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So, what are you reading, Tommy Tighe?


Supplied | Public Domain

Elizabeth Scalia - published on 04/19/17

The gregarious Catholic Hipster's selection may surprise you.

Tommy Tighe (@theghissilent) is an energetic, friendly, gregarious, boisterous, (did we say gregarious?) fellow who might well be called a “community builder,” particularly on social media, where he seems to draw Catholics into his sphere to create quite a little Twitter party, unless someone is in trouble, and it all turns prayerful. He has a podcast called “The Chimney,” where he keeps people up-to-date on interesting trends on the Catholic ‘net, and is author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook: Rediscovering Cool Saints, Forgotten Prayers, and Other Weird but Sacred Stuff, which releases in a few months and features a foreword by Jeannie Gaffigan. Given that title, we didn’t know what to expect when we asked him, “So, what are you reading?”

He answered with a quote from Dorothy Day: “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

Community certainly speaks to him, and Tommy followed that up with what introduced him to Day. “When Pope Francis came to the US in the Fall of 2015, he spoke to Congress and mentioned four Americans who embodied what it meant to work for a better future: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day. Not knowing much about the only female to make the list, I decided to dig into this Servant of God’s life and see what she was all about.

“I had no idea at the time just what kind of impact this Catholic convert, who never left home without her Bible, her missal, the Divine Office, and jar of instant coffee would have on me.”

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He’s reading Day’s autobiography, The Long Loneliness, which tells the story of her life is the autobiography of Dorothy Day, telling the story of her life, from her nominally Protestant childhood to her adult atheism and political activism, and to her eventual conversion and founding of the Catholic Worker movement, with Peter Maurin, and Tommy says he was “sucked in, immediately.”

Calling her writing “easygoing and captivating” Tommy says, “Dorothy Day lived the Gospel message of Jesus in a way that transformed her life, the lives of countless others, and in a way that continues to inspire Catholics and non-Catholics alike 37 years after her death. She was a journalist, a mother, a Catholic convert who based her entire life on the Sermon of the Mount.”

Making mention of her early abortion, of which Day was deeply repentant, Tommy is taken by the energy Day displayed throughout her life as a social activist, “who hung around Communists and Anarchists, and a 75-year-old grandmother who was arrested and imprisoned alongside Cesar Chavez during the United Farmworkers strikes in California.”

The cause for Day’s sainthood has been opened, and so we now call her “Servant of God.” Her spirit is evident, says Tommy, in her most famous quip: “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

Tighe invites others to “join me in learning about this incredible woman and allow yourself to be inspired by her life and her enduring legacy through the Catholic Worker.”

Day’s humbling-unto-distress penchant for instant coffee aside, Tommy recommends a margarita while reading, “on the rocks, with salt. Nothing better to cure that Long Loneliness we all feel than a nice pitcher of margaritas!”

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