Dorothy Day was a social activist who cofounded the Catholic Worker Movement. Before Dorothy embraced Catholicism, she was a Socialist who lived a vagabond lifestyle and frowned upon all organized religion. After years of searching for her mission in life, in 1933 she and Peter Maurin founded the Catholic Worker Movement. The Catholic Worker Movement started as a newspaper to encourage Catholics to perform acts of mercy for the poor, then grew to have houses for the poor and workers helping the poor.
Here are 10 amazing facts about Dorothy Day that you may not know:
1. Dorothy was born in 1897 to a Protestant family.
2. At the age of 16, she graduated high school and won a scholarship to the University of Illinois, where she joined the Socialist party.
3. At the age of 18, Dorothy took a job as a journalist with a Socialist newspaper called the New York Call.
4. Dorothy was put in jail with women suffragists for protesting in favor of giving women voting rights in 1917.
5. Dorothy became pregnant and had an abortion because she feared the man she loved would leave her. After her abortion the man left her anyway.
6. In 1924 Dorothy settled down in Staten Island where she prayed, carried a rosary, and had a Blessed Mother Mary statue.
7. After the birth of her daughter, Dorothy became more devout as she baptized her baby and started learning more about the Catholic faith.
8. Day smoke heavily for years and one day gave up the habit completely after praying for several years to quit.
9. She wrote eight books, more than 350 articles for journals and magazines, and over 1,000 articles for The Catholic Worker
10. Day’s gravestone features loaves and fishes engraved with the words “Deo Gratias,” meaning “Thanks be to God.”
Header photo via flickr @Jim Forest