From the leader of a Catholic university to the leader of the Catholic church, along with a volume on Buddhism with a green point of view, books with a variety of topics have crossed my desk this past month. Here is a sampling.

“American Priest”

by Wilson D. Miscamble, Image

This biography looks at the life and legacy of Ted Hesburgh, a priest who led Notre Dame University in Indiana for 35 years.

Miscamble's first chapter contains Hesburgh’s early life and how it prepared him for his job.

The book then offers two major parts.

Part I has four chapters about the priest’s life as the head of Notre Dame. Part II looks at his life serving U.S. presidents as well as popes. The book discusses his civil rights stance and how he worked with presidents of various viewpoints.

Miscamble said most portrayals of Hesburgh are in glowing terms. But the author says the picture can be blurry, and that, as a historian. he is trying to “examine a mortal life in its complexity.”

He concludes: “Perhaps a new generation of courageous educators in the faith might draw from the story of Theodore Martin Hesburgh an even better way to serve God, Country and Notre Dame.”

“Ave Maria”

Pope Francis, Image

Last spring, Pope Francis released the book “Our Father,” the famous Lord’s Prayer of Scripture.

This spring brings “Ave Maria,” perhaps the second best-known prayer.

The slim volume breaks down each phrase of the Ave Maria. It also takes a look at the Magnificat, Mary’s prayer of praise from Scripture upon learning that she would give birth to Jesus and her kinswoman would birth John the Baptist.

Theologian Marco Pozza ends with a chapter considering Mary as “A Mother Among Wolves.”

“Green Buddhism”

By Stephanie Kaza, Shambhala Press

Kaza is a professor emerita of environmental studies at the University of Vermont who combines her concern for the environment with her Buddhist practices.

The book starts with a look at the intimacy that can happen between humans and nature, as well as how Buddhism fits with science.

Kaza then spends time describing what an eco-friendly Buddhism looks like and ends with a section on applying compassion to the issue.


Facets of Faith runs every other Saturday in EatPrayLive. Reach Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@theadvocate.com.