Sunday, February 26, 2017


Scribner 2017

No one but no one could have written this fascinating biography but a grand-daughter and a grand-daughter has. There have been many biographies and celebrations to the wonderful Dorothy Day over the years now, including by Robert Coles ( a beautiful mind barely ever mentioned any longer ) but there is something endearing and everlasting how a grand-daughter can circulate and write not only a biography from a personal perspective, but also
a universal scale, by a storyteller writing a passionate and even critical portrait of her grandmother, Dorothy Day, as well as Dorothy’s only child Tamar (the biographer’s mother) and also the author, a child then, bringing her own story
into the book. The biography becomes the story of three women’s lives, over a century long, cutting through some of the toughest ground of this country’s history: labor struggle, world wars, economic depression, civil rights, women’s rights, tattered joyous 60s, Presidential impeachment, Christian brotherhood, the Catholic Worker movement. Don’t go dummy or gummy on the word “Christian.” Here it means goodwill to all mankind. This sterling portrait will showcase how many people – often castoffs — others remarkable alongside them, and Dorothy Day, held their ground.

[ BA ]


"Love, motherhood, religion — how many of us on finding ourselves embraced by any one of those would have stopped, rested, and remained? But this is the mystery of those forces that led her to go one step further, and another step, and another. And in one of the most grace-filled moments of a life full of grace, Dorothy finds herself praying to the Blessed Mother. Here I am — what would you have me do? Isn’t this that in-between time, that liminal space cherished by the Irish, the mysterious time of waiting and wandering? Isn’t it about hearing the call?"

Kate Hennessey