Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Dorothy Day *


O you who are love and who sees all the suffering, injustice and misery which reign in this world, have pity, we implore you, on the work of your hands. Look mercifully upon the poor, the oppressed and all who are heavy laden with error, labour and sorrow. Fill our hearts with deep compassion for those who suffer, and hasten the coming of your kingdom of justice and truth. Amen.

( Eugene Bresier )


Eternal Power, whose high abode
becomes the grandeur of a God:
infinite lengths beyond the bounds
where stars revolve their little rounds:

Thee while the first archangel sings,
he hides his face behind his wings:
and ranks of shining thrones around
fall worshipping, and spread the ground.

Lord, what shall earth and ashes do?
We would adore our maker too;
from sin and dust to thee we cry,
the great, the holy and the high.

Earth, from afar, hath heard thy fame,
and worms have learned to lisp thy name;
but oh the glories of thy mind
leave all our soaring thoughts behind.

God is in heaven, and men below:
be short our tunes; our words be few:
a solemn reverence checks our songs,
and praise sits silent on our tongues.

( Isaac Watts )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Dorothy Day: demanding justice, practicing mercy

Today Saint Laika’s remembers Dorothy Day, a Roman Catholic radical, social activist and founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, who died on this day in 1980.

Dorothy was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1897, third in a family of five children. Her father was a sports writer. He moved the family to San Francisco when Dorothy was six, where he had landed a job with a newspaper. Her father lost his job when his newspaper’s plant was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Dorothy remembered how she and her mother would help the homeless victims of the earthquake. Up to this time she had no real interest in religion.

The family moved to Chicago and there she became interested in Christianity. Her family joined an Episcopal church. She was baptised and confirmed there. She loved the liturgies of the Church and began to read the "Bible." She became radicalised during her time at the University of Illinois. She joined the Socialist Party and renounced “organised religion” for its failure to take care of the poor. She moved to New York City and got her first journalism job working for a socialist paper where she came into contact with all kinds of socialist, communists and union organisers, During these days of social activism she lived a bohemian lifestyle that she later described as dissolute and wasted.

The turning point in her life came in 1932 when she met Peter Maurin, a French activist with a deeply held religious faith. He exposed Dorothy to Roman Catholicism and showed her how the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church were strongly supportive of working people. This was in the midst of the Great Depression when America’s economic life was in a state of chaos.

The Communist Party had produced a daily newspaper called “The Daily Worker,” which promoted, among other things, atheism. On the first of May, 1933, Day and Maurin began to publish “The Catholic Worker.” This was the birth of the Catholic Worker Movement which continues to this day. Catholic Worker Houses, which today number over two hundred, all over the world, combine political action on behalf of workers and the working poor, with ministries of mercy such as feeding, clothing, and sheltering the poor and homeless. As Dorothy’s Roman Catholic faith deepened, she could as easily be found on a picket line as in a church for daily Mass. She was an ardent pacifist and in her later years was active in the Peace Movement.

The Roman Catholic Church opened the cause for her canonisation in 2012.

Scripture. In the fifth chapter of "The Letter of James," verses four to six, we read.

Listen! The wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts on a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who does not resist you.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for the working people of the world, in particular those who are exploited by their employers; for those who campaign for workers' rights.

... for the Palestinian people. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From "Loaves and Fishes" by Dorothy Day:

But daily, hourly, to give up our own possessions, and especially to subordinate our own impulses and wishes to others, these are hard, hard things; and I don't think they ever get any easier.

You can strip yourself, you can be stripped, but still you will reach out like an octopus to seek your own comfort, your untroubled time, your ease, your refreshment. It may mean books or music, the gratification of the inner senses, or it may mean food and drink, coffee and cigarettes. The one kind of giving up is no easier than the other.


The act and spirit of giving are the best counter to the evil forces in the world today, and giving liberates the individual not only spiritually but materially. For, in a world enslaved through instalment buying and mortgages, the only way to live in any true security is to live so close to the bottom that when you fall you do not have far to drop, you do not have much to lose.

And in a world of hates and fears, we can look to Peter Maurin's words for the liberation that love brings: "Voluntary poverty is the answer. We cannot see our brother in need without stripping ourselves. It is the only way we have of showing our love."


Almighty God, look with mercy upon the multitudes of our day who bear the indignities of injustice everywhere. Raise up leaders in our own day, as you raised up Dorothy Day, to work for justice and to teach us all to hunger and thirst for it; through Jesus Christ, our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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