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Dorothy Day and Carmel

A famous figure in America, the Catholic social activist and writer Dorothy Day (1897-1980) is perhaps not so well known in the UK. One thing that fascinates me about her is that she had a great devotion both to Teresa of Avila and to Therese of Lisieux. Like St Teresa of Calcutta, she devoted much of her life to the active service of the poor, and she identified with Teresa of Avila as a strong and persevering woman who combined the contemplative and the active vocations; for the last twenty years of Teresa's life involved her in immense labour as she went about her work of founding convents. Dorothy found she was increasingly attracted to Therese of Lisieux (about whom she wrote a book) in later life, in part because of the emphasis of the Saint of Lisieux on the crucial value in our lives of doing small things with love. This was also a principle important to St Teresa of Calcutta. I find it so helpful myself in going about the multitude of small actions that comprise my life.

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