September 2022: New Resources

New Resources


A Whispered Prayer

Deirdre M. Powell

Messenger Publications, 2022
ISBN 9781788125352 • pp. 112

In sharing her words of grace and wisdom, Deirdre M. Powell, an experienced writer and editor, gently steers her readers along a path to greater discernment and an appreciation of finding our Maker in ‘the little bits and pieces of Everyday’ (Patrick Kavanagh) as she explores the various manifestations of God in our world.

     As well as the familiar images of God as Parent and God as Shepherd, the author draws on examples of nature, art, music and poetry to demonstrate the omnipresence of a loving Creator. Permeated with Ignatian spirituality and a Pope Francis-like commitment to cherish our environment, the author speaks to the head, the heart and the hands – all touchstones of prayer where we may rediscover our ordinary lives as places where the Spirit is at work.

     Dr Powell’s book is presented in two parts: Finding God in the Everyday and Everyday Images of God. Each chapter follows a carefully wrought pattern of exposition, relevant scripture passage, meditation and prayer. Many of the inspirational points are God- and faith-centric, though these are clothed in the language and experiences of the everyday person.

     A poet at heart, the author has created a sacred space for her readers where the inner landscape of the human heart, so often lost or unexplored in the busyness of daily life, can be refreshed and restored on this route of guided enlightenment. We Christians are called to be people of the Resurrection, jubilant and ready to spread joy wherever life takes us – ‘You don’t think yourself into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking. The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it’ (Henri Nouwen).

Reviewer: Mary Adamson, Bryanstown, Drogheda



How to Mentor Your Ageing Mind

Dr Declan Lyons

Beehive Books, 2022
ISBN 978 1 80097 013 7
pp. 197 • €19.99/stg£17.99

Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. (Sarah Williams)

     The old astronomer in the famous 1868 poem, Twilight Hours, may well be speaking in a different context but his timeless words of hope, sanguinity and resilience seem to perfectly capture the beating heart and positive thrust of this very important book. Dr Lyons views ageing as ‘an accelerated series of opportunities to gain psychological and spiritual maturity’ (p. 192) and has produced a holistic prescription for ageing wisely and with dignity.

     Mindcrafting promotes a powerful new approach to how readers think about our final decades which seeks to revolutionise the way we plan for old age as individuals, family members, and citizens within a society where the average life expectancy continues to rise. Old age is not an illness and despite our often unspoken fears about diminished physical and mental powers, the author contends that in fact very little changes as ‘most people still feel largely the same on the inside, even if the exterior all-weather paint is cracking a little’ (p. 30).

     Resolutely rejecting the notion that ageing inevitably brings infirmity and misery, Dr Lyons focusses on health-span rather than lifespan and offers a cache of practical, evidence-based guidance for living longer and better – echoing G.B. Shaw’s philosophy, ‘I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations’.

Reviewer: Mary Adamson, Bryanstown, Drogheda



‘Much in the Presence of God’

Patrick Corkery SJ

Messenger Publications, 2022
ISBN 9781788125512 • pp. 54

Fr Willie Doyle has haunted me for several years’. This intriguing opening sentence sets the tone as the reader is introduced to a multidimensional portrayal of the noted Jesuit–teacher, mission preacher, WW1 chaplain, wartime hero and potential candidate for canonisation. Patently a labour of love and a product of wide reading and deep reflection, Fr Corkery’s short, well-researched booklet is packed with biographical detail, points of reflection and an exploration of Doyle’s significance for Christians today.

     Eschewing old-fashioned hagiography, the author distils for the modern reader much of the ‘of its time’ commentary, perceptions and attitudes available from Fr Doyle’s extant letters, writings and early biographies. He does not simply pass on the data extracted from this wide array of sources; instead he articulates how this complex deeply spiritual man personifies the Jesuit mission of seeking God in all things, questioning rules and engaging with the world – all for the greater glory of God.

     More than just a mere biography, this is a booklet that makes the reader think. Fr Corkery’s clearly organised plan of chapters followed by soul-searching ‘Time to Reflect’ questions and a synthesis chapter – ‘What Can Willie Doyle Teach People Today’ – which coupled with his lucid prose and earnest manner of addressing his readers’ own spiritual needs – makes Willie Doyle SJ ‘Much in the Presence of God’ an exceptionally accessible and thought-provoking work. An epitome of the ‘Jesuit gene… an inner compulsion to do more’ (R. B. Kaiser 2014) Willie Doyle continues to inspire. Jesuits are never content with simply preserving the status quo – are we?

Reviewer: Mary Adamson, Bryanstown, Drogheda