Diocesan Inquiry on Dorothy Day’s Cause Is Initiated


With an edict published last month, the Diocesan Inquiry on the life, heroic virtues and reputation of holiness and of intercessory power of the Servant of God Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, was formally initiated.

The June 27 edict was signed by Cardinal Dolan and Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, chancellor of the archdiocese. Dr. Waldery Hilgeman, postulator of the cause in Rome, formally requested the diocesan inquiry be initiated June 21.

The edict says, “In informing our Ecclesial Community about this, we invite all the faithful to communicate to us directly or to send to the Tribunal of the Archdiocese of New York, any information, favorable or unfavorable, related to the reputation of the Servant of God.”

Dorothy Day, a laywoman, co-founded the Catholic Worker movement in 1933 and served as editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper for 47 years until her death in 1980 at age 83. A convert to Catholicism, she became a champion of social justice.

During an address to a joint session of Congress in September 2015, Pope Francis invoked Dorothy Day as one of four iconic U.S. citizens—the others were Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton—as relevant models of virtue for Americans today, citing her “tireless work” in striving “for justice and the cause of the oppressed.”

The edict, given from the archdiocesan Curia June 27, is “to remain visible for 30 days at the doors of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and that it is to be published on the archdiocesan website (www.archny.org).”

The cause of canonization was officially opened in 2000, at the request of Cardinal O’Connor, then Archbishop of New York, when the Vatican provided its nihil obstat, naming Dorothy Day “Servant of God.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops provided its formal endorsement to her cause of beatification and canonization in 2012.

Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R., the archdiocese’s judicial vicar, is the cause’s episcopal delegate, and Father Anthony Omenihu, J.C.D., is the promoter of justice.

The faithful have been invited to forward “any writing authored by the Servant of God (Dorothy Day) that has not been entrusted to the Postulation of the Cause,” the edict said.

Father Welch this week told CNY, “The cause is moving right along. This is a normal part of the process, an important part.”


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