DOROTHY DAY, OBLATE
O God, may the Church recognize the holiness of Dorothy Day, Servant of God and Benedictine Oblate of St. Procopius Abbey, especially in her dedication to the liturgy, her desire for the justice of God’s Kingdom, and her devotion to the poor as persons in whom Christ is welcomed. Amen.
Servant of God Dorothy Day was a Benedictine Oblate of St. Procopius Abbey. Her cause of canonization is being promoted by the Archdiocese of New York.
In her diary she wrote of a visit to our abbey in 1940: "Monday, November 11, 1940. Fr. Luke from Lisle (Ill.) St. Procopius (Abbey) picked me up for meeting there. Bohemian Benedictines. Magnificent work. They certainly follow Christ in poverty, hard work. The nuns too put us to shame. I love most specially those little foreign sisters who work in kitchens and laundries, who wear away their youth and beauty for Christ, their spouse, and who are completely happy. I had wanted to stay at St. Procopius, especially in the storm which was raging. The monastery stands out on the plain on the prairie and the winds howled around it. The sisters did not have their storm windows up and even with all the heat on that 65-mile-an-hour gale made the place cold" (from The Duty of Delight: The Diaries of Dorothy Day, p. 66).
A footnote to this passage adds: "In 1955 Dorothy became a Benedictine Oblate of St. Procopius Abbey, Lisle, Illinois, and she often returned there for retreats."
In an essay on Dorothy Day as a Benedictine oblate, Rita McClain Tybor explains Day's choice to affiliate with St. Procopius Abbey (Benedict in the World [Collegeville, 2002], 61). While she knew various Benedictine monasteries, she was interested in the Church unity work that St. Procopius Abbey was doing at the time. That is, in the middle of the twentieth century, monasteries in different countries were asked by the Holy See to promote unity between Catholics and Orthodox; our abbey was asked to do so in the United States. Dorothy Day thus explained her interest in St. Procopius Abbey as follows: "My special love for St. Procopius is because its special function is to pray for the reunion of Rome and the Eastern Church. The monks can offer Mass in the Eastern or Roman rite and when Fr. Chrysostom [Tarasevitch] came to give us retreats at Maryfarm, we sang the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom" (cited in Benedict in the World, 61).
A copy of Dorothy Day's oblation can be seen in the image to the left. She made her oblation in Holy Innocents Parish Church in New York City. The location is explained by the fact that monks of St. Procopius would occasionally travel to New York City to offer retreats and days of recollection for oblates in the area.
St. Procopius Abbey, along with many other groups, has been asked to pray for Dorothy Day's cause of canonization. We have composed the prayer to the left for doing so after our Wednesday evening meal.