Dorothy Day – A Discipleship for Today was keynoted by Martha Hennessy, granddaughter of Dorothy Day, Servant of God and Co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. The 11th annual SD Pax Christi Conference was held in Watertown, South Dakota Saturday, October 24. Approximately 100 people attended the conference including those from many cities in South Dakota and others from Fargo, North Dakota and Duluth and Rochester, Minnesota. View more photos of the 2015 conference HERE
Dorothy Day was an activist who worked for social causes such as pacifism and women’s suffrage through the prism of the Catholic Church. Along with Peter Maurin, Dorothy opened the first Catholic Worker house in New York’s bowery neighborhood in 1933 offering free bread and conversation to anyone who stopped by. The group and its paper, both called The Catholic Worker, set forth a radical Christian vision of a world made more humane through active love, sacrifice, personal freedom, pacifism and resistance to the dehumanizing features of capitalism and nationalism. The movement she created continues to thrive today with roughly 200 communities across the United States and more than 20 communities abroad. As Pope Francis addressed Congress he said, “I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God, Dorothy Day. Her social activism, her passion for justice and cause of the oppressed were inspired by the Gospel, her faith and the example of the saints.”
The story of Dorothy is becoming known around the world. She helped the church recover the forgotten peace message of Jesus. She confronted war and violence in all its forms, not just in word, but in prophetic actions. In the purity of her vision and through her courageous witness, she continued to walk ahead and beckoned the church to follow. Over the years, Dorothy Day’s life story has been the subject of countless books and films. Many people have proposed that Dorothy be named a saint for her social activism and commitment to her faith.
In addition to the inspirational and challenging presentations by Martha Hennessy, the late Father Leonard Kayser, a faithful member of Pax Christi, was honored. Other highlights were a presentation by Beth Preheim and local founders of Yankton South Dakota Emmaus House and Michele Obed of Hildegard House, Duluth, Minnesota. Deacon Denny Davis provided an update on Alternatives to South Dakota Death Penalty.
The Aberdeen Presentation Sisters, the Watertown Benedictine Sisters and local Pax Christi chapters sponsor the conference. Pax Christi USA, a section of Pax Christi International, is active in more than 30 countries and promotes the gospel imperative of peacemaking through prayer, education and action. Members act from a belief they can help create a world that better reflects the peace of Christ and respond to the gospel call for nonviolence. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; call 605-229-8317 or visit www.presentationsisters.org or www.watertownbenedictines.org.