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388 • Part III. Christian Morality: The Faith Lived

people have had such an impact on my life, even though we

never met.

A number of new books are appearing now, because of the

centenary of her birth, but I still find her own book on St. Thérèse

of Lisieux to reveal as much about Dorothy Day as anything else

that I have read. Most particularly she seems clearly to recognize

that Thérèse’s “little way” was the way of suffering, and to under-

stand with Thérèse that all suffering united with that of Christ on

the Cross is of inestimable value for souls.

I wish every woman who has suffered an abortion . . . would

come to know Dorothy Day. Her story was so typical. Made preg-

nant by a man who insisted she have an abortion, who then

abandoned her anyway, she suffered terribly for what she had

done, and later pleaded with others not to do the same. But

later, too, after becoming a Catholic, she learned the love and

mercy of the Lord, and knew she never had to worry about His

forgiveness. This is why I have never condemned a woman who

has had an abortion; I weep with her and ask her to remember

Dorothy Day’s sorrow but to know always God’s loving mercy and


Not everyone who knew Dorothy at a distance is aware of

her meetings with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, or of the esteem

in which Mother Teresa held her. A new book by Jim Forest,


is the Measure

, includes a portion of a Mother Teresa letter writ-

ten for Dorothy Day’s seventy-fifth birthday: Mother Teresa wrote

to her, “So much love—so much sacrifice—all for Him alone.

You have been such a beautiful branch on the Vine, Jesus, and

allowed His Father, the Vine dresser, to prune you so often and so

much. You have accepted all with great love. . . .”

I wish I had known Dorothy Day personally. I feel that I know

her because of her goodness. But surely, if any woman ever loved

God and her neighbor, it was Dorothy Day! Pray that we do what

we should do. (

Catholic New York

[November 13, 1997]: 13-14)

The Vatican has begun proceedings that may lead to her canoniza-

tion. She went down many blind alleys before she found the road that

Christ was pointing out to her all the time.