She was an American journalist, social activist, and devout Catholic convert. She advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that continues to combine direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. She served as editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper from 1933 until her death in 1980.
She settled on the Lower East Side and worked on the staff of several Socialist publications, including The Liberator, The Masses, and The Call. She “smilingly explained to impatient socialists that she was ‘a pacifist even in the class war.”
The Catholic Church has opened the cause for Day’s canonization and therefore refers to her with the title Servant of God.
In 1971, Day was awarded the Pacem in Terris Award of the Interracial Council of the Catholic Diocese of Davenport, Iowa. The University of Notre Dame awarded her its Laetare Medal in 1972.
Despite suffering from poor health, Day visited India, where she met Mother Teresa and saw her work. In 1971, Day visited Poland, the Soviet Union, Hungary, and Romania as part of a group of peace activists,with the financial support of Corliss Lamont, whom she described as a “‘pinko’ millionaire who lived modestly and helped the Communist Party USA.” She met with three members of the Writers’ Union and defended Alexander Solzhenitsyn against charges that he had betrayed his country.