Find Your Own Calcutta

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The most important part of my life began nearly a hundred years ago, in a city I have never visited, with a woman I have never met.

Picture 1920s New York City: the prime era of renewal, jazz, and the beginning of the 20th century feminist movement. Amidst a spirited protest, Dorothy Day, a woman skipping along the cusp of the societal frontier, is marching in the street with her "Votes for Women" picket sign and probably standing nose to nose with a gruff policeman. Day cut her hair short, smoked and drank, and made a living off of her impassioned news articles and nude photo shoots. Her adventurous lifestyle resulted in an unintended pregnancy, and after her boyfriend abandoned her on the steps of an illegal abortion clinic, she decided to convert to Catholicism and reform herself.

Day still felt a calling to the life of political activism and especially to the defense of impoverished populations. So in 1933, Day officially founded the Catholic Worker Movement. The CW Movement is radically different from a charity: instead of funneling donations from the fortunate and distributing them to the disadvantaged, Catholic Workers give up their worldly possessions to live in communion with the poor in order to truly serve them. They...

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