Item description for The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist by Dorothy Day...
Overview The founder of the Catholic Worker Movement recounts her experiences as a young journalist, her conversion to Catholicism, and the circumstances that led to her political activism
Publishers Description A compelling autobiographical testament to the spiritual pilgrimage of a woman who, in her own words, dedicated herself "to bring ing] about the kind of society where it is easier to be good.''
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More About Dorothy Day
Servant of God Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a pacifist, social commentator, journalist, convert to Catholicism, and cofounder of the Catholic Worker movement. She was the author of several books, including her autobiography, The Long Loneliness. Robert Ellsberg is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Orbis Books. He previously served as managing editor of The Catholic Worker.
Dorothy Day was born in 1897 and died in 1980.
Dorothy Day has published or released items in the following series...
Catholic Practice in North America
Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics
Ressourcement: Retrieval & Renewal in Catholic Thought
Reviews - What do customers think about The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist?
Living the oridinary extraordinarily: Reminiscences of a Catholic convert. Nov 6, 2005
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day has long been held to be an important social document as well as a meaningful written Catholic memoir, because it delves deeply into the intimate conversion experience whereby there is a moving epiphany that changes that person so completely and totally. And The Long Loneliness illustrates that point quite clearly. Even before the Catholic Worker was ever founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, their approach to religious activism was almost on par with other lay Catholic social orgaizations, mirroring the motto of Catholic Action, founded in 1868, the best, whose battle cry is: Prayer. Action. Sacrifice. However, what makes this memoir so appealing is that it is outlined in a belief framework of pragmatic thought and a consistent work ethic, like Opus Dei. Dorothy Day, in the recounting of her conversion and the afteraffects of it, is not given to flights of supernatural fancy or prone to self-created mystical experiences or visions, which, when people do have them, are psychosomatic or psychotic, at best.
There are various reasons why people enter the Catholic Church, and for Day, she wanted her daughter-Tamar-to not flounder in a life of sexual radicalism and voracious wantonness, both of which wounded her quite grievously before she had her conversion experience. Before she became Catholic, Dorothy Day was a doer rather than a sayer; she put action behind her words, and she found comfort in the Gospel: feeding the hungry and clothing the poor. The latter was the very impetus for why The Catholic Worker was established, to make it real, living and vibrant for others. What is recounted in the Long Loneliness is not any caliber of theological scholarship or penetrating analysis of the Gospel. Rather, besides being lived, Catholicism in conjunction with pacificism, economics, helping the downtrodden and the labor movement is thoroughly explored. And yet, simplicity, simplicity, simplicity is exemplified throughout. Through her collected writings, especially her memoir, Dorothy Day illuminated that in accepting the Catholic ideal, everyone must carry their cross if they want the world to be even a slightly better place and that the Catholic faith is not one to take lightly.
Enriching Exploration of the Discovery of Faith Jun 7, 2005
"The Long Loneliness," is one of the most enriching testimonies of an individual's search and discovery of faith that I have ever read, although I found the first 60 pages a bit slow (about her background and coming of age). I am very happy I persevered, because it only got better and more inspirational, as she began to perceive glimpses of God and tried to learn how best to follow Him.
Dorothy Day was a journalist who lived in the early 1900s and died in 1980. She was raised an agnostic. Her family did not practice a religion. Early in her life she attended churches with neighbors, and loved the feeling of communal worship, but felt discouraged by so many people who attended church only on Sunday and thought that was the end of their religious obligation to others.
An early memory that had a great impact on her was an earthquake during her childhood, in which the families who retained their houses opened their homes to those who had lost theirs, and the community banded together to help each other in brotherly love. She lived her life searching for this sense of community. During her college years she began an activist involved in political causes such as women's voting rights, and labor rights for women and children, and had sympathies with communist organizations, that, from her perspective, seemed to assist the needs of the poor more than any Christian church.
This is a conversion story, much similar to Thomas Merton's "Seven Story Mountain," but which inspired me much more than his good work. She felt an incredible need to worship God, so much that she believes that human beings have a deep psychological need to worship and when their devotion is misplaced on humans rather than the divine, it is a recipe for disaster. The First World War and the Great Depression was the background for her conversion. She worked as a nurse during the War and began attending church with a colleague, but latter returned to writing in an environment where there was less church, but she continued to pray.
She had a common law marriage with a man, whom she loved dearly, but when she became pregnant, she decided that she must have the child baptized so that her daughter would not experience the lack of spiritual support that caused her so much confusion and soul searching. She felt such great love durign her preganancy, that she believed she required a supernatural channel to channel the love. She had hoped to enter a church with her partner as a marriage before God, but he was adamantly opposed to religion and perceived it as a form of imperialism. She left him with her daughter, in order to follow a life that she believed would be pleasing to God. It was not an easy situation for her, as she had hoped for a traditional life, and being a single mother is never and easy vocation in any time period. The anguish she described when she reached the conclusion of what she must do was only a page but it moved me to tears. The situation that the decision evoked was not easy, but reaching the decision for her seemed to be a simple matter, because of her great faith. She wrote about it as occasionally God offers s the same proposition to us that he gave Abraham; to sacrifice something we love in pursuit of Him, whom we should love above all created things. She worte too, that staying with him felt natural, but that she was aspiring for a supernatural life, which requires different considerations when making decisions. I would like to hope that I would have the same faith and courage in a similar situation, but I don't know.
The time period following her separation was difficult for her, and she experienced loneliness, as she searched to discover what would be her niche in the world, according to God's plan. She believed that the antidote for loneliness is involvement in community life. She started the "Catholic Worker" with Peter Maurin (who she felt was sent to her by God as a response to her prayers for guidance in her vocational quest), a paper which reported about the injustices confronted by the poor and that presented articles of helpful advice for struggling families. The paper is still in existence.
She also started a hospitality house that offered food and shelter to those who need it, and a space where people can find a voice. Eventually a chain of such houses grew and now are operating not only across the US, but across the world. Some became retreat centers. Day's life is a perfect testimony of an individual discovering God's love and learning to return the love with faith, not only through worship to God, but also through offering love and help to others.
This is a great book for people seeking to understand what is faith and how does it move people, and a great book for people dealing with difficult situations in their lives when they are seeking to find what it is that they are meant to do with their lives. I recommend her story to every one.
The Long Loneliness Oct 23, 2004
This book is Dorothy Day's own autobiography. I know she was a remarkable woman. Everything that I have seen and heard about her has been outstanding. I was excited when I found this book. However, I felt disappointed by this book. It was rather boring and dry. Dorothy must have been very humble, because she writes about herself in a mundane fashion. It sounds like this is the diary account of her life. I guess she must not have realized how heroic she really was. She also experienced significant pain and isolation in her life, hence the title.
A Classic Conversion Story Nov 2, 2003
Catholic faith fascinates people. How did her spiritual life develop, and how did it influence the remainder of her life? Many wonderful authors, including but not limited to people such as William Miller, Robert Coles, and most recently Paul Elie, have written extensively about Dorothy Day and help us understand this amazing and complex woman, but nothing is more rewarding than reading the writings of Day herself.
THE LONG LONELINESS is a classic spiritual tome and is often referred to as Day's spiritual autobiography. In many ways it is similar to Thomas Merton's SEVEN STOREY MOUNTAIN, and it is easily a close second in popularity with many Catholics. Though Day's writing style is much drier than Merton's writing and her story is not quite as spellbinding as the artist and aspiring writer turned monk, the reader can sense God working powerfully in Day's life. If the book were published today, it would probably be categorized as a memoir, rather than an autobiography since day does not as much tell her story as reflect on how God called her to a life of faith.
The book is a "must read" for anyone who loves and admires Dorothy Day. It is also a book that will interest people interested in religious social activism. Yet the book may speak most powerfully to those who are on a spiritual quest themselves, either knowingly or unknowingly.
she should've stuck to being a social activist Aug 17, 2002
I was required to read this book for school this summer and it was by far the worst book I have read in my life. Its only a 280 page book, but her style of writing makes it seem as if it was about a thousand. She fills the book with useless information (i.e. she writes an in depth account of a cover of a book her brother brought home one day and then wonders what it was about. That was completely pointless and failed to advance the plot at all.) Instead of sticking to the core story, which might have been interesting she rambles off about random occurences constantly.