deplore the breakdown of sexual morality.

After all it involves life itself. In this lies their great dignity. Sex is a gigantic force in our lives and unless controlled becomes unbridled lust under which woman is victim and suffers most of all. She told Forest with whom she remained on good terms; he later wrote an admiring biography of her that there was no point in being a pacifist if his sex life was disordered: Your letters emphasise all the good the CPF [Catholic Peace Fellowship] is doing, but I assure you that all that means nothing.

Biography of Dorothy Day, Founder of the Catholic Worker Movement

The dishonesty, the deceit involved negates the good. If you gave all you had to the poor and delivered your body to be burned, it is all nothing but sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, if you have not charity, the love of God which you have turned from to have the love of women. And through this she realized that the spiritual and sensual might be reconciled, that it was possible to love God in His works, in the beauty of His creation which was crowned for me by the birth of my child.

Forster had made the physical world come alive for me and had awakened in my heart a flood of gratitude. Wikimedia Commons. Selected Books. Related Research Guides.

In , Dorothy Day, a journalist, bohemian socialist, and recent convert to Catholicism, met the French-born Peter Maurin. They collaborated in seeking ways to live the biblical injunctions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to seek justice and peace through the founding of the Catholic Worker Movement. After Maurin's death in Dorothy Day continued to lead the movement and to edit its newspaper, the Catholic Worker , until her death in She lead the movement from the front, taking part in picketing and protests.


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She was arrested multiple times for her principled resistance to injustice. She is one of the best known and influential Catholic laypersons of the 20th century, and has been named a "Servant of God" by the Vatican, the first step on the road to sainthood. E-Reference Works.

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To see these articles off campus, you will need to enter you Multipass username and password when you click on a link. Below are articles from the New Catholic Encyclopedia , 2nd edition. Dorothy Day. Peter Maurin.

Dorothy Day | America Magazine

Catholic Worker Movement. Below are articles from the Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. Print Reference Works.