May 1, 2012 by Jason Brown
As I walked into the newly renovated St. Joseph the Worker Church not far from where I live in West Jordan, Utah my eye immediately caught the familiar font of the Catholic Worker newspaper. On this international day of the Worker a small group of Catholics and labor union members gathered to dedicate a new mural dedicated to the legacy of Dorothy Day. We sat during speeches and stood to sing familiar hymns a liturgy to the worker. The final speaker was the silver-gray haired Martha Hennessy, the 7th grandchild of Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day. Hennessy recently finished a seven day fast focused on Day’s canonization as a saint. Hennessy read from Utah legend Ammon Hennessy (no relation) and called Dorothy a mystic who felt called to care for the poor. For Day the Sermon on the Mount was a manifesto of the poor Christ, whose face she saw in the poor all around us. Day balked at ecclesiastical authority that saw her movement as too radical, and outside of orthodox Catholic practice. In her autobiography The Long Loneliness she claimed that work is worship but that capitalism is a form of slavery. Work rather should be a form of cooperation with the Creator and Redeemer. Anarchism, the oft maligned political philosophy for Day was simply embracing personal responsibility. Day spent her life serving the poor through her Catholic Worker Houses several of which are still doing this work. Hennessy, Day’s granddaughter, spoke eloquently and softly about following in her Grandmother’s footsteps; the Mary House where Hennessy works, houses 25 homeless people and volunteers.