Friday, March 5, 2021

Lenten Book Club Week 2 - Shenanigans and hospital corners...


Hello all and happy Friday! I hope you are all doing well this second week of Lent. I'm hanging in pretty well. The weather is still quite cold in my part of the world, but the sun is out a whole lot more, and we're seeing a lot more daylight in the evenings now, increasing all of our levels of Vitamin D, which is really important these days. My teaching has started up, and I have 4 of my regular weekly sessions (6 to go) behind me, which feels good. I still have those 2 crazy weeks ahead of me where I'm teaching like 25 Zoom classes 😂, but I feel better prepared for them this semester, so that's a plus. We're really getting there!

This week once again, I raced right through Book 2 of our time with St. Catherine of Siena, and I am so in love with this style of Catholic historical fiction based on the life of a saint. It has me thinking all sorts of fun thoughts for a Summer Book Club, so be prepared to chat about that over Easter. ;-)

When we last left off with Catherine, she felt called to move away the home monastery model of living in her bedroom within her parents' house as if it were a cell, coming out only to worship with the other Mantellates. Instead, she is now working in the hospital, caring for critically ill patients in dire need of TLC. She does return home to be at the deathbed of her father, whose time in purgatory is taken on by Catherine, and she rejoices when he is called to our Lord, and she has the solace of knowing that he is in heaven. 

Catherine is also now encountering members of the local community who are not exactly living their lives in accordance with their faith. We have amusing and endearing anecdotes in this section of a curmudgeonly falconer who has developed a scathing hatred of the Church and the priesthood, that after an encounter with Catherine goes to the parish church to apologize, receive the sacrament of Reconciliation, and gift the priests with his favorite falcon. A local Franciscan who was living a bit too richly off-handedly asks Catherine to pray for him, and suddenly has a revelation that he is not living out his vocation in a way that is pleasing to God, and consequently donates all of his lovely possessions to the poor. There is also a town ladies man having an affair with a married woman who repents and goes to confession, and highly learned British hermit (with a bit of a superiority complex) that Catherine puts in his place. She's discreet, but not exactly shy, our Catherine. 

But her obvious sanctity and calling out of others on their bad behavior ruffles some feathers, to be sure, especially the married woman who has now been cast aside by her former beau. As well, while many of her sister Mantellates adore her, there are some that have not been won over. The rising tide of the gossip mill within their town causes the Prioress to advise Catherine that she is going to be brought before the Master General to face allegations that her time with various townspeople has had a scandalous element to it.

What did you all think of this part?! I really felt for Catherine being on the receiving end of others' jealousy and insecurity. I really admire her spunky personality, and her commitment to her faith. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Really enjoying this book. I like how Catherine can influence people to re-examine their lives in such a subtle yet forceful way. My favorite part was the story of how she prayed for her father as he was dying and her joy in knowing that she had successfully spared him from Purgatory.

    My good news of the week is that darling daughter will be moving into her college dorm on 3/26. So glad that she'll have one term of her freshman year on campus and in person :-)

    1. Hi Dianne!

      Right?! Her presence is so powerful, I am loving all of the stories of how she changed hearts.

      That's so awesome for your daughter, I'm so pleased for both of you! And prayers for a completely (or mostly) normal fall semester for all us!


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!