Memorial, Newark, NJ
Place Category: Memorial & Statue
A life-size bronze statue of Dorothy Day resides in front of St. Marys Parish in Colts Neck, New Jersey. It was the retirement gift to the church from Reverend Fr. William J. Bausch in 1996. The New Jersey artist Brian P. Hanlon, the founder of Hanlon Sculpture Studio, sculpted it.
Dorothy Day (1897–1980) was a social reformer, an anarchist, a journalist and editor, a pacifist, and the co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement (still active today with more than 240 community centers). All her life, Day, advocated for justice and served the poor and homeless.
The statue is depicting Day sitting on a bench, leaning to her left side on a pack of books. Her left hand is holding a note while her right, a pen, she is gazing forward, wondering in her thoughts. The plaque to her right cites a review written by the mystic Catholic monk Thomas Merton to her book, Loaves, and Fishes:
“Every American Church should read Dorothy Day’s Loaves and Fishes because it exposes the comfortable myth that we have practically solved the “problem of poverty” in our affluent society. Poverty[…]is a greater problem than it ever was[…], but poverty, for Dorothy Day, is worse than a sociological problem. It is also a religious mystery, and that is what gives this book its extraordinary grace, and gentleness, and charm[…]This is a serious book about matters of life and death, not only for a few people, but for everybody.
Yet Dorothy Day never preaches, never pounds the table: she remarks quietly on the things she has seen, she points out their awful and well as their beautiful implications.
It is a great pity that there are not many more like Dorothy Day among the millions of American Catholics. There are never enough of such people, somehow, in the church. But without a few like her, one may well begin to wonder if we are still Christians. Her presence is in some ways a comfort, and in some ways a reproach. But I hope that those who read her book will be moved by it to serious thought and to some practical action: it is a credit to American Democracy and to American Catholicism.”
Address: St Mary's Church, 1 Phalanx Rd, Colts Neck, NJ 07722
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Photo credit - Jim Forest @ Flickr