Quiet Terrors, Quiet Joy
access to her most personal thoughts and
The Duty of Delight reflections. True, no one who has read
The Diaries of Dorothy Day much of Dorothy Day’s published writ-
Edited by Robert Ellsberg ing, whether her autobiography The Long
Marquette University Press, $42, 700 pp.
Loneliness or her Catholic Worker columns
and editorials, will be terribly surprised by
n 1846, Søren Kierkegaard wrote, the spirit and tone of these diary entries,
“All religiousness is rooted in being nor by some of their basic content. Day
moved, in being shaken, in qualita- regularly mined her diary—sometimes
tive pressure on the springs of subjec- with only light editing—for her columns PHOTO © RICHARD LORD
tivity.” Kierkegaard’s observation seems
relevant to these diaries of Dorothy Day,
or collections of writing like House of
Hospitality (1938), in which portions We can end hunger
most of them previously unpublished,
because they offer deeper access to the
of the diary from the 1930s appeared.
In the last few years of her life, many of in our time. . .
subjective wellsprings of Day’s compel- her increasingly brief comments went
ling religious life.
Day has become ever more wide-
straight into the Catholic Worker, “just
so people know I’m still alive.”
I n sub-Saharan Africa, one out of
three people faces the threat of
chronic hunger. Here in the United
ly known to the general public for her Yet the personal tone of Day’s writ- States, one out of ten families lives in
founding (with Peter Maurin) of the ing and the forceful personality that lies poverty and struggles to put food on
Catholic Worker movement in 1933, behind it come across here with a fresh the table.
her lifelong commitment to social jus- intimacy, frankness, and complexity. People of faith are working together
tice and the poor, and her unwavering The diaries, barred from publication for to change conditions that allow hunger
pacifism. For many Catholics and oth- twenty-five years after her death, have to persist. By making their voices heard
ers familiar with her life and work, Dor- been superbly edited by Robert Ellsberg, in Congress, these advocates support
policies and programs that redirect
othy Day is also a major religious figure, who also contributes the Introduction.
millions of dollars and affect millions
a source of fascination, inspiration, and Ellsberg, who arrived at the Catholic of lives.
sometimes awe. The inevitable quote Worker in 1975 and knew Day person- Find out how you can help build the
from David O’Brien’s Commonweal obit- ally, provides valuable notes on people, political commitment needed to over-
uary in 1980 still holds: she remains “the places, and events unfamiliar to most come hunger and poverty in our time.
most significant, interesting, and influ- readers, and a connective tissue of con-
ential person in the history of American text and commentary that enables the To receive our FREE 12-page