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The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social… (1952)
de Dorothy Day
No hi ha cap discussió a Converses sobre aquesta obra.
I have no idea how historically accurate Day's memoir is, but I find it hard to imagine anyone I admire more than the woman who appears in these pages.
Summary: A memoir of the life of Dorothy Day up to 1952, describing her search for God and a meaningful life, her conversion to Catholicism, her catalytic friendship with Peter Maurin, and the early years of the Catholic Worker movement.
This is the memoir of a woman who grew up in a middle class family, the daughter of a sports writer, a teen who read Upton Sinclair and Doestoevsky, spent two years at the University of Illinois, then left to pursue life as a writer on the lower east side of Manhatten, working for several Socialist publications, getting arrested for the first time in 1917 (her last was as a 75 year old!). She went through several love affairs with the likes of Eugene O’Neill and Mike Gold. Along the way, she had an abortion, and lived what one would call a very “bohemian” lifestyle. An unlikely candidate for sainthood, you might say, and yet the Archdiocese of New York has opened the cause for her canonization, allowing her to be designated “A Servant of God.”
The memoir covers her early life and all these episodes although it devotes very little time to the period she spent in Europe. What we see is a woman haunted by a longing for God, struggling with “the long loneliness” of human existence, the sense of being alienated or apart from even those closest in life. She appears to find a happy existence in a Staten Island home she bought with proceeds from selling a screen play. She is in a kind of “common law” relationship with Forster Batterham, socially conscious but a principled atheist. They seem to enjoy an idyllic life until the birth of daughter Tamar, which intensifies Dorothy’s spiritual search as she reads Catholic literature and talks with several Catholic sisters and priests. First she brings Tamar to be baptized, and then at the end of 1927, enters the Catholic Church, and leaves Batterham, who loves her but utterly opposes this decision. She speaks of the struggle she has with the decision, which literally ended up making her ill. Yet in the end, when faced with a choice between Batterham and God, she chooses God. Nevertheless, they remained good friends for the remainder of their lives.
Dorothy struggled with reconciling her concerns for the poor and social activism with her Catholic faith. It wasn’t until the searching convert and a wandering social theologian, Peter Maurin meet up that these two strains are reconciled in her life. It is a catalytic relationship for both, resulting in the launching of the Catholic Worker movement. She chronicles the birth of this movement with its paper sold for a penny (to this day), its houses of hospitality (now 216 in the U.S. according to their website), and their farming experiments. The vision was of places where laborers could find food, welcome, and thoughtful conversation and retreats that addressed the spiritual side of their existence as well as sustained advocacy for workers’ rights. Maurin helped Day integrate Catholic social teaching with her faith, and I think Day helped Maurin translate his visionary ideals into actual communities.
The book concludes with Day’s beautiful account of Maurin’s death, and their acquisition of a new house in New York City, which she attributes to Maurin’s prayers. In her postscript she comes back to the theme of “the long loneliness.”
“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.
It all happened while we sat there talking, and it is still going on.”
This memoir suggested several things to me. It reminded me that the externals of how a person is living is not a reliable indicator of their spiritual hunger or the work of God in their lives. At several points Dorothy was exposed to very “other worldly” versions of Christianity that failed to capture her imagination because they did not address life in this world. And the book exposes the power of community, and the reality that even with all our human foibles and flaws, people drawn together in Christ might indeed find the “only solution” to our long loneliness.
Just read it! This is a classic book that illuminates Catholic social teaching and the need to compassionately reach out to everyone, yes everyone, while offering much food for meditation and contemplation. Deeply spiritual, deeply moving, and deeply personal.
Wow! I have heard of Dorthy Day for years. The famous Catholic Anarchists. Being a radical myself I have been drawn to the idea for some time. In her autobiography I learn that she was much more complicated that I had originally thought.
I see so much of myself, and my wife, in her journey. My love of God no matter what, and no way to understand how one could ever live without him. My wife's content skeptism of the world and weariness of those outside of our immediate circle. An undying love for a child no matter how frustrating. A conversion story that occurs just as her loved one is strengthening resistance to religion.
She never meant to write about herself, and the autobiography only left me wanting more. How to live in peace with neighbors above all. How to love Christ with a heart, even when it seems like His world is not for us. Anarchy doesn't have to be about politics. Its...different. I long for more. I am certain her canonization process will be long and drawn out, and the body of Christ will have to grow before we can call her St. Dorthy Day.
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)
The compelling autobiography of a remarkable Catholic woman, sainted by many, who championed the rights of the poor in America's inner cities. When Dorothy Day died in 1980, the New York Times eulogized her as “a nonviolent social radical of luminous personality . . . founder of the Catholic Worker Movement and leader for more than fifty years in numerous battles of social justice.” Here, in her own words, this remarkable woman tells of her early life as a young journalist in the crucible of Greenwich Village political and literary thought in the 1920s, and of her momentous conversion to Catholicism that meant the end of a Bohemian lifestyle and common-law marriage. The Long Loneliness chronilces Dorothy Day's lifelong association with Peter Maurin and the genesis of the Catholic Worker Movement. Unstinting in her commitment to peace, nonviolence, racial justice, and the cuase of the poor and the outcast, she became an inspiration to such activists as Thomas Merton, Michael Harrinton, Daniel Berrigan, Ceasr Chavez, and countless others. This edition of The Long Loneliness begins with an eloquent introduction by Robert Coles, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and longtime friend, admirer, and biographer of Dorothy Day.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)282.0924Religions Christian denominations Catholic Catholic Biography And History Biography
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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