"The greater the work the more
important it is to establish it on
a solid foundation. Thus it will
not only be more perfect; it
will also be more lasting.”

St. Louise de Marillac

“Be diligent in serving
the poor. Love the poor,
honor them, my children,
as you would honor
Christ Himself.”

St. Louise de Marillac


Fifty books later, the reading continues

By S. Joyce Richter  

Due to the pandemic, book club members are currently using Zoom technology to continue their monthly meetings.

In the fall of 2003, the late S. Mary Lou Knapke sent out an email to Sisters of Charity and Associates. She was interested in reading and discussing the book, Spiritual Questions of the 21st Century, and wanted to know if anyone would like to join her. Sisters Mary Michele Fischer, Grace Ann Gratsch, Montiel Rosenthal, Joyce Richter and Nancy Bramlage responded. 

The group discussed the book, and enjoyed being together, and so, they decided to discuss another book. Fifty books later, the book club that was formed continues to meet! Over these 17 years, the persons in the group have changed. Sisters Mary Michele and Mary Lou have since passed away, and others have come and gone from the group. Three of the original remain – Sisters Nancy, Grace and Joyce. They are now joined by S. Louise Lears, S. Mary Kay Bush, S. Ann Hunt and Associate Liz Maxwell.

When the pandemic began they stopped meeting for a few months but soon missed the discussions and one another and are now meeting by Zoom. Of the 50 books that they have read, they have covered many topics – spiritual, biography, poetry, environmental, fiction, a little bit of everything. Each person has the opportunity to select the books.

Some of their favorites are listed below and may be of interest to others:

  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer/Barrows
  • The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell
  • Deep Down Dark by Hector Tobar
  • Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  • The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor
  • The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben.

“Reading a good book is always such a pleasure,” said S. Mary Kay Bush. “Sharing the insights gained from the book with others who have read the same book is wonderful. The sharing of assumptions, learnings and insights gained from the book and from Sisters in the book club is like opening a window. There are affirmations, new ways of looking at things and invitations to broaden one’s understandings.”

Associate Liz Maxwell adds of the opportunity, “I find this a great way to meet new authors, to share insights – and to have a little fun with a group!”

Grace Ann Gratsch, who has been in the book club since its beginning, concludes, “Over these 17 years we have helped each other to understand new viewpoints and expand our own. The book club has bonded us. We have gotten to know each other better and have had many laughs through the years. Our relationship and our sense of community have grown through being together.”

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