That Old Catholic Magic: Jacob Popcak Explains St. Patrick’s Day to Sick Pilgrim

We invited some Sick Pilgrims over to talk about one of our favorite saints, St Patrick, in honor of his feast day this Friday, March 17. And then Jacob Popcak took us all to school.First things first. St. Patrick wasn't Irish.Jacob Popcak: Patrick was a slave of the Irish, who escaped, became a priest, and came back to convert his captors. He loved them. Which is ... insane, from a modern perspective.David Russell Mosley: He wasn't "Celtic," or at least not Irish.Jonathan Ryan: H … [Read more...]

Burn the Catholic Witches! (Like Me)

I've been doing some research on American saints and martyrs. A few of these stories seem to be ripped from a modern horror novel. For example, there are the five North American martyrs who underwent burning, flaying, and beatings. But one particular martyr caught my eye in Brian O'Neel's book, 150 North American Martyrs You Should Know. Why? Because the martyrdom took place just before one of the most infamous events in American History: the Salem Witch hysteria. And this martyrdom is … [Read more...]

Seeking Tanis: The Search for Enchantment Leads (Back) to the Church

"When I say the first line of the Lord's Prayer: 'Our Father, who art in heaven...' I imagine this heaven as invisible, unenterable but intimately close. There is nothing baroque about it, no swirling infinite space or stunning foreshortening. To find it--if one had the grace--it would only be necessary to lift up something as small and as at hand as a pebble or a salt-cellar on the table." -- John Berger, "Steps Towards a Small Theory of the Visible."Sometimes I think I'm only Catholic … [Read more...]

Review of The Third Inkling, a biography of Charles Williams (a very Sick Pilgrim indeed)

Two weeks ago, my review of The Third Inkling, a biography of Charles Williams, was published in the online edition of Notre Dame Magazine. For those of you who don't know, Charles Williams was a member of the legendary writers group known as the Inklings whose members included C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I've written about Charles and his importance to me on Sick Pilgrim, but I wanted to share an excerpt of the review:  Williams was a complex, strange and sometimes disturbing … [Read more...]