The pivotal moment in Ron Hansen's Exiles comes almost exactly midway through the 225-page book.
A fellow Jesuit seminarian scans a poem that Gerard Manley Hopkins is writing about the 1875 shipwreck of the German passenger ship the Deutschland and expresses befuddlement at its odd rhymes and rhythms. Yes, Hopkins says, those are so odd that poetry magazines will never publish the work.
A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life
What happens when a young person in a secular age feels God calling him to a decidedly countercultural way of life? The minutiae of such journeys have formed many a memoir. In A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life, writer Andrew Krivak looks back on eight years in the Society of Jesus with fondness, wonder, and occasional misgivings, but most of all with refreshing self-awareness and candor.
In a land where brains and hard work are supposed to produce success and happiness, there are a lot of smart, miserable failures. Noam Murro's dark but heartfelt comedy about a widowed and depressed literature professor and his dysfunctional brood takes a long, loving look at a clan of bright but clueless souls who keep stomping on one another's toes in their quest for love.
The Great Awakening
Kathy Mattea has always been an odd country music star. She's an environmental activist in a genre that often glorifies gas-guzzling trucks. She's a classically trained singer with folk leanings in a business now dominated by simplistic pop-rock. And she's a Catholic in a world in which most of the artists, and their audiences, are evangelical Protestants.
Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life
Did you know there used to be eight deadly sins? In the era of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, monks called them "bad thoughts" and included acedia (ah-SEE-dia), later subsumed into "sloth," which eventually emphasized physical, rather than spiritual laziness. Acedia has been defined as absence of care, soul weariness, melancholy, ennui, or despair.
The Dean's list
Have you read a good book lately? A quarter century ago a dean at Boston College started serving up 27 ways to say yes to that question.
Welcome to the church wide web
Thou shalt not stop ordinary Catholics from using the Internet to speak their minds.
When Genevieve Kineke and a group of laywomen decided this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem, Pope John Paul II’s document on the dignity of women, she needed to get the word out. A mailing list, however, never even occurred to her.
An all-you-can-read buffet
On the feast of the Corpus Christi last year Pope John Paul II called for a special year dedicated to the Eucharist, and Christians looking to nourish their eucharistic spirituality this year with a good read have been blessed with a bounty of literary manna. Even better, these books on the church's central sacrament of unity come from Catholics and Protestants alike, reminding us of the full communion to which this sacrament summons the whole body of Christ.