Friday, September 26, 2008

Storytelling in the Catholic Imagination

How wonderful to be able to write in the Cooperator blog. Thank you, Sister Margaret Charles! Hello, Easter and my other Cooperator colleagues. Father Alberione and Mother Thecla are surely smiling down on us now!

Chris Friel and Sister An Mei Lam show the new Storytelling in the Catholic Imagination section of Philadelphia's Pauline Book and Media Center .

For my first post I thought I'd enthuse about the exciting pilot project that started in June in several of the Pauline Book and Media Centers. These are the targeted Centers:

If you live in these areas, why don't you wander over and make a special trip to check out the new expansion of the fiction titles into a category named Storytelling in the Catholic Imagination? The sisters have stocked the shelves with novels, poetry and works of literary analysis that carry out the very Alberionian commitment to offering fiction that:

1) provides a lens through which to interpret popular culture;
2) offers underlying themes with a Catholic sensibility (the moral universe, sin
& redemption, a supernatural order, the choice for truth);
3) respects the human person, revealing their dignity, destiny, freedom &

I bought "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" by Ron
Hansen from the Philadelphia store. I loved the book and then viewed the film. Ron Hansen is a Catholic author and permanent deacon who publishes in the secular publishing world. His books are shot through with Catholic sensibilities, and do very well among non-religious readers and critics.

His latest novel, "Exiles", has just arrived at the Philadelphia center and the other four stores piloting the expansion. "Exiles" tells the story of the shipwreck of a German steamer, the Deutschland, with five nuns on board who had been exiled from Bismarck's Germany due to stringent anti-Catholc laws. News of their drowning reaches the ears of a young Jesuit priest, Gerard Manley Hopkins, who is so affected that he takes up the pen and begins again to write poetry, an endeavor he had stopped due to its being poorly received by his superiors. As we know, his return to poetry was not only good for the Church but for the entire literary world.

The story is fictional but, like "The Assassination of Jesse James", meticulously researched and written in prose that is both beautiful and very accessible.

Pick up your copy now, but not at Borders -- stop into Pauline Book and Media Centers and help support this breaking open of the fiction category into exciting, morally serious titles that offer the transcendence possible through all good art.


1 comment:

Sr Margaret Kerry fsp said...

I hear that this is going well! Having just been in the Philadelphia center I really enjoyed reading Exiles (Hanson on Hopkins).