Dorothy Day‰Ûªs unpretentious account of the life of St. ThÌ©rÌ¬se of Lisieux sheds light on the depth of Day‰Ûªs Catholic spirituality and illustrates why ThÌ©rÌ¬se‰Ûªs simplicity and humility are so vital for today. Whether you are called to the active life like Day or a more hidden existence like ThÌ©rÌ¬se, you will discover that these paths have much in common and can lead you to a love that has the power to transform you in ways that are unexpected and consequential.Now back in print, this short biography of St. ThÌ©rÌ¬se of Lisieux by Dorothy Day expresses the surprising yet profound connection between Day‰ÛÓthe founder of the Catholic Worker movement who was praised by Pope Francis for her passion for justice and dedication to her faith‰ÛÓand the beloved saint best known for her Little Way.
When Day first read St. ThÌ©rÌ¬se‰Ûªs autobiography, The Story of a Soul in 1928, she called it ‰ÛÏpious pap.‰Û At the time, Day‰ÛÓa social activist who had been living a bohemian lifestyle‰ÛÓhad only recently been baptized a Catholic. Some twenty-five years later, Day‰Ûªs perspective on ThÌ©rÌ¬se had so completely changed that she was inspired to write this biography. She did not find it an easy task: ‰ÛÏEvery time I sit down to write that book on the Little Flower I am blocked. . . . I am faced with the humiliating fact that I can write only about myself, a damning fact.‰Û But she persisted, and despite numerous rejections eventually found a publisher for it in 1960. She wrote in the Preface: ‰ÛÏIn these days of fear and trembling of what man has wrought on earth in destructiveness and hate, ThÌ©rÌ¬se is the saint we need.‰Û
Written originally for nonbelievers or those unaware of ThÌ©rÌ¬se, the book reflects how Day came to appreciate ThÌ©rÌ¬se‰Ûªs Little Way, not as an abstract concept, but as a spirituality that she had already been living. The Catholic Worker, which she cofounded with Peter Maurin, was dedicated to feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. Day‰Ûªs life, like ThÌ©rÌ¬se‰Ûªs, was filled with all the humble, self-effacing jobs that were a part of this work. She found in ThÌ©rÌ¬se a kindred spirit, one who saw these simple hidden tasks as the way to heaven. ‰ÛÏWe want to grow in love but do not know how. Love is a science, a knowledge, and we lack it,‰Û Day wrote.
Just as Day had a conversion of heart about the Little Way, you, too, can be changed by ThÌ©rÌ¬se‰Ûªs simple, yet profound spirituality.
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Dorothy Day‰Ûªs cause for canonization moved forward when Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York, opened a canonical inquiry of her life.
In his speech to the United States Congress in September of 2015, Pope Francis spoke about Dorothy Day as one of four figures who embodied the best of the American spirit. ‰ÛÏHer 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.‰Û