Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Actress Brings Life Of Dorothy Day To Local Churches

By PRISCILLA GREEAR, Staff Writer | Published January 27, 2005

The Open Door Community of Atlanta and the Seamless Garment Catholic Worker of Marietta invite the public to a performance of “Fool for Christ: A Story of Dorothy Day.”

Actress Sarah Melici stars in this one-woman dramatization portraying the life of the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement. The performance begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church, 118 Second Ave., Decatur.

In addition, Melici will speak on the life of Dorothy Day on Sunday, Feb. 13, at 1:30 p.m. to Pax Christi Transfiguration, at Transfiguration Church, 1815 Blackwell Road, Marietta.

Melici says of her portrayal of Dorothy Day, “I want people to know Dorothy Day, the writer, the lover, the mother, the teacher, the friend.”

“After much research on the life of Dorothy Day, I felt the need to share her vision of active nonviolence and peace, as well as her work to promote social, economic and political justice,” Melici said. “Dramatization is a fitting way for me to share Dorothy Day—thus, ‘Fool for Christ.’”

Melici is a New Jersey-based actress who has performed on stage, in films and on TV. She has performed in Vaclav Havel’s “Temptation” at the New York Shakespeare Festival, toured in “Driving Miss Daisy” and has numerous credits at regional theatres. TV credits include “Law and Order,” the CBS mini-series, “The Golden Years” and the pilot “News at Twelve.” She appeared in Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories.” Since 1998 she has chosen to perform exclusively in “Fool for Christ.”

“Many people have told me that seeing ‘Fool for Christ’ has been a life-changing experience for them. It has been for me. Learning about and getting close to Dorothy Day—her enormous capacity for unconditional love, her devotion to and trust in God, her compassion for the worker, the poor and the homeless, the sick, the prisoner, her commitment to nonviolence and carrying out the works of mercy, are important lessons for me and the audience,” the actress wrote on the Web site for the production.

Day was born in 1897 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Because of her father’s job as a journalist, the family moved many times, eventually settling in Chicago. She studied for two years at the University of Illinois before moving to New York City to pursue a career in journalism. Day purchased a beach cottage on Staten Island with the proceeds from a novel she wrote, and lived there with her common-law husband Forster Batterham with whom she had a child. Batterham could not accept Day’s desire to become Catholic and the relationship ended. After her conversion to Catholicism, she devoted the rest of her life to helping the poor and homeless, and worked steadfastly for peace and social justice for all.

She started the Catholic Worker newspaper out of which she and Peter Maurin started the Catholic Worker Movement for peace and social justice in 1933.Day challenged society with her views on pacifism and evangelical poverty. The newspaper is still published out of New York eight times a year. The lay apostolate has Houses of Hospitality in over 60 U.S. cities and several communal farms in various parts of the country, promoting the practice of the works of mercy, nonviolence and voluntary poverty. The cause for canonization of Dorothy Day has been started by the Archdiocese of New York.

The Open Door Community in Atlanta, which welcomes the poor as guests and provides various means of social support, draws inspiration from the movement, and the Seamless Garment Catholic Worker in Marietta is based on its principles. Seamless Garment provides a safe place for pregnant women to prepare for the birth of their babies, and supports life and opposes violence in all its forms. It also holds prayer vigils at the Cobb County Court House in Marietta on nights when the state of Georgia executes prisoners.

A donation of $10 for adults and $5 for students is suggested for the play. For more information or directions to either event, call Tim at (770) 420-2246.