Staten Island Ferry Named for Dorothy Day Sets Sail

Tags: Currents Crux, Faith, Inspiration

By Jessica Easthope

What Martha Hennessey thinks her grandmother would like most about Staten Island’s newest ferry is, it’s free.

“I’m glad that it’s free because the working class does need all the help it can get commuting to work.”

After all, her grandmother, Dorothy Day, spent most of her life working with and advocating for the working class, poor and marginalized.

“She believed in the God-given dignity of us all and she saw Christ in the least among us and because of that work God willing Dorothy Day will someday be Saint Dorothy Day,” said New York City Department of Transportation’s Staten Island borough commissioner Roseann Caruana.

Dorothy Day is considered one of the most influential lay people in the history of American Catholicism. She was a journalist and radical convert who helped establish the Catholic Worker Movement during the height of the Great Depression. She spent years of her life on Staten Island and loved the nature that surrounded it, she said it’s where her conversion took place.

“She was very strongly moved by being close to nature, it brought her closer to God as well and so Staten Island does represent a beautiful part of her life,” said Hennessey.

“I think she would be proud that this is a free ferry and workers commute on it every day, she commuted on it and loved the beauty of the surroundings of Staten Island and it really helped her conversion to Catholicism,” said Catholic Worker Deborah Sucich.

And now the ferry bearing her name will transport thousands of working people a day from Staten Island to Manhattan. Many say the hope now is the ferry will bring day one step closer to canonization.

“I suppose every little bit helps to garner the name recognition,” Hennessey said.

“I really do think her name will be more spoken and people will look up who she is and be inspired by the radicalness of her devotion to the poor and to her faith,” said Sucich.

The Dorothy Day ferry will make its first official trip to Manhattan before the end of 2022.