Ron Hansen @ America

America intern Sean Salai has a nice brief interview of one of my favorite Catholic writers here. On Jesuit influence in his life:

I pretty much hated school until I encountered Jesuit teaching in high school, I learned to love retreats with them, and I sought out Jesuit professors whenever I could at Creighton University. My first taste of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., occurred there in a Modern British Poetry class, and he’s been a great influence on me and my writing ever since. My twin brother Rob was a Jesuit in the Wisconsin Province for quite a while so his novitiate and various assignments became familiar to me. I became acquainted with Ignatius’s autobiography, which led me to a 19th Annotation Retreat, and finally to the 30-Day Retreat with the Spiritual Exercises at Eastern Point in Massachusetts.

I’ve blogged about the best novel I’ve read in the past decade. When I was at retreat/classes earlier this summer, I encountered his short bio, “The Pilgrim: Saint Ignatius Loyola.” Absolutely luminous writing.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Ron Hansen @ America

  1. Liam says:

    There’s a great deal of competition for greatest opening passages in American fiction, but “Mariette in Ecstasy” would be way up there among the nominees for greatest closing passage.(Its principal competition would include the longer passage that closes Flannery O’Connor’s “Revelation” – I am omitting the appropriate-to-character-in-this-context-given-the-Omniscient-Narrator use of the N word in order to avoid this caught in a spam filter; forgive me, Miss O’Connor – the phrase “even their virtues were being burned away” betrays Patristic depth of wisdom:

    “She [Mrs. Turpin] bent her head slowly and gazed, as if through the very heart of mystery, down into the pig parlor at the hogs. They had settled all in one corner around the old sow who was grunting softly. A red glow suffused them. They appeared to pant with a secret life. Until the sun slipped finally behind the tree line, Mrs. Turpin remained there with her gaze bent to them as if she were absorbing some abysmal life-giving knowledge. At last she lifted her head. There was only a purple streak in the sky, cutting through a field of crimson and leading, like an extension of the highway, into the descending dusk. She raised her hands from the side of the pen in a gesture hieratic and profound. A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were rumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white-trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black n*****s in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the God- given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer. They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces that even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered her hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a minute the vision faded but she remained where she was, immobile.
    At length she got down and turned off the faucet and made her slow way on the darkening path to the house. In the woods around her the invisible cricket choruses had struck up, but what she heard were the voices of the souls climbing upward into the starry field and shouting hallelujah.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your link is incorrect or broken — it leads to something about Archbishop John Nienstadt rather than to a Ron Hansen Interview

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