December 11, 2012

Regarding Michael Gerson’s Dec. 9 op-ed column, “Dorothy Day: the saintly revolutionary”:

Mr. Gerson’s recounting of Day’s checkered past and subsequent conversion (a radical change in mind and heart that allowed her to see things differently) rightly called our attention to “grace,” that mysterious gift that opened a future for her that did not seem possible.

To what Mr. Gerson said about Day and her message for all of us in such a divided country, I would add this: I believe she thought that everyone should have a place at the table. No one should experience exclusion and exile. That was what her “Houses of Hospitality” were about.  

Day can rightly be called an authentic conservative, in my opinion, because in so many ways she conserved what is best in the Christian tradition — the tradition established by Jesus Christ when he broke bread and enjoyed table fellowship with the outcasts and those made to feel unwelcome by many of the pious of his day.

Robert Stewart, Chantilly

Michael Gerson suggested that what held Dorothy Day’s seemingly eclectic beliefs together was “localism.” Rather it was “personalism,” which was central to all her commitments and actions.

Inspired by social activist Peter Maurin, she advocated for the importance of the person, one who was to be not used but loved. This prompted her simultaneous rejection of individualistic capitalism and collectivism and was the grounding of her pacifism and her critique of excessive governmental power.

Dana Greene, Alexandria