The saintly suffering of Flannery O’Connor

The Abbess of Andalusia: Flannery O’Connor’s Spiritual Journey by Lorraine V. Murray (St Benedict Press, Charlotte NC; kindle-edition, £7.46 through Amazon UK) Many people are finding the restrictions caused by Covid-19 somewhat tiresome. In these circumstances it would be difficult to recommend a more appropriate read that this biography of Flannery O’Connor. The distinguished American writer…

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Douglas Hyde – a President for all

Douglas Hyde: A Maker of Modern Ireland by Janet Egleston Dunleavy & Gareth W. Dunleavy (University of California Press, £48.00) Douglas Hyde/Dubhlas de hÍde served as Ireland’s first president from 1938 to 1945. This was the very highest distinction which the new state and the people of Ireland could bestow. Hyde himself was a man who…

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In the North: a man of the peasantry

The Autobiography of William Carleton with a foreword by Benedict Kiely (The White Row Press, 1996; other editions are now available on line). This is the unfinished autobiography of William Carleton. Although it ends well short of when he died on January 30, 1869, together with his other writings, it is an important source for the…

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Essential insights of a great apologist

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (William Collins, £12.99/€18.19) This is a famous book of apologetics which is splendid to see back again in the shops. Mere Christianity is a collection of three books: Broadcast Talks (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943) and Beyond Personality (1944). These in turn were printed versions of a series of talks on Christian…

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Bellavista ‘wanted everything’ but gave all in a spiritual classic

I Want Everything by Marta Bellavista, ed. by Emanuele Polverelli (Itaca Edizioni, Castel Bolognese, Italy, €15.00; contact e-mail: info@itacalibri.it) This is a collection of writings by a truly remarkable person. Marta Bellavista was born in Cesena in Emilia-Romagna in Italy on October 19, 1983. After classical studies she attended the Catholic University in Milan, where…

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When fierce local quarrels came to blows

Days of the Blackthorn: Faction Fighters of Kerry by Seán Moraghan (Mercier Press, €16.99) In the early part of the 19th Century especially, faction fighting was a feature of rural life throughout Munster. The Catholic clergy were unable to prevent it, despite their strenuous efforts, local magistrates turned a Nelson eye on it and some…