Tag Archives: memoir

My Reading Challenge Pick for… “a Catholic memoir or autobiography”

We are two thirds of our way through the year already! How is your 2018 Catholic Reading Challenge going? I am continuing to share what I am reading for the challenge with you. This pick paired wonderfully with my pick for a biography of a prominent Catholic

Category: “a Catholic’s memoir or autobiography”

My Pick: The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

I wanted to read two books about Dorothy Day this year, because she was someone about whom I previously knew very little. Toward the beginning of the year I read Jim Forest’s biography of Day, Love is the Measure. You can read my take on that book here. I finally got around to Day’s own words about her life and work. It is really interesting to read a biography and autobiography of someone in close succession. There was much repeated history of her life, but Forest’s account was certainly a more detailed history. Day doesn’t overshare when it comes to places that her story intersects with the stories of others, that are not hers to tell, as she puts it.

Her autobiography focuses on what drew her to the Catholic Church and what drew her to the work of her life; and most of the book is really an account of what that work was like and what relationships animated it and inspired it. One person who greatly influenced Dorothy’s perspective and worked along side of her was Peter Maurin. She spends much of the last third of the book recounting how his philosophies helped form her own and the direction of the The Catholic Worker, the paper she edited.

One thing I quite respect about Day is that she is a figure who can’t be put in a box. She is an enigma. It would be hard for any group — except Catholics — to “claim” her. And then, she is unlike most Catholics I know. She is unlike most people, I would say. She really was someone who lived a radical expression of her faith, and all of her work centered around acts of charity. Since before her conversion, she was drawn to those in poverty; she felt one with them. There is an element of Christ’s gospel message about the “poor in spirit” that Day seemed to be especially endowed with the grace to identify and live out authentically. Continue reading

My Reading Challenge Pick for “A Catholic Memoir or Autobiography”

If you’ve been reading along and following the 2017 Catholic Reading Challenge, then you know that I’ve been sharing what I’m reading for each category throughout the year. It helps keep me on track, and I hope it helps inspire you toward your reading goals for 2017! 

Category: A Catholic Memoir or Autobiography

My Pick: The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur

I’m going to tell you from the get-go that this might be the most impactful book on my spiritual life that I read this year, perhaps in the last few years. So, here’s the plug that made me want to read it in the first place: Elisabeth was the devoted wife of Felix Leseur, who was an adamant aetheist for their entire marriage. After her death, he discovered all of her journals (the contents of this book). In reading them, not only did he convert to Catholicism, but he became a Catholic priest! After his conversion, he compiled Elisabeth’s journals and various correspondence into this book, travelled around sharing her story, and had her cause opened for canonization.

I read this book with a group of ladies from my parish this summer, and I think we would all say that we were profoundly impacted by Elisabeth’s humble spirituality, profound love, and immense wisdom. There is so much that I could say about her writings, but I am just going to highlight for you some of the major themes along with corresponding quotes from her journals. Continue reading