Kate Hennessy, the youngest of Dorothy Day’s nine grandchildren, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at Gorecki Center 204 AB, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph. She is the author of “Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty: An Intimate Portrait of My Grandmother.”
The event is free and open to the public. Hennessy will sign books, which will be available for purchase.
Hennessy has collaborated with the photographer Vivian Cherry on “Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: The Miracle of Our Continuance.” She has worked around the world, including an international summer camp in the former USSR, as an ESL teacher in Guatemala and to Tibetan refugees in India.
She responded by email to the following questions from The Visitor.
Q: What is the topic you’ll be speaking on at the College of St. Benedict?
A: I will be talking about my book, reading from it and opening it up to discussion with the audience, which for me is the most rewarding element. My grandmother invites reflection and examination on many levels, and it is an honor to be able to facilitate this. [The book is] a biography of my grandmother’s extraordinary life and of the relationship and deep love between her and her daughter, Tamar (my mother).
Q: Would you expand on the meaning of the title “The World Will Be Saved By Beauty”?
A: The title is a quote from Dostoyevski that my grandmother loved. Exploring the title is one of the most interesting aspects for me in giving these readings. I believe it has much to say to us in these times, providing us with a different direction with which to see the world around us, and a way to invite real change.
Q: What are the most challenging issues the United States faces today? What implications does your book have for addressing those issues?
A: Ah, well, there are so many, it is hard to choose. And this may be one of the greatest challenges for us, not to be dismayed, fearful and deterred from trying to do something to help make a world, as my grandmother would say, where it is easier to be good. Every challenge we are facing today, my grandmother faced in some form during her life. I hope that her story will give us hope.
Q: What is the legacy for the Catholic Worker in the world today, which is a very different world from the one lived by Dorothy Day?
A: I’m not so sure it is that different. We still have homelessness, we still have injustice, and we still are desperate for peace. The Catholic Worker today reminds us that we still need to provide this witness, no matter how much failure we face.