Fall Book Club Suggestions

From Forum speakers Jennifer Fulwiler and Katie Prejean

By Nancy Belmont, Director of Faith Formation

I am trying to “live the dream” now. I’m determined, to paraphrase St. Catherine of Siena, to be who God meant me to be so I can set the world on fire. I’m becoming this person as I shuttle my middle schooler to football practice, write papers for grad school, order religious education curriculum, and put writing articles for The Well on the back burner while I hose out nasty potty seats (true story!). 

In my downtime, I love to unwind with spiritual memoirs, encouraging tales of the soldiers of the church militant, striving to live lives of integrity and purpose amidst the temptations and frustrations of the world. 

One Beautiful Dream

Jennifer Fulwiler, one of our speakers for Forum 2020, describes the struggle for holiness and wholeness in her memoir One Beautiful Dream. Jennifer’s book posits, Is it possible to pursue your passions, love your family, and not feel guilty about wanting to do both?Spoiler alert: Jennifer is discovering that the answer is, “yes,” but the journey is circuitous and not what she would have planned, but it is gloriously grace-filled.

I became acquainted with Jennifer through her honest and humorous blog which chronicles her life as a mom of six, writer, and comedian. I also read her first book, Something Other Than God, which is no light-hearted spiritual romp, but a thoughtful, well-reasoned account of her atheist to Catholic conversion. This fall, I plan to delve into One Beautiful Dream and ponder how my own beautiful, messy dream aligns with God’s joyous plans for me. 

Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist

As the new school year begins, I’m also excited to read Forum speaker Katie Prejean’s memoir about her experience as a new teacher at her Catholic alma mater, Room 24: Adventures of a New Evangelist. Like anyone armed with a degree, good intentions, and a plan, Katie enters the classroom determined to increase her students’ understanding of God. Of course, it’s not that easy! 

I’m interested to read how Katie’s career developed into a ministry as her successes and failures led her to “evangelize young people by building relationships in joyful, humble, and prayerful ways.” 

We must always realize that, despite our best efforts, it’s the Holy Spirit that does the convincing and converting. Most importantly, we must avail ourselves of the Spirit so He can work through us. When we cooperate with Him, He can transform us, our work, and those around us most fully.

Katie also wrote books for teens, including Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus, a practical guide for teens to grow in their relationship with Our Savior, and the devotional Lent: One Day at a Time for Catholic Teens.