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Kat Reads: “The Napoleon of Notting Hill”

The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G.K. Chesterton was published in 1904. Chesterton was about 30 years old at the time and it was his first novel, though he had been working as a professional journalist in London for a few years at that point. The first time I read this book, which was just in the last year or two, I was instantly in love. I grew up on British humor and British authors, and I quickly recognized Chesterton’s…

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What I Read in a Year: 2021

This past year has involved a lot of transitions in my personal world, and even now I am just a few months away from getting married and starting a whole new chapter in life. It’s been a wonderfully blessed time, but also a bit chaotic, and more than ever I have been appreciative of the grounding nature that books have in my life. Books can provide an escape from day-to-day stress, but they can also help to give perspective and…

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Purgatory and Praying for the Dead

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. This past year, I’ve been working my way through a reading of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem “The Divine Comedy,” in which the poet narrator travels first through the circles of hell, then climbs the mountain of purgatory, and ultimately reaches the paradise of heaven. As we enter into the month of November, a time the Church has designated especially for praying for the souls of the dead,…

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Autumn Reflections and Updates

For weeks now, I’ve had ideas and ambitions running through my head; of articles that I want write, thoughts I want to share, and stories I want to tell. This time of year usually does that to me. I can’t say that this is always my most productive time of the year, because this is usually when I am the busiest with volunteering at church, getting ready for the holidays, etc. But I can say that this is always my…

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Women Who Dared Speak Truth

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. “And who knows if you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” These are the words spoken to Queen Esther in the Old Testament, when she is being asked to risk the wrath of her husband the king in order to save the lives of the Israelites. Esther is asked to endanger her own comfort and security, even her life, for the…

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A Love Story: C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

For years I have been fascinated and enthralled by the love story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. It is not a typical one, not one that would set most young hearts a flutter, but I’ve always found it beautiful. When they met for the first time in person in 1952, Lewis was already in his mid-fifties, a confirmed bachelor with no intention to marry, an established professor at Oxford, and a world-famous Christian author. Joy Davidman Gresham was a…

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Finding Joy in Your Off Season

So, I will be the first to admit that summer is actually my least favorite season, and as we now stretch into August I am almost desperate for cooler weather, turning leaves, and my fall wardrobe. My northern blood does not thrive in southern heat. I feel also like there is less structure to my schedule in the summer, and there is more pressure to socialize and make plans and yet it seems nearly impossible to coordinate as everyone is…

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Mary Magdalene, The Perfect Repentant

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. Mary Magdalene has been a complex character in Christian thought throughout Church history. She has been variously identified as Mary of Magdala; the “sinful woman” of Luke 7:36-50 who anoints Christ’s feet and dries them with her hair; and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. What we know from Scripture is that Mary of Magdala was one of the women who followed Jesus during…

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What I Read: 2021 Mid-Point Check-In

Please note: I have intentionally decided not to include Amazon links (unless something is available exclusively on Amazon). Instead, if you are interested in reading any of the books I mention, I encourage you to check out your local library or independent bookstore. These places (and the communities around them) need your support, and they are generally quite willing to order any book if they don’t currently have it in stock. However, if Amazon is still the more practical choice…

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Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God”

This article was originally published in The Catholic News Herald of the diocese of Charlotte. One of my favorite books for meditating on Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary is Caryll Houselander’s “The Reed of God.” I was introduced to this book just a few years ago and it has since become one that I return to quite often for contemplation. Houselander’s prose writing is as lyrical as her poetry, which is also sprinkled throughout the book, and makes for a beautifully…

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