Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Midway through Lent

We're at the halfway point today: three weeks from Ash Wednesday and three weeks before Spy Wednesday, the final day of Lent (Holy Thursday doesn't count). I am already looking forward to Laetare Sunday; how about you? 

Day keeping good company on my bookshelf.
One of my Lenten heroes is the sometimes crotchety, always honest Dorothy Day. There are some Catholic figures who impress me enough that I look up a book, maybe two, to learn more. Dorothy Day does not fit in that category. I first read her conversion story From Union Square to Rome years ago, following that with The Long Loneliness (a spiritual autobiography). Her Loaves and Fishes (the story of the Catholic Worker movement) led me to another book by the prolific writer, this one on Peter Maurin, the man Dorothy Day credits with being the father (and originator) of the Catholic Worker movement, a man given wholeheartedly to the Gospel and its demands (and, in his focus on the life of the mind and "the clarification of thought," a fine match for Blessed James Alberione).

At that point I found the biography by the excellent Robert Coles (who had spent some time with the Catholic Workers and knew Dorothy in person), and in the Chicago convent library there was a massive (and highly researched) biography of Day by William Miller.

Finally, more of her own writings were edited and released: Her diaries, from the mid-1930s through her last month of life, were released as The Duty of Delight (25 years after her death, as stipulated, I presume, by Dorothy herself). This book is as big as (maybe bigger than) Miller's biography. I couldn't put it down.  (Someone, maybe TH, got me a copy for the first Buy a Nun a Book Day!) And most recently, I read her collected letters in All the Way to Heaven (the title being from a saying of St Catherine of Siena: "All the way to Heaven is Heaven, because Jesus said, 'I am the Way'.")

You would think I had read enough, right?

But just this week Plough Publishing sent me a courtesy copy of The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus from the writings of Dorothy Day. Short selections from Day's biographical writings, from her diaries, from her articles in The Catholic Worker are distributed under several headings: A Way of Faith; A Way of Love; A Way of Prayer; A Way of Life; A Way of Community. It is now my guidebook for the second half of Lent (though I wish I had had this for Ash Wednesday!).

Good News! I have a copy of The Reckless Way of Love to give away.  I want to get it in the mail soon so the lucky recipient can finish Lent with Dorothy (and me). To be entered in for the random drawing, comment here about the Catholic personality who intrigues you the most and then (by Friday) share the link to this blog post on your favorite form of social media with the hashtag #nunblog


Anonymous said...

Since you already mentioned Peter Maurin, I won't, though he might otherwise be my pick. I have read one or two biographies, but they are disappointing, in that they mainly rehashed what I already knew from other sources. It seems difficult to find any really new or illuminating material on him; his life was truly so humble and hidden.

So I'll pick, Shusaku Endo. I don't know too much about him personality-wise, but his novels have had a great impact on me.

I'll put your link on Twitter.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

I sure agree with you about Peter! What a marvel of grace...but so hidden to us.

Rae Stabosz said...

My two favorite Catholic personalities currently are Jim Gaffigan and his wife Jeannie. They are a refreshingly talented, intelligent, and sane example of "married with children" the way it ought to be done. Not showy or defensive about the practice of religion, just doing daily life as uncloseted Catholics in the sometimes-hostile show-biz industry.

Francis Philip said...

My favorite Catholic personality is Thomas Merton.

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

My Dad was a big Merton fan, too, Francis. When Dad died I got his Merton collection AND the letter Thomas Merton had written to him in response to one from my Dad!

Anthony said...

It's hard to pick just one! I would have to say Saint John Paul II though. Growing up I remember watching his decline and suffering play out in front of the entire world. It fascinated me. His fidelity in the midst of all that he was enduring was one of the first sparks of my vocation. Since entering seminary I've been able to come to appreciate his writing including a course on his TOB last semester. What a gift he was and is to the Church! I've had some powerful prayer experiences at his shrine in DC, and Jason Evert's book about him is simply beautiful!

Lani Nicholson said...

I really like Peter Maurin as well, because he was so inspiring to others.

Lani Nicholson said...

My Favourite Catholic personality is Peter Maurin

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

That's fantastic, Anthony! Nunblog readers know I'm one of the original fans of TOB, ever since 1980 when the talks appeared in the English edition of the Vatican newspaper.
I hope you will let others know about the TOB video lecture series Discover Theology of the Body (I wrote the study guide for it). It is a course in TOB that can be taken at one's own pace, or used by a group our book club that really wants to get into JP2's thought. Watch the introduction here (and please share this widely, especially with those who do not have the opportunity to pursue an academic choose But are interested in a solid and substantial presentation):

Sr Anne Flanagan said...

Congratulations to Rae! Please DM me your address via Twitter or Facebook and I will ship your new book to you!
A blessed continuation of Lent to all!

Rae Stabosz said...

Yippee!! I'll message you in FB.