Stuff White People Like – review? commentary? Both?

Click here for my review and/or commentary on this book….

Stuff White People Like

Approaching Eden: Adam & Eve in Popular Culture

Approaching Eden2

This theologically rich book is now available; I have read it and wrote a blurb for the cover:

Approaching Eden is a gift to anyone attempting to bring faith and life closer in a world filled with mediated stories: in this case, tales and images influenced by the Biblical creation narrative of Genesis 1-3. Sanders is fearless in her critical analysis but never cavalier. Her prose is energetic and accessible; her surveys broad and her insights bold. Sanders makes theology a pleasure while enticing the reader to deeper theological scrutiny of accepted widely-held interpretations of Genesis through representations of Adam and Eve from movies to museums. Approaching Eden is an intellectual and spiritual delight.”—Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP, founding director, Pauline Center for Media Studies; St. Anthony Messenger film and television columnist

Approaching Eden: Adam and Eve in Popular Culture

Back in 2000 I reviewed Celluloid Saints: Images of Sanctity in Film; wonderful. I would read anything Sanders writes.



“National Book Awards: Fiction” vote for the best



You can vote on one of the six notable American fiction writers:

Flannery O’Connor

John Cheever

Ralph Ellison

Eudora Welty

William Faulkner

National Book Foundation Fiction Award Poll

(When I voted this morning, Flannery O’Connor has a substantial lead.)

Lives of the Saints – My top 12 favorite books

St. Teresa of Avila by Girgio Papasogli, Alba House, 1973

St. Teresa of Avila by Giorgio Papasogli, Alba House, 1973

I have been spending some time on Facebook recently (Rose Pacatte) and everyone is doing these lists on Notes on their profile pages. So I decided to start some lists of my own.

Here is a list of my 12 favorite lives of the saints. I have read much hagiography over the course of my life, but these stand out as really good reads. Of course, when I was in the postulancy and novitiate more than 40 years ago our leisure time was limited (even for reading lives of the saints!). But I found these, and if you can find them, they might make it on your favorite saints biography list, too.

1. St Teresa of Avila by George Papsogli (trans. from the Italian) Alba House 1973
2. St. Francis de Sales and His Friends  Maurice Henry Couannier (translated from the French), Alba House 1973
3. The Woman God Loved (Bl. Anne Marie Javouhey; foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny)
4. St Therese by those Who Knew Her – testimony from the “trials” for her beatification and canonization; compelling
5. The Golden Thread (St Ignatius of Loyola, novel by Louis de Wohl)
6. Africa’s Twelve Apostles (All men, and not a perfect book – but a great read; some have been beatified or canonized) by Rev. H. Russell
7. Mystic in Motley: The Life of St Philip Nero by Theodore Maynard, 1946  – THE BEST! Maynard is an amazing biographer)
8. St. John Neumann by Robert H. Wilson
9. A Light to the Gentiles: the Life of Venerable Francis Libermann by Adrian van Kaam (one of my favorites)
10. The Song of Bernadette (novel by Franz Werfel)
11. St. Thomas More by John Farrow (Mia Farrow’s father); Man for All Season play by Robert Bolt
12. Bury Me Deep: The Life of Bl. Zepherin Namancura by Peter Lappin (most excellent biographer; if Namancura is ever beatified it may be because he was smothered – to death – by the desire of early Salesian missionaries to Argentina to evangelize/minister to indigenous peoples, however, the story is totally compelling.)

You will note that I have not listed biographies of the saints of the Pauline Family: Bl. James Alberione, Bl. Timothy Giaccardo, Ven. M. Tecla Merlo…. This is because the books available so far yet are informative, but I am still waiting for the best books to be written.

Also, St. Anthony’s Guild of Paterson, NJ (now defunct) used to publish these great paperbacks. One of them was the story of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers at 50 years. I can’t find the title online or recall the author’s name… Glenn something… but an outstanding story of holy men and how Maryknoll interfaced with the history of the first half of the 20th century.

I received a comment about the above book and I want to post it within the text of the blog so you can find it – or look forward to the new one!

Hi Sr. Rose,
I think the book about Maryknoll that you mention at the end of your post is “The Maryknoll Fathers: The Heroic Story of Fifty Year in Mission Field Afar” by Glenn D. Kittler. The book appeared in hardcover in 1961 and was published by The World Publishing Company of Cleveland, OH. I am not familiar with the paperback version you mention.

We’re now coming up on our 100th Anniversary in 2011 and a book is once again in preparation. It will be authored by Dr. Angelyn Dries, OSF, a church historian out of St. Louis University. I’m looking forward to it.

Years ago, the later Penny Lernoux put out a popular history of the Maryknoll Sisters called, “Hearts on Fire” which is also very powerful. They too are coming up on their centennial and I’m not sure what they have in the works as far as a history goes.

Thanks for a very enlightening blog! Prayerful best wishes in your many efforts.

Gregory Darr

ReAction! Chemistry in the Movies book review

chemistry and movies


Here’s a link to a book that sounds innovative and unique to chemistry classes. Sounds like an “explosive” idea to me … using film clips in chemistry class! Love it. An idea for teaching method transfer…. (The link for this review was posted on the MediaEducation listserv.)

ReAction! Chemistry in the Movies by Mark Griep and Marjorie Mikasen

Conquest of the Useless: Reflections on the Making of FITZCARRALDO by Werner Herzog


A funny thing happened on the way to LAX last Friday.

I will admit to never having seen “Fitzcarraldo”. But I was thoroughly rivited by the NPR interview with the film’s director-dreamer Werner Herzog  that I listened to on the way to the airport to collect Frank Frost who was arriving for the National Film Retreat: NPR: Werner Herzog Reveals Intense Private Journals (You can listen to it, which I recommend, or download a transcript).

The New York Times reviewed CONQUEST OF THE USELESS: Reflections on the Making of “Fitzcarraldo”  in yesterday’s Book Review section. The reviewer, Mark Harris, didn’t care much for the two year’s worth of linear journal entries (they seemed to  irritate his gestalt) about Herzog’s folly in the Brazilian rain forest – and if I had read his review first I would have changed radio stations instead of tuning into a fascinating and articulate interview of a major cinematic auteur.

About his filmmaking Herzog said that he has been categorized as a German romanticist but he thoroughly resists this label. He is about nature.  Think “Rescue Dawn” and “Grizzley Man” for starters.

If you are a student of cinema, check this out. I may not read the book but I want to see the film to find out why a filmmaker would spend so much energy, time, humanity, and money on what, to some, is a work of art and to others, an absurdity.

Finding life lessons in Harry Potter


Finding lessons for life in Harry Potter books by Deborah Netburn LATimes July 24, 2009