Open Book: Meeting authors

I was recently lucky enough to meet an author whose books and journalism I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ve also been reunited with an acquaintance who was at college with me many years ago, and who has since written something special . It’s fun to be able to thank writers in person.

The long-ago college friend is now Sister Patricia Marie Barnette, RGS (Religious of the Good Shepherd). As a licensed professional counselor, her work has included post-abortion counseling. I was surprised and delighted when she gave me a copy of her book God’s Mercy Awaits You: Find Healing After Abortion (Pauline Books and Media, 2020). In the slim but rich volume, she distills her faith and experience into practical help and encouragement for post-abortive women. She addresses how abortion affects men, and how friends can assist someone struggling to come to terms with an abortion. This is a life-affirming book in every way.

Kathryn Jean Lopez might be best known for her journalism. She’s a Catholic pro-life writer steeped in politics and current events: my kind of person. When she spoke at a conference in my area, I got my ticket early. Being able to greet her and thank her for her edifying work made the trip worthwhile. Her book A Year With the Mystics (St. Benedict Press, 2019) is downloaded to both my phone and tablet. Its guide to daily prayer and meditation is a Catholic resource to appreciate.

My To Be Read pile is fat and healthy this spring. Fond as I am of e-books and their convenience, I’m growing leery of the publishers’ ability to amend them anytime I’m online. Most of my book purchases this year have been good solid paperbacks. There’s the ongoing question of where I’m going to put them. Suggestions welcomed.

A means, not an end

Worth remembering as an election looms and my mailbox overflows and the ads reach saturation points: “policy” is a means, not an end. The former lobbyist in me needs the reminder occasionally.

Journalist Kathryn Jean Lopez always provides edifying reading, and she has often made the point that getting a bill passed is not the same as building a culture of life. She summarized it best in these words: “Our efforts can’t be confined to policy. We have to give our lives to the work of reformation, restoration, reparation, renewal. We need to see human life as the tremendous, incomparable gift that it is, and help other people see that.”

I’ll keep telling people to get to the polls. And still, I can see that our most lasting work will be accomplished during the other 364 days in the year.