In 1917, having dropped out of college and moved to New York with her family, Dorothy Day took her first New York job, with a daily Socialist news paper, The Call, and settled into her own one-room apartment on Cherry Street. She was 19 years old and quickly overcome by the poverty she encountered and the smell of that poverty inside the tenements she frequented. At this point, she mentions, for the first time, in her major autobiography, “The Long Loneliness,” that she could feel “the spell of the long loneliness descend” on her.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance - In his speech to a Joint Session of Congress Pope Francis focused on environmental degradation, the death penatly, poverty and immigration and framed his discussion by highlighting three activists along with Abraham Lincoln. The three activists were the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. We have covered Dr. King a great deal on Popular Resistance but have not covered Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. The roots of Dorothy Day's political philosophy were in socialism and anarchism and later in life Catholicism. Dorothy Day was one of the founders of the Catholic Workers Movement in 1933, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless through nonviolent direct action. It is known for its houses of hospitality in poor sections of cities as well as activity in support of labor unions, human rights, cooperatives, and the development of a nonviolent culture. Thomas Merton, who was a close friend of Dorothy Day -- a friendship of letters, they never actually met -- shared a commitment to nonviolence and doing works of mercy for the poor.