The Catholic Worker Movement

Day After Day - Jul Aug 1943

By Dorothy Day

The Catholic Worker, July August 1943, 1, 3.

Summary: Notes from her date book about visitors, talks attended and given, meetings, and visits to friends. (DDLW #394).

We last went to press June 23, and looking through my date book to find out what has been happening since then, I find I spoke on the 24th at the Yorkville Vocational High School, at their graduation exercises, and was happy to see a goodly crowd of colored and white girls, and colored and white families, gathered together amicably on this good occasion. I spoke about cooperatives and farming communes as expressions of our brotherhood in Christ, and in general tried to convey an idea of the philosophy of work which is Peter’s pet subject.

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July 1-Father Joseph Woods of Portsmouth Priory happened in, and since he is stationed for the summer at Malvern, Long Island, we immediately asked him to give us weekly talks in the dining room of St. Joseph’s House. The talks have been crowded, though the nights have been sweltering.

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July 2-Jack Thornton, who been in charge of the House of Hospitality for the past year, reported for his physical, since he is going into the army as an “objector” (l-a-o). Immediately after being accepted he went to Pittsburgh with Dwight Larrowe for his retreat.

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July 4- Catherine Lahr was visiting from Philadelphia, and, both of us longing for the sight of the sea, we took a street car ride to Coney Island in the afternoon; walked along the ocean, had a supper of hot dogs and sweet corn and came home refreshed.

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July 8-Mary Chesckette, who used to take care of the Day children when they were all under six and lived at Bath Beach, paid a visit. She informed me that she took me to a Catholic church once, and I pestered her by staring everywhere. No recollection.

A Cleaning WAVE

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July 10-A neat bit of propaganda for the WAVES was put over. A friend and reader of the paper, Miss Watson, came and helped us for the day, and her help took the shape of scrubbing the back two offices. Fr, Duffy, Charles O’Rourke and David Mason, who inhabit these quarters, were dispossessed for a good part of the day. Everyone went around saying, “It hasn’t been cleaned in such fashion since Joe Zarrella was around.” She was not in uniform, of course, and it was her day off. When she went, looking as sweet and clean as when she had started in, she carried with her a copy of Raissa Maritain’s We Were Friends Together.

Sunday, July 11-C. Lahr and I visited the Cenacle for half a day of recollection, hearing several conferences from Fr. Moore, from Anselm’s, Washington. Very good, indeed.

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Monday, July 12- I spoke at Friendship House on Negro conditions in the South as I saw them last winter, and ended up talking of retreats and the use of the weapons of the spirit.

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Thursday, July 15- I started out for Rosewood Training School, outside of Baltimore, where the Association of Catholic Conscientious Objectors has one of its two camps. The other is at the Alexian Brothers Hospital, in Chicago. After getting off**the train in Baltimore one takes the Pimlico streetcar and then a bus which goes past a road which leads to the school. I am writing about the school on another page of the paper.

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Saturday, July 17- A conference of the Association of. Catholic Conscientious objectors was held in Washington, at Pilgrimage Hall, near the Franciscan Monastery. It is a lovely place to hold such a meeting. We had lunch there. It was quiet, and all around the heat shimmered and the birds were still, and the grass smelled fresh and sweet outside the windows.

The following week was the week of the retreat, one day’s notes of which are contained on pages four and five.

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Sunday, July 25-Was spent on a picnic thirty miles out of Kittanning, Pa., with Fr. Hugo and his genial pastor. Taking the All-American bus that night out of Pittsburgh, I arrived in New York at ten in the morning, somewhat dizzy from lack of sleep. We had had one of these jaunty bus drivers who react to pretty girls in the front seat. At each rest stop he treated her to Coco-Cola, and after each stop he leaped into his seat as into a saddle, and we galloped at a most alarming speed around turns, up and down hills, so that I clutched my rosary and held my breath. (A communist friend once said to me: “Here you believe in eternal life.. and see how nervous you are about cars! And I who believe that life ends at the grave-” At this point a passing car took the shoe off his foot, which startled him somewhat.)

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August l-Was the annual farm meeting at Upton, Massachusetts, so, after being a week in New York, off I went in another bus to Worcester and Upton, walking three and a half miles from the station to the hundred-acre farm, where Mary Paulson and her baby (Teresa was there helping and vacationing) and Frank O’Donnell and his wife and six boys are living. There was a goodly gathering, picnicking on the lawn, both lunch and supper, picking blueberries, and visiting. There was a multitude of children. Peter Maurin and Bob Sukoski, of the Alcuin Community, who had traveled all night to reach the farm, fell into bed by eight, as soon as the fire-flies began dancing over the fields.