Dorothy Day and Francis Cardinal Spellman often clashed. She was a pacifist; he wasn’t. She was frequently critical of the actions of large organizations; he ran the Archdiocese of New York. But here’s a great story that Jim Forest, Day’s friend and biographer, tells about her:
She told me once that Spellman had priests who didn’t like to receive calls to go down to the Bowery to administer last rites. He told the person answering the phone, â€˜If any of those calls come through give them to me personally.’ Dorothy knew things like that about people, and she would tell them to show their good side. She was quite different than most of us. If we decide we don’t like somebody, we make it a kind of hobby to collect reasons to not to like that person. We develop quite a number of reasons to justify our irritation. Dorothy had a lot of reasons to dislike Cardinal Spellman, but it was more her hobby to find out things to admire about him.
It’s a habit to emulate. The story is from this fine piece about her.