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January 27, 2020

Revolution of the Heart

Washington Premiere of a Major Film on Dorothy Day

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Dorothy Day’s compelling faith, call to nonviolence, and care for the poor offer crucial lessons in these difficult days. Her fascinating story, complicated choices, and challenging witness are brought to life in the powerful new film Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story by Martin Doblmeier and Journey Films.

Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life was honored to host the Washington premiere of this powerful documentary before it is broadcast in March 2020 on public television. Filmmaker Martin Doblmeier introduced Revolution of the Heart. Following the 60-minute film, Day’s granddaughter; the editor of her diaries; and a leader in her cause for sainthood reflected on the continuing relevance of Dorothy’s life, faith, and witness.


Martha Hennessy is Dorothy Day’s granddaughter who carries on Dorothy’s work as an activist, protesting war, nuclear weapons, the use of drones, and torture. She is awaiting sentencing for her participation in a Plowshares action at a naval base in Georgia. She has traveled to Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, and Russia. In the film, she speaks about her grandmother’s love of both her family and those who are poor.

Robert Ellsberg is the editor-in-chief and publisher of Orbis Books. He is also the editor of the published diaries and letters of Dorothy Day. He left Harvard University in 1975 to join the Catholic Worker. In the film, he discusses his time as editor of the Catholic Worker and his work with Dorothy Day in the last five years of her life.

Carolyn Zablotny is the editor of the Dorothy Day Guild's newsletter, In Our Time, and the content editor for the Guild’s website. She will address the process and progress of efforts to have Dorothy Day declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Martin Doblmeier is the president and founder of Journey Films and has produced and directed award-winning films on Jean Vanier, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Howard Thurman, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. He will introduce the film and join the panel in responding to questions.

John Carr, who is the director of the Initiative and who discusses Day’s impact on Catholic social teaching in the film, moderated the conversation.

After the film and discussion, there was a reception with time for people to share with others Dorothy Day’s continuing legacy and how her example has shaped their lives.