Today I’ll share a couple of short passages from books I’ve been reading recently with my children. Both made me laugh, though I guess the context also helps. The first is from Susan M. Coolidge’s What Katy Did: “Imogen was a bright girl naturally, but she had so read so many novels that her brain wasContinue reading “Milly-Molly-Mandy meets What Katy Did”
My obituary for the wonderful, much missed Audrey Donnithorne can be found here and in the current print edition of the Catholic Herald.
The reason I haven’t posted for a while is because I have been reading the work of St Elisabeth of the Trinity and it has had a profound impact on me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know where to start in writing about this remarkable Carmelite who was a near contemporary of St ThereseContinue reading “St Elisabeth of the Trinity”
I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment with wandering into the room to hear the second half of great pieces of music. Yesterday evening it was Simon Rattle and the CBSO at Aldeburgh in 2011, playing Messiaen’s ‘Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum’.
I walked into the kitchen this morning to hear this beautiful piece of music being sung. But who was the composer?I just couldn’t work it out.
I am currently reading and hugely enjoying Maria Augusta Trapp’s The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. It is difficult to read some of the early sections in particular without thinking about (or humming) The Sound of Music but, as the story progresses, we get a lot that isn’t in the movie. It comes as something ofContinue reading “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”
The first Jesuit missionaries to China were a really fascinating group and Liam Matthew Brockey’s Journey to the East provides many new insights into their mission. Whereas previous accounts tended to emphasise the Jesuit mission to the imperial court, Brockey conclusively shows that they also made a big impact in the countryside among ordinary folk too.Continue reading “The Jesuits in China”
It doesn’t look much like a traditional catechism, does it? But don’t be fooled. The Sacrament of the Seven Sacraments is a deeply orthodox book that draws on Pope Benedict XVI’s covenant theology and is a direct response to Pope St John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization. The characters may be made out ofContinue reading “Catechism of the Seven Sacraments”
Audrey Donnithorne, one of the true greats, died today at the age of 97. When she was two years old, she was kidnapped by bandits along with her parents in Sichuan and promptly disarmed her captors (but, sadly, only metaphorically) by chatting away to them in Chinese. This incident (which ended happily when all theContinue reading “Audrey Donnithorne RIP”
Simone Lia’s Please God, find me a husband is a wonderful graphic novel which contains some very funny scenes as Simone seeks God’s will for her life. There are a great couple of pages which describe her not altogether successful attempts to meditate while on retreat, for instance, and a very funny section which describes her attemptsContinue reading “Simone Lia’s ‘Please God, find me a husband’”
The trouble with new books is that they prevent us from us from reading the old ones. That is what Joseph Joubert argued at the turn of the 19th century, and he’s surely right (though you might want to make an exception for my books!). We now need to go out of our way toContinue reading “Maud Jepson’s Biological Drawings”
I won’t draw any conclusions from the passage that follows but will leave the words of the saint to speak for themselves: “The day after my first Communion was still one of happiness, but overcast with melancholy. Marie had given me such a lovely dress, and I had lots of other presents, but these thingsContinue reading “St Thérèse of Lisieux and Reception of the Eucharist”
Mapping the curriculum, as I discussed in my last post, is a worthy aspiration, but it doesn’t take us far enough. What we really need is a deep map. What is that? you ask. A deep map works with a vertical as well as a horizontal axis. It describes geology as well as surface features.Continue reading “Deep Mapping the Curriculum”
In one of her blog posts, Christine Counsell argued that the curriculum “is at once a thing of beauty and of utility, and both matter. More like the waterways of Venice than a set of roads or paths, it needs specialist maintenance or it won’t take you where you want to go, nor make itContinue reading “Mapping the Curriculum”
I wrote yesterday about Fr John Gerard’s plan to escape from the Tower of London in 1597, a story I must have read as a child, but had then completely forgotten, even though it has everything you could possibly want from a great escape story. Having bribed his guard, so he could gain access toContinue reading “Escape from the Tower of London”
This was one of my favourite books when I was a child. I have vivid memories of Charles I’s attempted escape from Carisbrooke Castle, Oliver Philpot’s ‘Trojan Horse’ escape from Stalag Luft III and Pierre Mairesse Lebrun’s vaulting of the fence at Colditz. However, I had completely forgotten the first chapter, which is an extractContinue reading “Pat Reid’s ‘My Favourite Escape Stories’”
The precious book that Heidi receives in Frankfurt contains a story which she returns to time and again: the story of the Prodigal Son. Why should this story, in particular, matter so much to her? On the face of it, the prodigal son’s experience is utterly different from Heidi’s. He turns away from his father:Continue reading “Heidi, the Prodigal Son, and Patience”
“Some people are flower lovers. / I’m a weed lover.” So said Norman Nicholson in his poem ‘Weeds’ and I’m with him: Weeds don’t need planting in well-drained soil; They don’t ask for fertilizer or bits of rag to scare away birds. They come without invitation; And they don’t take the hint when you wantContinue reading “Long Live the Weeds”
I deliberately don’t often include links on this site because I am very mindful of the fact that “the Net seizes our attention only to scatter it,” as Nicholas Carr puts it in his fascinating book, The Shallows. However, today I’m going to make an exception because I want to mention Treezilla, a project from theContinue reading “Treezilla”