MANHATTAN, New York (WABC) -- A movement is growing in the Catholic Church to transform the late Dorothy Day, into a saint.
Steeped in ceremony and tradition and held Wednesday in the gothic splendor of St. Patrick's Cathedral, a local girl, a one-time atheist, a bohemian, moved just a bit closer to sainthood.
"She prayed that God's providential plan for her would be unveiled to her and would include devoting her life to the love of Jesus, this church and the poor," Cardinal Timothy Dolan said.
She is, to be fair, an unlikely candidate for sainthood, if her early life told the tail of Dorothy Day's entire life.
In the 1920's, she was a radical anarchist and atheist. Abbie Hoffman called her the first hippy.
She converted to Catholicism when she was 30 years old and spent the rest of her long life living out her faith.
"She really took the gospel seriously, she said 'this is where I feel like Jesus is calling me and I am going to throw my whole self into it,' and she did at like great personal cost to herself and in a way that I feel like it really speaks to people today," Catholic journalist Colleen Dulle said.
The ceremony Wednesday sends the defense for Day's canonization, which sits in cardboard boxes, to the Vatican where another committee of Catholic scholars will examine her life in detail and determine if she is worthy of being one of the 10,000 or so people elevated to sainthood.
It may not be an easy road. Before she converted, her early life included an abortion, which the church considers a grievous sin.
"I think if we're really honest about Dorothy's abortion and her experience, what it gives us is a different understanding of sainthood I think, which is that saints are not perfect people, saints are regular people, and with Dorothy I think that is so evident because she was so recent," Dulle said.
But Cardinal Timothy Dolan believes her later works of giving and service after her conversion tell the true story of her faith.
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