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Literature of the Word

From the October 2021 Print Edition

I have always been somewhat bemused by the perennial popularity of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott’s nineteenth—century novel about four New England sisters coming of age. At least once a decade a new film or television adaptation appears, and the list of successful women writers who . . . . Continue Reading »

Going Further

From the October 2020 Print Edition

A year ago, with my two small granddaughters in tow, I visited a friend in an assisted living facility. Before her stroke, Terri was a daily communicant in my Catholic parish. Now she watches Mass on television. As she listed for my granddaughters the different programs she enjoys—Masses on . . . . Continue Reading »

Hawthorne’s Daughter

From the January 2020 Print Edition

In 1891, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, daughter of the novelist ­Nathaniel Hawthorne, was received into the Catholic Church. She was forty years old. Within a few years of her conversion she conceived a heroic ministry to destitute cancer patients at a time when cancer was believed to be contagious. She . . . . Continue Reading »

Grace, Continued

From the June/July 2019 Print Edition

Then, for three years, I traveled wherever Grace traveled. ­Wherever she went, I went, and after she prayed for my husband in Tarrytown, he wanted to go with me, for reasons I assumed were the same as mine. For three years her ministry was our church, and Ross came, too, and read some during the . . . . Continue Reading »

Grace

From the January 2019 Print Edition

On a hazy afternoon in late May 1986, I wait, as I wait every weekday afternoon in a parking lot in Branford, Connecticut, for my son to be dismissed from school. While I wait, I listen to Ceci, another mother new to the school, whose son is in my son’s class. She is telling me about her car. From . . . . Continue Reading »

Heal Our Wounds

From the May 2018 Print Edition

Six months after he was elected to the Chair of Peter, Pope Francis made one of the most provocative statements of his five-year pontificate. Asked by the Italian Jesuit Antonio Spadaro what the church (small c) most needs at this point in her history, he replied that he sees the church as a field . . . . Continue Reading »

Empathy is Not Charity

From the October 2017 Print Edition

Martin Scorsese’s recent film Silence, like the historical novel by Shūsaku Endō on which it is based, turns on an act of emotional blackmail. Inoue, a seventeenth-century Japanese magistrate intent on eradicating Christianity from his country, pressures a Jesuit priest named Rodrigues to . . . . Continue Reading »

Dismantling the Cross

From the April 2015 Print Edition

Generally speaking, there are two principal vocations in the life of the Catholic Church: marriage on the one hand, and celibate priesthood and religious life on the other. Both are expressions of conjugal love. In the normal calling of marriage, an individual binds himself for life to another human . . . . Continue Reading »