SNDdeN Book and Movie Review Corner

Ever wonder what’s on your favorite Sister’s bookshelf? Here's your chance to check out the latest book and movie reviews from across the province.

"The Personal Librarian" by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Review by Barbara Metz, SNDdeN

This is the remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation.

Bella da Costa Greene was the daughter of Richard Greener, the first black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. This is an amazing, timely and impactful story.

"Father Stu" (2022, Rated R)

Review by Anne Locke, SNDdeN

CAN YOU IMAGINE THIS? You are chatting with two priest friends and they mention that they have heard about a priest who was a boxer. So you investigate and that is how the movie "Father Stu" is born. Mark Walberg goes and visits this person, Stuart Long, and is so intrigued that he creates a movie and stars in it! Yes, that is how it came to be!

"Father Stu," the movie, is the true story of Stuart Long and his life changing movement from a boxer to a priest. The two-hour movie tells the uplifting, powerful and inspiring tale of an athlete changing his whole life…It is an unflinchingly…honest, funny, amazing, spiritual and true drama about a lost soul who finds his purpose in life from self-destruction to redemption. It is a truly religious experience.

The star, Mark Walberg, created the movie after hearing Stu’s story and the director, Rosalind Ross, created an incredible rendition.

After I researched "Father Stu," I was truly amazed at the makeup artists. They transform Mark into Stu. Do your research and you will not believe it! I was so stunned. It’s remarkable!

"What Did You Do in the War, Sister?" by Dennis J. Turner

Review by Catherine Waldron, SNDdeN

A few weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, I finished reading the historical fiction novel, “What Did You Do in the War, Sister?” The narrative is compelling as it recounts experiences of our own Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Belgium during World II. Author Dennis J. Turner worked with Sister Kim Dalgarn, SND¬deN in our Ohio archives to familiarize himself with real events in the lives of two American SNDdeNs who moved to Namur in 1938 to assist the Belgium Sisters. Little did they know that the war would begin within their early years there. How fortunate was the community that these American Sisters were fluent in German and French as well as English!

The narrative of the book is told through the eyes of these two Sisters. They rose to meet the challenges of protecting children who were boarders, accommodating the services demanded by both European and U.S. military, managing safe transport from cities being bomb-shelled and more. They sheltered families and individuals from atrocities. This account details many events of bravery, ingenuity and determination.

I am proud to stand on the shoulders of so many SNDdeNs who inspire courageous action on behalf of people made poor through acts of war. Currently, I commend the courage and generosity of numerous people who are help¬ing the Ukrainians defend their country and preserve their unique culture.

"Discipleship for the Future" by Frank P. DeSciano, CSP

Review by Ann I. Howard, SNDdeN

Reading "Discipleship for the Future," subtitled Spirituality of the Kingdom by Frank P. DeSciano, CSP, I realized that this book is meant to be shared in a group reflection. Insights from Scripture and the text by the author may be shared with conviction, and the questions provided at the end of each chapter lend themselves to be answered aloud. The meditations offered are powerful and can be enjoyed singularly, as prayer.

Frank DeSciano, CSP, visits us at Trinity Washington University each Wednesday and presides at our noon Mass. He is a wonderful homilist and we are blessed to have his insights on a regular basis. This book, his most recent, just came off the Paulist Press this spring, and I thought of our own Sisters and Associates, colleagues and friends from the first page. Frank generously offers insights into Jesus’s life and activities and does another thing – he keeps asking what these examples of life and activity mean for us and our future world.

Notice the title – Discipleship for the Future. Within this book, each chapter draws attention to the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, each leans towards the vastness of the future beckoning. DeSciano says that our pasts can make us feel stuck, can paralyze, yet our futures are filled with possibilities, and our common future holds much God-given promise and hope.

My hope is that the SNDdeNs and our Associates will gather in coming months and share together this wonderful book entitled, "Discipleship for the Future," by Fr. Frank DeSciano, CSP.

Check out Sisters' previous recommendations for books and films: