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The Catholic Worker After Dorothy: Practicing the Works of Mercy in a New Generation Paperback – March 18, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"While many observers inside and outside the Catholic Work today view Dorothy Day's death in 1980 as a sharp boundary between the more orthodox past of the movement she co-founded and its less coherent present, The Catholic Worker after Dorothy belies its title and presents its history in an unbroken sweep, a living tradition, from its founding to the present. -- Brian Terrell, Executive Director of Catholic Peace Ministry, Des Moines, Iowa

"All of us, `after Dorothy,' now share the haunting, beautiful and difficult work of loving God and each other with the authenticity and grace that originally inspired the movement. With a fresh rendering of the historical narrative, Dan McKanan shares the wisdoms of preceding generations and tells that the fire of Christian love contained in the daily practice of the works of mercy can heal us and take our forebears' `revolution of the heart' into the future." -- Michael Boover, Catholic Worker and Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Anna Maria College Paxton, Massachusetts

"The Catholic Worker Movement celebrates its 75th birthday (1933-2008). It did not dissolve after Dorothy's passing in 1980 and Dan McKanan explains why. The seeds of the movement were planted in the most fertile and enduring soil--the daily practice of the works of mercy. The work itself is the tie that binds, sustains, unites and brings great joy. There are no hard line dogmas; a gentle personalism is all that's required. It's that simple." -- Willa Bickham, Brendan Walsh, Co-founders, Viva House, Baltimore Catholic Worker

About the Author

Dan McKanan is associate professor and chair of the theology department at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. He also teaches in the peace studies department and the Saint John's School of Theology and has previously published Touching the World: Christian Communities Transforming Society (Liturgical Press, 2007) and Identifying the Image of God: Radical Christians and Nonviolent Power in the Antebellum United States (Oxford, 2002).

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814631878
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814631874
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #675,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After reading several of Dorothy Day's autobiographical books, collections of her essays and now reading her recently published diaries, I was very interested in learning from another perspective the history of the Catholic Worker Movement that Dorothy and Peter Maurin began in the 1930's and particularly finding out how the movement has continued since Dorothy's death in 1980. This book is well written, well researched and I found it to be very interesting. The Catholic Worker houses of hospitality are apparently quite diverse and as unique in their organization and ways of practicing the works of mercy as there are idealistic and faithfilled people drawn to the movement. Many houses of hospitality have come and gone, but an increasing number of houses have remained in existence for decades.
If you have not read Dorothy Day's "The Long Loneliness" I recommend that you begin there. I do highly recommend this book for someone wanting to learn more and see how the Catholic Worker movement has evolved and grown through the many people, idealistic college grads and committed life-long "workers," who have been inspired by Dorothy's vision and example.
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Many books have been written by and about Catholic Workers, including the seminal writings of Dorothy Day herself, and the most recent collection of her diaries entries, Robert Ellsberg's The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day. But this book fills a much needed gap: the exploration of the ongoing, living practice of the Catholic Worker today.

Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin did not produce a blueprint for others to match. Instead, they simply sought to live faithful lives centered in the most solidly radical (in the true sense of "rooted") Catholic tradition they knew. They have inspired countless people to various forms of imitation.

This book, through interviews and reflection, explores some of those subsequent experiments. What is revealed is how many different ways there have been to call oneselves "Catholic Workers" within the traditions of personalism and gospel anarchy. Most helpful to me was to listen to CWs grapple with issues of faith and church. Where is the line (is there a line?) between "Catholic Worker" and simply "Worker"? What about social justice issues that Dorothy and Peter didn't consider explicitly, such as women's ordination or homosexuality?

This book is a wonderful resource for conversation and inspiration. It would be a great companion for the recent DVD, "Don't Call Me a Saint," available directly from the producer, Claudia Larson, at [...]
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Great little book which provides and overview the work of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Workers Movement. There is still much to do to guarentee work, food, and dignity for all.
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