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Writings by Dorothy Day on Peter Maurin

Dorothy Day on Peter Maurin

A collection of Dorothy Day's writings about Peter Maurin including biographical sketches, summaries of his principal ideas, and snippets of his wisdom.

The following articles are published in the Dorothy Day section. Use your browser back button to return to this page.
1. "Peter Maurin 1877-1977"   DOC #256

Summary: Recounts her first meeting with Peter Maurin in 1932, his teaching style, his personal example, and his platform for the Catholic Worker: "Roundtable Discussions, Houses of Hospitality and Farming Communes--those were the three planks in Peter Maurin's platform."

2. "The Story of Three Deaths - Peter Maurin, Lawrence Heaney, Willie Lurye"   DOC #495

Summary: A loving obituary for Peter Maurin giving the details of his death and burial. Speaks of his last five years of illness, the day he died, his wake and funeral. Emphasizes the ways "He was another St. Francis of modern times."

3. "Peter The Materialist"   DOC #152

Summary: Another chapter from her unpublished biography of P. Maurin. Describes St. Francis as the great personalist and goes on to explicate a philosophy of work. Sees it as a gift, a vocation that one should find what he/she does best and develop it. Encourages scholars to become workers and workers to become scholars in order that more understanding exit between the two. Defends Peter from the criticism of being a materialist and portrays him as an apostle to the world, not of the world.

4. "Peter's Program"   DOC #176

Summary: Outlines P. Maurin's program for social reordering. Calls for a Green Revolution, a return to the villages. Finds his whole message embodied in personalism, which begins with oneself. Blames the C.W.'s problems in its lack of ability to limit itself.

5. "Letter To Our Readers at the Beginning of Our Fifteenth Year"   DOC #155

Summary: Outlines P. Maurin's program for social action as the instituting of Houses of Hospitality, Clarification of Thought and Farming Communes, and explains where the C.W. has gone with each program. Reveals Maurin's sources of thought and the need to find lay apostolates. Traces personal sacrifices to Jesus' command in the gospels and asserts that the state cannot take over this duty.

6. "Background for Peter Maurin"   DOC #151

Summary: A chapter from her unpublished book "Peter Maurin." Comments on P. Maurin's thoughts on capitalism and socialism and the idea that Papal Encyclicals try to make an "acquisitive society functional."

7. "Day After Day"   DOC #148

Summary: Discusses the two major subjects of her speaking engagements, Peter Maurin, whom she describes as founder and mind of the C.W., and personalism, which she describes as communitarian, and the philosophy of both P. Maurin and the C.W.. Describes some of the difficulties in living the CW vocation and running farming communes. Recommends reading the Desert Fathers and Aldous Huxley's Grey Eminence to understand personalism and communitarianism.

8. "Peter Maurin, Personalist"   DOC #914

Summary: Tells a story of Peter Maurin’s work at the Easton farm and goes on to summarize his principal teachings. Peter was a deeply religious man, a reader and constant student, who recommended books, especially the lives of the saints. He valued physical labor and wanted farming cooperatives, “clarification of thought”, and houses of hospitality. His faith was invincible, he exhorted a philosophy of poverty and the study of man’s freedom.

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