During the time of the Great Depression, the Catholic Worker movement was founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Dorothy Day was the woman who provided the means for the foundation of the Catholic Worker movement alongside Peter Maurin, who provided the ideas and beliefs of personalism for the Catholic Worker movement. Its foundation was in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every person. Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin influenced American Catholicism during the 1930's through the establishment of the Catholic Worker movement under the ideas of personalism. .
Dorothy Day was one of the most influential persons of her time. Born on November 8, 1987, in New York City. She was the third of five children in the Day family born to Grace and John Day, who worked as journalists. Their family moved to Chicago, and that is when in her early life, Dorothy became a writer, editor, and socialist focusing on pacifism and women's suffrage. During her college years, Dorothy attended the University of Illinois, but never completed her schooling. She returned to New York City to pursue journalism, writing for several socialist and progressive publications during the 1910s and 1920s. As a journalist and activist, Dorothy was arrested several times for her involvement in protests. She even subjected herself to a hunger strike after being jailed for protesting in front of the White House in 1917 as part of an effort to get women the right to vote. (All Is Grace, 2011). By all means Dorothy Day was no saint in her younger years. Being involved with fellow writer Lionel Moise she became pregnant out of wedlock and had an abortion. Another prominent relationship in Dorothy's life was with Forest Batterham, a biologist and anarchist whom she had her first and only child with whom they named Tamar. It was through the baptism of her daughter Tamar that Dorothy's spiritual path had changed and prompted her to be baptized that same year and convert to the Catholic faith, in 1927.