The Catholic Worker Movement

On Pilgrimage - March/April 1980

By Dorothy Day

The Catholic Worker, March-April 1980, 2.

Summary: Notes from her diary about operas, Friday night speakers, visitors, phone calls, and friends. (DDLW #604).


Diary notes, which never turned into an article.

Thurs, 2/14–Wonderful stories turned in for the February issue of The Catholic Worker-Todd Gauchat’s letter and Meg Brodhead’s Maryhouse column.


Fri, 2/15–I’m sorry to miss our Friday night meetings, especially this one. Peter Steinfels, executive editor of Commonweal is our speaker. The Commonwealprinted my first articles as a Catholic convert the Hunger Marches in the Thirties. This led to Peter Maurin’s arrival, and the Catholic Worker. George Shuster, Commonweal editor at that time, sent him to me. Deane Mowrer tapes our Friday night talks, so I can hear them later, when I cannot get down to our auditorium. Dr. Marion Moses came to supper with me in my room.


Sat, 2/16–Listened to Richard Strauss’ Elektraon the radio, live from the Metropolitan Opera House this afternoon. Strauss also composed Salomeand Der Rosenkavalier.

Sun, 2/17–Janet Ward Hirschfield visited early and brought me my breakfast. She is pregnant, and wants to read my “Having a Baby.”

WBAI Radio broadcasted the entire Wagner Ring all day. I listened to a lot of it and read the stories in an opera book.

My sister Della called from Victoria, British Columbia. So good to hear her voice. I must send her the packet of Stanley’s photos I promised.


Thurs, 2/21–Press Day for the February issue of The Catholic Worker.Our timing is fantastic!

My grand-daughter, Kate Hennessy, is here for a few days from the East Hill School in Chester, Vermont, where she is teaching the flute. Maggie Corbin is there also.

Tom Cornell, one of our former editors, dropped in. He is teaching at Mercy College.


Fri, 2/22–Letter from Margaret Allsworth, Washington, Mississippi. Memories of my visits there during a time of terror for any sympathizers with Blacks. She sent a check; and sympathy on Stanley’s death. She visited us at Peter Maurin’s Farm, Staten Island, years ago. Two black girls were then with us from the deep South-Classie May was the name of one of them. A badly crippled boy and his companion used to come and visit daily. They all had such a good time together. I remember it as a time of much laughter.


Sat, 2/23–Heard Cavalleria Rusticanaand Pagliacci live from the Met on the radio.

Rita Corbin and her two youngest children are in town from Poughkeepsie for a few days.


Sun, 2/24–Cornelia Holbert telephoned from Kinderhook, N.Y. Said she had searched for The Arundel Motto and found a copy and would send it.

Tonight, watched War and Peace on television and later a documentary on charles Darwin, both of them one of a series. Katy, my grand-daughter, sat and knitted and listened and watched at the same time.


Mon, 2/25–“Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring”–Bach–lovely title for lovely music.

Kassie Temple brought me breakfast on her way to St. Vincent’s Hospital with one of our “ladies” (as Deane and I were termed when we were in jail years ago, when we refused to take shelter in mock air raid drills). Kassie borrowed a detective story to read while waiting at the hospital.

Watched Leonard Bernstein conducting Romeo and Julieton TV–beautiful music, though not as beautiful as Wagner’s Tristanand Isolde.

Tues, 2/26–Margaret Lloyd called–is up from the Carolinas briefly. She and I are collectors of stones. Anne Fraser Kaune came in this a.m. for breakfast. Katy came for supper. Tom Sullivan,one of our former managing editors, telephoned.

Reading Josephine Tey’s To Love and Be Wise. She is as good a detective story writer as Dorothy Sayers.

I cannot eat a heavy supper, so I save my plate for lunch the next day–instead of the eternal soup. Isn’t there a song about “beautiful soup” in Alice in Wonderland?

Wed, 2/28–Fr. Geoff Gneuhs said Mass tonight. Many in the house are down with the flu this winter.


Fri, 2/29–Eileen Egan****is our speaker tonight-on Mother Teresa of Calcutta.


Sat, 3/1–Dorothy Gauchat called from Avon, Ohio–she is going into the hospital tomorrow–having an operation on her spine. Pray for her and for her marvelous works with crippled children.


Sun, 3/2–Nina Polcyn Moore called from Sauk Centre, Minnesota. She is worried about her stepsons if the draft is reinstituted.

Doug Finch, a friend of Kassie Temple, gave a piano concert in our auditorium this afternoon. I felt too weak to go down. Listened to Strauss’ Salomeon the radio instead.

A child, kidnapped seven years ago in California, has been found, which makes me think of Mary Augustine, whose grandson disappeared several years ago. She was working with us here in New York when the news came from her daughter.


Tues, 3/4–Telephoned my daughter, Tamar, on her birthday.


Thurs, 3/6–Wonderful music on radio–Brahms, Wagner, Bruckner.


Sun, 3/9–A dozen people from the Catholic Worker and two Little Brothers of the Gospel left in our van yesterday for Washington, D.C. to demonstrate at the Pentagon. This morning they had a Mass outside the Pentagon. A street Mass! I wonder what Charles De Foucald, who founded th Little Brothers order, would have said? I am sure he was blessing the enterprise.

As to the story of the return of the Kidnapped child–he is Mary Augustine’s grandchild! Mary’s brother, Hugh Madden, had come to New York to picker with Ammon Hennacy. Formerly a ship’s captain on the West Coast, he had run our House of Hospitality in Oakland, California. After his death, Mary came to visit us and was at Tivoli when we got news of her grandson’s disappearance. She later visited and helped repair Maryhouse, loosening the paint-encrusted shutters. I saw her and her family again when I was picketing with the grape strikers in California. Truth is stranger than fiction.


Fri, 3/14–Three things happening at once tonight: 1. Our Friday night meeting–Eileen Egan’s cousin, Fr. Jack Egan is our speaker; 2. The return of Deane and the others from the Washington demonstration; 3. Dr. Marion Moses here for supper, with news of her research work.


Sat, 3/15–Bill Callahan died in Latrobe. He was our first managing editor, in October 1936. Bill and I went to Washington, D.C., to protest the draft before World War II. After Stanley Vishnewski’s death, Tom Sullivan sent me a list of the many Catholic Workers who have died over the years. There will be quite a throng to welcome Bill into heaven.