Manhattan College Dedicates the Dorothy Day Center

His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan Will Give the Blessing

Manhattan College will officially dedicate the Dorothy Day Center for the Study and Promotion of Social Catholicism during a ceremony on February 22. The Center includes an exhibit on the life and legacy of Servant of God, Dorothy Day, with artifacts from her life of activism and organizing. dorothy-day-center.jpg

The ceremony will feature a prayer and blessing by His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, a reading from Day’s writings by her granddaughter, Martha Hennessy, as well as an intercession by Manhattan College student Rebecca Kranich ’24, and hymns performed by Manhattan College Music Ministry.

A reception and conversation entitled, A Saint for Our Time: A Roundtable Discussion on the Legacy of Dorothy Day, will follow. Moderated by Kevin Ahern, Ph.D., director of the new Dorothy Day Center, co-chair of the Dorothy Day Guild and professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, the panelists include: Mark Colville ’85, founder of the Amistad Catholic Worker community in New Haven, Connecticut; Thomas Dobbins ’86, director of justice and peace at Catholic Charities New York; Alannah Boyle ’18, former intern for the Dorothy Day Guild; and Rebecca Kranich ’24, former intern for the Dorothy Day Guild.

“Since the 1940s, Dorothy Day has inspired students and faculty at Manhattan College to get involved in working for justice and peace in the world,” Ahern says. “We hope that this center will continue to introduce students to Day’s life and inspire them to get involved in transforming our world.” 

Located in the Kelly Commons, the new center houses a collection of historical materials and archives related to Day, including some of her personal artifacts, which were donated by Hennessy. There are also historic photographs of Day, an interactive timeline on her life and spirituality, and resources to help students get involved in promoting peace and justice. The center will serve as a resource for the campus, the local community, and the worldwide Lasallian network on topics related to Day and the wider Catholic social justice tradition. 

It will also house and support the offices of the Dorothy Day Guild, the official organization charged with promoting her cause for sainthood with the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints. The Vatican is considering Day for sainthood. 

Day, who was known as the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, lived her faith with a commitment to economic justice, pacifism and nuclear disarmament, and had several connections to Manhattan College. Day received the 1974 De La Salle Medal from then-College president, Brother Gregory Nugent, FSC, and had visited the campus on numerous occasions. Since 2015, Manhattan College has hosted an annual Dorothy Day Lecture delivered by prominent religious scholars and historians.

The new Dorothy Day Center will continue to carry her message of peace, hope and love.

By Kristen Cuppek