Recommended Reading

Jocelyn Thomas Features

HNP Today occasionally provides recommendations of publications that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry. Two books are recommended this month: one was written by a former Franciscan Media employee and the other was featured in Washington Theological Union’s last newsletter.

Proof of Heaven by Mary Curran Hackett (William Morrow, 2011) is recommended by Lisa Biedenbach, of Franciscan Media, who called it “a remarkable debut novel that tests a dying boy’s belief in God and his mother’s search for proof of heaven.” Written by an Irish Catholic who grew up in Connecticut and whose parents are Secular Franciscans, Proof of Heaven tells the story of Cathleen, a single mother who believes that her faith will protect her son, Colm, who is not convinced, and who desperately wants to meet his father who abandoned Cathleen before he was born. Cathleen, with the help of a dedicated doctor and her alcoholic brother, embarks on a journey of emotional discovery, one that even takes her and Colm to Assisi. Proof of Heaven explores the power of love and the eternal questions of life, death and the afterlife. Author Mary Curran Hackett teaches at the University of Cincinnati and is a former book editor for Franciscan Media (formerly St. Anthony Messenger Press), where Biedenbach, a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, worked for nearly 25 years.

Scandal: The Catholic Church and Public Life by Angela Senander (Liturgical Press, 2012) was recommended recently in the Washington Theological Union’s eletter. The author is past chair of WTU’s department of systematic and moral theology. The ePistle eletter said “this is a book about the Church and its mission in light of Vatican II and, in this way, celebrates the mission of WTU, a mission the author is grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to.”

The HNP Communications Office welcomes emails from readers who would like to suggest a book or periodical. Themes that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry — in addition to spirituality and news of the Catholic Church — include topics affiliated with Holy Name Province committees and directorates (evangelization, vocations, wellness, justice and peace, young adults, and African-American and Hispanic ministries.)

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas, who can be reached at