Day's social activism is also described in her autobiography. In 1917 she was imprisoned as a member of suffragist Alice Paul's nonviolent Silent Sentinels. In the 1930s, Day worked closely with fellow activist Peter Maurin to establish the Catholic Worker Movement, a pacifist movement that combines direct aid for the poor and homeless with nonviolent direct action on their behalf. She practiced civil disobedience, which led to additional arrests in 1955, 1957, and in 1973 at the age of seventy-five.
Day was also an active journalist, and described her social activism in her writings. As part of the Catholic Worker Movement, Day co-founded the Catholic Worker newspaper in 1933, and served as its editor from 1933 until her death in 1980. In this newspaper, Day advocated the Catholic economic theory of distributism, which she considered a third way between capitalism and socialism. Her activism and writing gave her a national reputation as a political radical, perhaps the most famous radical in American Catholic Church history.
Dorothy Day's life is an inspiration for the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI used her conversion story as an example of how to "journey towards faith... in a secularized environment." Pope Francis included her in a short list of exemplary Americans, together with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Thomas Merton, in his address before the United States Congress. The Church has opened the cause for Day's possible canonization, which was accepted by the Holy See for investigation. Due to this, the Church refers to her with the title of Servant of God.