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Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her Paperback – July 30, 2006
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Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her, by Rosalie Riegle. I get up to tell you the comfort, joy, and a
whole lot of other things that it gives me! Reading the book is a vicarious living with Dorothy. The
author has done a wonderful arranging of disparate materials, so that there's an appropriate sense of
progression. That's a feat! (This is a book I don't want to end.)
Rosalie Riegle is familiar with Dorothy Day's life from her research for her work VIOCES FROM THE CATHOLIC WORKER. In this work she gives us a biography that contains the story of Dorothy Day but isn't just the standard story. Riegle has collected stories, vignettes, and remembrances from the people who knew and worked with Day. Readers familiar with Dorothy Day's life and her work with the Catholic Worker will recognize many writers of many of the remembrances included: Jim Forrest, Robert Coles, Tom and Monica Cornell, Eileen Egan, Robert Ellsberg, and Fr. Richard McSorely. Some of the writings included are published for the first time in this work. She also includes remembrances from people who died before the book's publication but are an indispensable part of any Dorothy day biography: Peter Maurin, Thomas Merton, Sr. Peter Claver. While the stories associated with the familiar people associated with day are wonderful, there are many stories and vignettes from people not so well known but help compose the intriguing portrait found in this book.
Readers who are familiar with Dorothy Day's life will enjoy this book not because of the new light it sheds on Day's work and accomplishments but on the many stories and anecdotes that have been included that cannot be found elsewhere. We see day with all her gifts and all her quirks told by people who loved her because of who she was, and perhaps at times in spite of who she was. The Dorothy day we meet in this book may be a saint, though she was not always saintly. We see a woman of conviction, a woman of talent, and a woman open to God's direction in her life. While this is an excellent stand alone biography, it is an even better as a companion for the classic biographies of William Miller's DOROTHY DAY: A BIOGRAPHY (now out of print) and Jim Forrest's LOVE IS THE MEASURE.