Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saint Dorothy Update

The cause for Dorothy Day's canonization is going forward.

Cardinal Dolan, speaking at the canonically-required consultation on her cause, described Day's journey towards conversion as "Augustinian," noting that

she was the first to admit it: [there was] sexual immorality, there was a religious search, there was a pregnancy out of wedlock, and an abortion. Like Saul on the way to Damascus, she was radically changed [and has become] a saint for our time.

(Though he didn't mention it, Day was also divorced.)

Retired Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, a native New Yorker, suggested that "[of] all the people we need to reach out to, all the people that are hard to get at, the street people, the ones who are on drugs, the ones who have had abortions, she was one of them," suggesting Day as a natural advocate and intercessor for these populations, whose members she and her fellows served in the Catholic Worker movement

Nevertheless, although Day was well-known for her dedication to the spiritually backbreaking work of meeting the poor and the marginalized where they were and loving them for who they were, I believe she has a powerful message, too, for others more privileged -- for those whom Elisabeth Leseur (whose cause for canonization is also open) called "[the] carefree ones who live for themselves. They more than the others [more overtly suffering], perhaps, need to be loved."

There has been some lively discussion of Day in the comboxes of this blog, with some commenters wondering whether her past, or some of her non-theological ideas, might disqualify her from sainthood. Nothing could be further from the truth. We know that many saints were reckless, heedless, careless, destructive sinners, not to mention wrong about many things; nevertheless, the Church acknowledges these flawed individuals as sharing the company of the blessed, and we regard them as powerful advocates before God, which strikes me as ample demonstration of the simple mercy of Christ, whose ways are not our ways, and who loves sinners with a love we cannot begin to fathom.

UPDATE, 11/28/12: Lovely commentary here.


Lizzie said...

Great news-let's pray Caryll's up soon!

Pentimento said...

Yes, Lizzie, I'm in!