At Home in the Mysteries of Christ by Jim McManus CSsR. (Redemptorist Publications, £7.95). Fr McManus, a Redemptorist priest, has written a timely book on “the grace of the rosary”. This beautiful prayer, which in all her recent apparitions Our Lady has appealed to the faithful to pray daily, is being rediscovered as an effective method for contemplating the mysteries of Christ. Explaining each Mystery in turn, including the Mysteries of Light which were added to the traditional form by St John Paul II, Fr McManus encourages those who may not be familiar with this devotion.
Consecrated Life by Mary Bride Njoku OSB (St Paul’s, £15). The author, a Benedictine nun in Nigeria who studied for a doctorate in theology in Rome, provides a scholarly and thought-provoking exposition of the nature of the consecrated life of a religious Sister. Reflecting on the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, she shows how rich and fruitful this way of Christian living is for the whole Church. Her book emphasises the unique witness of the consecrated life, as well as its prophetic and eschatological nature. It is a theme highly relevant for today’s individualistic society.
The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright by Ann M Little (Yale University Press, £30). This extraordinary slice of colonial American history tells the tale of Esther Wheelwright: born and raised in New England, captured by the Wabanaki at the age of seven, and raised in their ranks as a Catholic. By 12, Wheelwright found herself in a French-Canadian Ursuline convent, and she would go on to enjoy an illustrious career, culminating in her appointment as a mother superior. Few figures crossed so many cultural borders and Ann Little deserves huge credit for reminding us of her amazing story.
Numbering My Days by Chene Heady (Gracewing, £13). The author, a convert and scholar of religion, describes how his days were ruled by frenzied timekeeping, until he decided to organise his life according to a different set of rules. “How the Liturgical Calendar Rearranged My Life” is the subtitle of this honest, thoughtful, year-long experiment by Heady to re-focus his life and give greater meaning to the demands of the timetable and the needs of his wife and young daughter. Everyone battling on a similar treadmill will learn from his wise reflections on the Church’s feasts, seasons and daily readings.
The Nine Lives of John Ogilby by Alan Ereira (Duckworth / Overlook, £25). The subtitle describes Ogilby as “Britain’s Master Map Maker” and promises to reveal “His Secrets”. Many mysteries remain and, while Ereira’s analysis is sometimes a little fanciful, it provides an entertaining jaunt through the conflicted world of Stuart England. We follow Ogilby from his time as a dance instructor to barrister to his elevation as royal cosmographer to Charles II. His famous work Britannia, we’re told, was “part of a plot that reached to the very highest levels of power and was meant to reshape the country”.
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