Giving Up Poetry for Lent: Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Quest for Perfection

Gerard Manley Hopkins (Photo: Wikipedia Commons,  work by Rowan Gillespie, used with permission)

For the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, the year 1866 was marked by introspection and transformation.  On January 18, 1866, he composed his poem The Habit of Perfection, which hailed the virtue of ascetism.  Five days later, on January 23, he included poetry in a list of things he planned to give up for Lent.  And by July, against the wishes of his family, he had decided to leave his native Anglicanism for the Catholic Church.That September, he traveled to Birmingham to consult with John … [Read more...]

Fr. Hubert Schiffer and the Jesuit Priests Who Survived Hiroshima

I wish I could tell you that I'm related to Jesuit Father Hubert Schiffer.  I've asked family members, hoping someone will be able to prove that he's a second cousin twice removed....  But while we know of two priests among my husband's ancestors, Father Schiffer's name doesn't come up. I like to imagine, though, that we have some kind of special link.  Two Schiffers with a common destination. Father Schiffer's story has been on my mind lately for at least two reasons:On July 29 Theodore "Du … [Read more...]

Best Wishes to the Jesuits and the Redemptorists As They Celebrate Their Founders

This week, Catholics celebrate the lives of two great founders:Thursday, July 31, is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  Ignatius was first a soldier of Spain; but he took a cannonball in the leg, requiring several surgeries and a lengthy recuperation.  During the months when he was bedridden, Ignatius read the lives of the saints; and deeply moved by their piety and their example, he resolved to be instead a soldier for Christ.  He founded th … [Read more...]


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