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A Potential American Saint’s Big Day in Italy

RIMINI, Italy — Italy is home to more canonized saints than any other country. But this past Sunday, on one of the country’s biggest stages, it was the American potential saint-to-be Dorothy Day who was in the limelight — in what might be one of several possible indications that her cause for canonization is being viewed favorably in Rome.

The 20th-century socialist-turned-Catholic Worker founder and now Servant of God was the focal point of a mainstage presentation on the opening day of the Meeting for Friendship Amongst Peoples in Rimini, better known simply as “the Meeting.” The annual weeklong event, which is organized by the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation, typically attracts 80,000 in-person attendees (with hundreds of thousands more following the proceedings online). The Meeting is sponsored by some of Italy’s biggest companies, and regularly includes some of the most prominent names in Italian religious, political, and social life among its speakers.

The importance, therefore, of an entire Rimini presentation focused on the life of Day, a figure who was not previously well-known among Italians, was not lost on one of the invited speakers, Robert Ellsberg, the editor of Day’s collected writings and a major proponent of her cause.

“I think this meeting is an extremely significant milestone [toward her canonization], because the idea is that Dorothy Day is not just a saint for America,” said Ellsberg, who met Day as a young man involved with the Catholic Worker Movement in the 1970s.

Day, who died in 1980, was put on the path to sainthood recognition in February 2002, when New York’s Cardinal John O’Connor formally requested and then received approval from the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to consider her cause for canonization. A significant threshold was crossed in 2021, when evidence for her sanctity was sent to Rome from the Archdiocese of New York following a Mass presided at by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Ellsberg was joined during the hour-and-a-half long Sunday afternoon panel, entitled “Inexhaustible Friendships: Dorothy Day and Social Friendship,” by Simona Beretta, director of the social doctrine center at Sacra Cuore university in Rome, and Giulia Galeotti, a Vatican journalist and author of an Italian language book on Day. Francesco Magni, a professor of pedagogy at the University of Bergamo who has previously researched Day, moderated the conversation.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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