When Dorothy Day began establishing hospitality houses as a branch of the Catholic Worker movement, many of the movement's supporters took care of the houses and lived in them along with the regular borders. Many of the hospitality houses were established in desolate and often dangerous neighborhoods because that was where they were most needed, which made it difficult for all of those who wanted to help to lead stable and safe lives. Problems quickly arose when families began to run hospitality houses. Many people debated whether or not families with children should be allowed to run hospitality houses and participate in the more radical aspects of the Catholic Worker movement.
[...] In his article Most Particular Vision,” which addresses Day's attitudes towards family participation in the Catholic Worker movement, Dan McKanan provides the example of Lou and Justin Murphy, a couple who raised children while maintaining two houses of hospitality in Detroit.” Day was said to have had the greatest respect for the couple, citing their diligence and their ability to keep up family values and foster a close community. This shows that even though Day did think it generally unwise for Workers to raise families within hospitality houses, she supported those who took on the challenge and prospered. [...]
[...] She did what she thought was best for her child, and by going through the process of trial and error as Tamar grew up, she provided a path for others to take when attempting to raise children within the Catholic worker movement, something that was not an easy task, with parents split between duty toward the movement and toward their families. In an interview in The National Catholic Reporter¸ Tamar Hennessey acknowledged that it was often challenging to grow up within the Catholic Worker movement, but in the end it was a positive experience. [...]
[...] Dorothy Day did not discourage families from participating in the Catholic Worker movement; she simply sought to involve them in ways that were safe and conducive to family life, all while dealing with the issues surrounding family involvement and paving the way for families who wanted to get involved in the future. Dorothy Day encouraged community building within many of the Catholic Worker activities she headed throughout her life. She believed that through strong community, people could overcome many of the hardships they faced in their lives as well as be stronger in their faith. [...]
[...] She also established an example of how to raise a child within the movement through her own experiences with her daughter Tamar, and Tamar's growth from a Catholic Worker child to a successful adult provided encouragement for others who wished to raise their children within the movement. Though it may on some occasions seemed like Day did not want families involved with the movement, she was trying to resolve the issues facing them and find the best way for them to be committed both to the Catholic Workers and to the family itself. [...]
[...] Day encouraged families to read The Catholic Worker and share it with others. She sought to involve families in the ideals of the movement even if they were not directly participating in Worker projects. Day was not opposed to the idea of family involvement in the movement, but she wanted it to be in ways that were appropriate for each family's situation. Some controversy arose concerning Day's support of families within the Catholic Workers during World War II. After America became involved in the war, some of those involved in the Catholic Worker movement went against the group's typical anti-war ideals and instead supported the war. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee