In this series, we highlight books we think our readers may enjoy, written by authors affiliated with the Collegeville Institute.
Embodied: Clergy Women and the Solidarity of a Mothering God
Church Publishing Inc., 2020
by Lee Ann M. Pomrenke
The book is for clergy who are also mothers, with powerful encouragement to share the teeth-gritting beauty of this tension with those who can support us. Stories worthy of tears, chuckles, or groans from the lives of “clergy mamas” may echo the reader’s as the author confronts the assumptions people make about mothers who lead. Every chapter ends with reflection questions for clergy mothers—and some specifically for the people who need to engage with them.
The exhortations of this book are grounded in solid theological reflection. Ultimately, the author points to a practical, lived theology of the determined assertion that every Christian–not just mama, not just the clergy–is crucial to raising the family of God.
Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul
Liturgical Press, September 2021
by Deanna Witkowski
Deanna Witkowski brings a fresh perspective to the life and music of the legendary jazz pianist-composer Mary Lou Williams (1910-’81). As a fellow jazz pianist-composer, adult convert to Catholicism, and liturgical composer, Witkowski offers unique insight gleaned from a twenty-year journey with Williams as her chosen musical and spiritual mentor. Viewing Williams’s musical and corporal acts of mercy as part of a singular effort to create community no matter the context, Witkowski examines how Williams created networks of support and friendship through her long correspondence with various women religious, her charitable work, and her tireless efforts to perform jazz in churches, community centers, concert halls, and schools. Throughout this fascinating story told with love and scholarly research, Witkowski illumines Williams’s passionate mantra that “jazz is healing to the soul.”
Brave Church: Tackling Tough Topics Together
Upper Room Books, June 2021
by Elizabeth Hagan
In today’s deeply divided world, churches need to learn how to talk about sensitive issues. Our society needs brave churches where people can talk about the real struggles they are experiencing without fear of being dismissed, shamed, or judged. In this 6-week small-group study, pastor Elizabeth Hagan weaves personal and theological reflections with scripture, discussion questions, and real-world examples to move readers from exploration to action. Brave Church includes a Leader’s Guide and suggests resources for further reading and action. It guides readers to think through how they can foster conversations about such challenging topics as infertility/miscarriage, mental health, domestic violence, racism, and sexuality.