Dorothy Day Economics

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By Chuck Collins
Institute for Policy Studies
September 24, 2015

It was heartening and surprising to hear Pope Francis lift up the legacy of Dorothy Day in his speech before Congress. “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints,” said Francis before both houses of Congress.

Perhaps this was the most subversive part of his speech — celebrating a little-known figure and thus reviving interest in what Dorothy Day stood for. And if we truly heed the teachings of Dorothy Day, we would radically transform our society and economy.

I first met Dorothy Day in the kitchen of Mary House, the Catholic Worker soup kitchen on New York City’s Bowery district. More important, I worked for decades along side people deeply shaped by Dorothy in the Catholic worker movement.

I first read The Catholic Worker newspaper, founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, when I was 16 and working at a summer camp. It had a huge personal impact on me. Within two years, I was living at a Catholic Worker house in Worcester, Massachusetts called the Mustard Seed, serving soup to homeless men.

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