Inspiring examples of courage and humanity

Inspiring examples of courage and humanity Dorothy Day is depicted in a still from the Revolution of the Heart: The Dorothy Day Story, a film by Martin Doblmeier. Photo: CNS.
Disciples of Courage: Ten Christian Lives that Inspire by Brendan Comerford SJ (Messenger Publications, €19.95/£18.95)

November has long been a month devoted to recalling the dead and to celebrating their achievements. With the constant pursuit of novelty and celebrity these days, such as Halloween and the commercialisation of the Dia de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead), too many people worthy of recollection and of their so very varied achievements, are all too easily forgotten.

In writing his new book Brendan Comerford, a Jesuit spiritual director of great experience, must have had something like this in mind. Many of those he writes about are famous, having had media celebrity forced upon them. Other are less well known. But all are exemplary figures, well worth thinking about as the days darken into mid-winter.

His selection runs from Edith Stein to Roger of Taizé. Every reader will find things of value here, but my own choice would be Dorothy Day. She was a person who stands out as a North American Catholic, an apostle of peace and patience, who emerged in an era that has not been forgotten by many Catholics across the States. I recall too well though that the effort to establish her movement in Ireland failed, as “traditional Ireland” saw no value in her aims.


Courage comes in many forms, and often the greatest examples of physical and moral courage may well be, like sainthood itself, quite unknown to many in the wider world.

However from his own experiences as a pastoral teacher Brendan Comerford has selected, not medieval saints or the Irish favourites from post-Trent, but from the 20th century, a period familiar to us all, from painful experiences of our own families, countries and continents. These heroes are our contemporaries, and therefore all the more relevant to us all.