Recommended Reading

Jocelyn Thomas Features

HNP Today occasionally provides recommendations of books and publications that are relevant to friars and partners-in-ministry. These two suggestions come from two friars, both of whom have academic backgrounds.

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America (2010 Random House) by Eugene Robinson is recommended by Neil O’Connell, OFM, of the HNP African Ancestry Committee, who says that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eugene Robinson “contends that desegregation since the 1960s has significantly expanded the African American wealthy and middle classes but has also divided the community.” The divisions, according to Robinson, are a mainstream middle class majority with a full ownership stake in American society, a large, abandoned minority with little hope of escaping poverty, a small elite class with enormous wealth, power, and influence, and individuals of mixed race heritage and communities of recent black immigrants with little connection to African American culture. Robinson sees these four parts growing more apart, says Neil. His book also examines industrial abandonment of urban centers, devastating urban riots, the dismantling of residence restrictions, and the legalization of interracial marriage.

Francis of Assisi: The Life and Afterlife of a Medieval Saint (2012 Yale University Press) by Andrew Vauchez is recommended by Franciscan historian Dominic Monti, OFM, who says the book offers the most authoritative contemporary portrait of St. Francis, “the Poverello.” In a review that he compiled after having recommended this book at several recent friar gatherings, Dominic describes three parts of the book that focus on Francis’ life, the ways various authors highlighted different aspects of his life that were relevant to their own concerns and, lastly, the writings of Francis, developing specific themes. “Although this book is not popular, in the sense that it demands time and effort, I heartily recommend it as a tool for ongoing Franciscan formation for friars and others who wish to learn more about our founder, his heritage … and his challenge to us, so well expressed in the closing lines of the book.” Originally published in France in 2009 and translated elegantly by Fr. Michael Cusato, OFM, Vauchez’s study offers a remarkable synthesis of the significant developments in Franciscan scholarship over the past four decades, says Dominic.

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