Welcome! My name is Dawn Eden, and, after more than ten years blogging on and off (mostly on) at my personal blog The Dawn Patrol, I am delighted that Patheos has given me the opportunity to start this new blog focusing on those whom the Holy Father has so beautifully called “‘translations’ of Jesus”: the saints.
I was born into a Jewish family, but lost my faith in my late teens and became an agnostic. During my twenties, in the 1990s, I was a rock historian, interviewing artists such as Elton John, Brian Wilson, and Del Shannon. I went on to work on the editorial staff for New York City newspapers, including the New York Post and the Daily News.
When I was twenty-seven, a rock musician I was interviewing by phone, Ben Eshbach of the Sugarplastic, mentioned that he was currently reading a novel called The Man Who Was Thursday, by an author who had never before crossed my radar: G.K. Chesterton. Afterwards, I picked up a copy of the novel, partly out of a desire to expand my literary horizons—but mostly out of a desire to have something more to discuss with Mr. Eshbach when he came to town.
As it happened, when I had the opportunity to meet Ben a few months later before a Sugarplastic concert in Manhattan’s East Village, he had a headache, so my conversation with him was limited to finding out what kind of painkiller he wanted from the corner deli. But the Chesterton novel he recommended planted seeds that, over time, would awaken in me desires at once deeper and higher.
I began to seek out all the Chesterton I could get my hands on. That eventually led me to seek out what had inspired the author, and so I attempted regular reading of Scripture, including the Gospels. Finally, there came a day in October 1999 when I opened the Bible and it was no longer just black-and-white words on a flat page. The words became alive—God’s love speaking to my heart.
So I got baptized at a local Protestant church—but, not wanting to be a “joiner,” I fashioned myself a sort of “Lone Ranger Christian.” Thankfully, though, God had other plans, and in 2006 I entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Here is a video of me in December 2008 telling Fra Roderick Mary Burke, F.I., about my conversion:
In late 2006, my first book, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On, came out and became a sleeper hit, surprising everyone, including me. It was translated into Spanish, Polish, and Chinese, and led to my giving talks on chastity throughout North America, as well as in England, Ireland, Poland, and at World Youth Day Sydney. (I am very proud to hold the honor of being the only chastity speaker ever to have been invited back to speak for a second time at Georgetown University.)
This year, Ave Maria Press published my second book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, which carries an Imprimatur from my bishop, Donald Cardinal Wuerl. In My Peace (which was recently featured in the Patheos Book Club) I tell about saints who suffered childhood sexual abuse or other forms of trauma—from Church doctors like Thomas Aquinas and Bernard of Clairvaux, to lesser-known figures like Josephine Bakhita and Margaret of Castello. I also share my own story as an abuse victim who has found healing through Christ and the Church. As I told Patheos blogger Kathryn Jean Lopez when she recently interviewed me for National Review Online about My Peace, I decided to go public with my experience because
I have come to believe that people who have suffered trauma as a result of the abuses that are widespread in secular society — the sins committed against the family and against the dignity of the human person — are going to be vital members of the next generation of Christian witnesses. Their witness will be particularly powerful because, having experienced their own Passion, they have risen to new life through faith in Christ.
The original witnesses to Jesus were the first saints—the disciples and martyrs. Through them, we learn, as St. Peter declared, that “we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:32). Now, through Feast of Eden, I hope to continue what I started with My Peace I Give You, showing how the saints’ witness points the way for us to bear witness in our own lives to Jesus’ love, forgiveness, and redemptive suffering.