The movement to have Dorothy Day canonized started shortly after the centennial of her birthday, November 8, 1997, by John Cardinal O’Connor.
He began the necessary process of gathering testimonials of people who
were witness to her life of prayer and faithfulness.
According to Joseph
Zwilling, director of communications for the New York Archdiocese,
O’Connor formally requested that the Congregation for the Causes of
Saints in Rome consider canonization in 2000.
officially named Day a Servant of God and a guild to support her cause
was established in 2005.
Several steps remain before Day can be declared a saint, though. If
Day is found to have lived a life of “heroic virtue,” she will be named
Venerable. The most important is proving that she performed miracles.
“Canonization is the infallible declaration by the church that the
person in question is in heaven,” says Zwilling. Proof of one miracle
elevates a candidate to beatified or Blessed status. Proof of two
miracles elevates a candidate to canonization status.
How do you determine a miracle has occurred?
“A person will pray for
the intercession of an individual we believe to have interceded with God
and that is almost always some kind of miraculous healing,” Zwilling
says. “There’s a rigorous medical review to see if there is [any]
scientific or natural explanation for why so-and-so is healed. If a
person has prostate cancer and they undergo chemo and radiation, that
wouldn’t count because it’s scientific. If they have determined that a
tumor is inoperable and suddenly that situation reverses, that can be
considered to be a miracle.”