The month of March is usually marked as Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8th of each year. With this in mind, I wanted to share some books authored by women that have ignited my faith, moved me to action, and helped form my identity in Christ.
The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus by Dorothy Day
Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was an American journalist, social activist, and convert to Catholicism. She is most well known for founding the Catholic Worker Movement — a grassroots community of houses of hospitality — and the Catholic Worker Newspaper. Her life was devoted to serving the poor and fighting for justice. Her life and her writings have inspired many to follow Jesus by serving those Christ called ‘the least of these’.
The premise of this book follows the question of ‘how to follow Jesus without burning out?’ Day offers wisdom and advice that she gained through her life of following Christ and seeking to live his teachings in her own life. She shares her thoughts and reflections about her relationship with God, and how it strengthened her ministry and calling to serving the poor in New York City.
I came across this book while I was a student at the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) School of Peace & Justice in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I was living with my wife Laura in an affordable housing unit, serving and learning from members of the community and people involved in ministry in the city. We were living in Winnipeg’s west end — a neighbourhood full of beauty and pain. Most notably, this was the neighbourhood where the murdered indigenous teenager Tina Fontaine spent her last days.
Day’s writings were fitting for this context. As I sought to live and serve among the poor, I found myself drained and exhausted. Each morning I would open this book to find a short but moving lesson Dorothy learned from her lifelong ministry of pursuing peace and justice in the name of Christ. I found myself captivated by Day’s determination to transform society, but also transform her heart through a personal relationship with Christ. As I was learning and serving in inner-city Winnipeg, I would reflect on quotes like, “Our loves must be a pure act of love, repeated many times” and “prayer is as necessary to life as breathing. It is food and drink.”
Dorothy Day has inspired me to take Christ’s teachings seriously, and to find ways to live them out each day. From her early days as a suffragette to her later days as peace advocate, her life was one that inspires men and women around the world to see Christ in the poor and to stand with them in solidarity.
We now live in Hamilton, Ontario. I work for the CRCNA and for 541 Eatery & Exchange and Laura works for Compassion Canada. Each day as we set out to serve the poor, we reflect on Dorothy’s quote “The mystery of the poor is this: that they are Jesus, and whatever you do them you do for him.”
May it be so.
You can purchase The Reckless Way of Love here.
What are some female authors that encourage and inspire you in your faith? Do you have any book suggestions for Women’s History Month?