Some Lenten Levity, Courtesy Dorothy Day

In honor of Laetare Sunday (“Rejoice Sunday,” marking roughly our halfway mark through Lent), I thought I’d share a story with quasi-Lenten undertones (that’s a stretch) that made me laugh out loud.

It’s from a wonderful book put together by Rosalie G. Riegle entitled Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her.  The book is full of impressions, stories and memories about the real Dorothy Day from a wide survey of people who knew her in all sorts of capacities throughout her life.  

A little background on this particular story – apparently Dorothy was known for disliking contemporary music!  Rosalie narrates with the help of longtime Catholic Worker Brian Terrell:

“Often the young [Catholic] Workers would ‘have a hard time understanding the grumbling of their elder leader as an expression of love,’ as Brian Terrell says. ‘For all its craziness, the Worker is a family, and in families it often happens that the elders complain about…the younger generation.’ Brian tells a generational story about Dorothy coming upon some young people at work in Maryhouse and listening to the Carly Simon song ‘I Haven’t Got Time for the Pain.’ Dorothy shook her cane at them and said, ‘You’ve always got to have time for the pain.’”

Dorothy Day! When I'm old enough to shake my cane at people, may God grant me your panache!

 I doubt Dorothy ever shook her cane at these four whipper-snappers: Ralph DiGia, Dan Berrigan, Chris Kearns, and Tom Cornell. Photo courtesy of  Jim Forest’s online photo album .  Click on the picture to visit Jim’s “Dorothy Day” album.

I doubt Dorothy ever shook her cane at these four whipper-snappers: Ralph DiGia, Dan Berrigan, Chris Kearns, and Tom Cornell. Photo courtesy of Jim Forest’s online photo album.  Click on the picture to visit Jim’s “Dorothy Day” album.