A Conversation with Author and Dorothy Day's Granddaughter Kate Hennessy

Apr 21, 2017

"Dorothy Day: The World Will be Saved by Beauty" is a new biography by Day's youngest grandchild, Kate Hennessy.

I spoke to Hennessy recently from her home in Vermont. Here's what she has to say about her grandmother, who may become the newest saint in the Catholic church.

Dorothy Day (1897-1980), with philosopher Peter Maurin, formed the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933. The work continues to this day, focusing on the corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and the prisoners, bury the dead and give alms to the poor.

Kate Hennessy's new biography of her grandmother Dorothy Day
Credit Simon & Schuster Inc.

From the streets of New York City during the Great Depression, the Catholic Worker Movement today has over 200 houses of hospitality worldwide. Its flagship newspaper, Catholic Worker, is published eight times a year and still sells for one penny, as it did in 1933.

A case for sainthood is being made for Day in the Catholic Church. In her early life, Day was a writer and newspaperwoman, at home in the bars and cafes of Chicago and New York's Greenwich Village. Her only child, Tamar Teresa, was born out of wedlock to Day and her partner Forster Batterham.

In this TV interview from the 1970s, Day discusses the movement, activism, anarchy and more:

From this unconventional life in the 1920s comes a legacy of charity and compassion on an international scale.