Poetry: the New Adult Coloring Book?

“Is Poetry the New Adult Coloring Book?”

If Publisher’s Weekly’s recent musings on market trends become a reality, Paraclete Press is prepared with a deep backlist in this category. With two new releases in poetry every season, the focus on this genre for a religious publisher is unusual.

Publisher Jon M. Sweeney credits the house’s longstanding friendship with the late Phyllis Tickle (1934-2015) as the inspiration for a commitment to poetry that has been a core charism for the house for many years. As she said, “Paraclete is a house firmly rooted in presenting and curating religious poetry that has deep resonance and potent significance for the shaping of the surrounding culture itself. It means the on-going giving away and sharing of God with humility through mystery.”

Video trailers and social media buzz have taken a more significant role in launching poetry books in the past year, and Paraclete plans an even greater emphasis on reaching new readers through these platforms in the coming months.

Poetry Editor Mark Burrows’s introduction to the recently published Paraclete Poetry Anthology articulates why poetry is becoming increasingly important in our culture: “Poems awaken to us the sense of wonder by which we discover again and again traces of the beauty that saturates our world.”

For more information, contact Sr. Antonia Cleverly, srantonia@paracletepress.com(508) 255-4685 x 329

My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes.

In just over a month we will publish the beautiful title My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes. by author Roger Hutchison. Roger is from the Houston area and his home is right in the path of Hurricane Harvey. He, along with so many others, has evacuated his home and our prayers go out to him. In the midst of all of this Roger is approving the final edits of his book! He graciously sent us this post about the experience that inspired him in his vocation as an artist, and to write this book.

I am an artist. I paint at my Grandmother’s table, a table I once played under as a child and on which I enjoyed vibrant and delicious meals. The table became a Eucharistic symbol for me. It is the place where I go to paint, pray, and remember. It has become such an important place for me, that I knew I had to invite others to the table.

On Friday, May 3, at the invitation of Trinity Episcopal Church, I traveled to Sandy Hook and Newtown, CT.

I was invited to facilitate a painting session with the children of Trinity, Newton, their families, and their Sunday school teachers.

The undercroft of the church was set up with round tables. On each table we had canvas paper, paints, baby wipes, toothpicks, cotton swabs, pencils, writing paper, and scraps of cardboard. Everyone gathered at the tables…mothers with their children, friend with friend, and neighbor with neighbor. We lit a candle, I gave a few instructions, and the painting began.

It was a powerful evening that changed me at a cellular level.

I saw one mother comforting another mother as they both grieved for their friend who lost a child. I had a conversation with a 3rd grade girl who told me she had had a really bad day. Her painting was dark and frantic. I listened to her for a little while—then encouraged her to paint another one. The second painting was a bit more colorful. She took her two paintings and smashed them together. When she pulled them apart, the darkness had lifted. I could see light and love…and a beautiful smile.

I had a conversation with a young mother who told me that she feels guilty sometimes that she still has her children. She shared with me what it was like to take her children home on that tragic day—passing house after house with state patrol cars in the driveways.

And the mother who told me how her first-grader, a big boy for his age, had climbed up into her lap and sobbed when he learned that his friend was not going to be there when he returned to school.

I believe that within the grief that exists in tragedies such as the one that happened in Newtown or in our own personal losses, there is much hope, healing, and possibility.

While there is grief, sadness, and loss, there is also hope. There is an opportunity for celebration as we gather together, break bread, talk, and are welcomed. Whether it is through cooking, painting, or Eucharist, we come together to remember.

The text and illustrations of My Favorite Color is Blue. Sometimes. are designed to guide the reader through different emotions and reactions related to grieving, including shock, tears, anger, and hope. This book encourages and explores the rhythms of grief and healing using color, few words, honesty, and hope. Something I believe we all need.

Paradox at the Heart of Poetry—In Review

August 4, 2017)

Paradox colors the world, especially when seen through the eyes of faith, and paradox is at the heart of these poems. Consider the collection’s title: Still Pilgrim. How can a pilgrim, who is a traveler by definition, be characterized as still? “This world was never made for rest,” says “The Still Pilgrim Ponders a Paradox,” the poem serving as the book’s epilogue. “And still you stay as still can be / unmoved by your velocity.”

In these poems, the Still Pilgrim—seemingly the poet’s alter ego—reflects on longing and the world’s impermanence, the fleetingness of time and vivid memories, piercing joy and piercing grief.

 Even the most intense joys in these poems—as in the real world—never fully break free from the shadow of defeat and sorrow. The reader gets the sense that the Still Pilgrim is making a one-step-forward, two-steps-back kind of progress, which brings to mind C. S. Lewis’s description of fallen human life before God in The Problem of Pain: “Thus . . . all the days of our life, we are sliding, slipping, falling away—as if God were . . . a smooth inclined plane on which there is no resting.”
Companionability is a poetic virtue of special importance in our time and place, and it is abundantly present in O’Donnell’s poems. The Still Pilgrim says of her (by no means affluent) childhood home: “You’d never know we were among the least. / Bread was our mercy. Wine was our cure.” There is a generosity of spirit here, an unself-absorbed openness about the triumphs and vulnerabilities of our common experience of life. O’Donnell’s poems assume—even as they’re reaching toward it—a deep connection, a kind of communion with readers. How countercultural. How necessary here and now.

“We are living in an anti-art age. The world is now a brutal place and obsessed with speed and wealth.” So said singer and songwriter Paul Simon in a 2015 interview, and one could understandably fear, in such an age as ours, that poetry has finally become irrelevant. But I would like to think, and Angela O’Donnell’s engaging and deeply humane poems in Still Pilgrim encourage me in doing so, that poems will go on functioning as diverse mercies we can keep with us—at home or away—for the pleasure of their company and as a means of remembering who we are.

Read the full review from The Christian Century

Angela Alaimo-O’Donnell on how Stil Pilgrim came to be…


Feeding Your Family’s Soul

Paraclete Press
Orleans, Massachusetts
August 11, 2017

For Immediate Release

Since its publication one year ago Feeding Your Family’s Soul by bestselling author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle has been steadily gaining momentum. Written specifically for a Catholic audience, this book answers questions that face all parents of faith: How to keep the family meal time intact, and how to teach children important messages of faith in the midst of a busy and often chaotic life?

Now in its fourth printing, with over 14,000 copies sold, the book has been enthusiastically received by families and religious educators in parishes and schools.

Creative and specific, with lessons, activities, and recipes, this book has launched a brand that also includes laminated prayer cards for families (8,000 sold) and the release of an accompanying DVD. Author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle also has launched a branded TV series, Feeding Your Family’s Soul, that can be seen on EWTN’s network At Home with Jim and Judy show.

Legatus, the magazine for Catholic businessmen, now includes a monthly column, Feeding the Foodie. Donna-Marie shares monthly on the topic of nourishing both the body and the soul! Click here for her post on enjoying the fruits of labor and blessing, and a great recipe for Summer Double Berry Cobbler.

For more information, contact Sr. Antonia Cleverly, srantonia@paracletepress.com, (508) 255-4685 x 329

First Children’s Book on Thomas Merton Published to Acclaim!

Paraclete Press
Orleans, Massachusetts
August 4, 2017

For Immediate Release

On his visit to the USA, Pope Francis hailed Thomas Merton as one of four citizens who have shaped American values.

Until now, there have been no books for young children on the life of this important figure in our faith and spiritual culture. Published at a time when children’s book publishing is experiencing growth, this book teaches about Merton, monasticism, and the Christian life in a simple A – Z format.

The book launched mid-June at the International Thomas Merton Society 15th General Meeting at St. Bonaventure University and has received rave reviews from Patrick O’Connell, co-author of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia, Fr. Dan Horan, author of The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton, Fr. Laurence

Freeman of the World Community for Christian Meditation, Midwest Book Review, as well as Thomas Merton regional chapter coordinators nationwide.

Unique and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ in tone, organization, and presentation, The ABCs of Thomas Merton: A Monk at the Heart of the World is as informative as it is entertaining and certain to be a popular addition to elementary school collections.”  — Midwest Book Review

“We now know for sure that children have an innate contemplative gift. It is so important that they are introduced to the church’s contemplative tradition early in life and Greg Ryan’s book for them on Merton will help them grow in this wisdom. Greg has perfect pitch in understanding the child’s mind and he has produced an invaluable asset for their early steps on life’s spiritual journey.” — Fr. Laurence Freeman, World Community for Christian Meditation

For more information, contact Sr. Antonia Cleverly, srantonia@paracletepress.com(505) 255-4685 x 329.


New Martin E. Marty title sells in excess of 10,000 copies – author to give a rare talk

Paraclete Press
Orleans, Massachusetts
July 28, 2017

For Immediate Release

Given the upcoming quincentenary of Martin Luther’s posting the 95 Theses upon the Wittenberg Door in Germany, which sparked the Reformation and convulsed Europe, publishers have been pouring out new books.

However, few of them have met with the success of Martin E. Marty’s October 31, 1517: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World (May 2016 / Paraclete Press / ISBN 978-1612616568 / Hardcover / $19.99), which has already sold in excess of 10,000 copies.

A 4th printing has been ordered by the Press and author Marty, who no longer travels, is giving a rare talk on the book October 18th, 2017 at The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage at Loyola University in Chicago (just a couple of miles from the author’s home in Hancock Tower). Dr. Marty will be interviewed at this all day conference by Paraclete Press’s incoming publisher and editor-in-chief, Jon M. Sweeney.

For more information, contact Sr. Antonia Cleverly, srantonia@paracletepress.com.

EWTN’s 2017 Family Celebration in Worcester, Mass.

July 5, 2017
Come to EWTN’s 2017 Family Celebration in Worcester, Mass.
Celebrate The 100th Anniversary of Fatima With Headliners Such As
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, Marcus Grodi, Susan Conroy,
Fr. Maurice Emelu & Donna Marie Cooper O’Boyle
Irondale, AL (EWTN) – Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Fatima with EWTN at the Network’s 2017 Family Celebration Sept. 9-10 at the DCU Convention Center in Worcester, Mass. Headliners include Father Mitch Pacwa (“EWTN Live”), Marcus Grodi (“The Journey Home”), Susan Conroy, Fr. Maurice Emelu, and Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.
In addition, EWTN Chairman & CEO Michael P. Warsaw will host a not-to-be-missed Family Talk with EWTN President Doug Keck (“EWTN Bookmark”), EWTN Chaplain Father Joseph Mary Wolfe, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, and more.
“My favorite part of every Celebration is meeting our EWTN Family members from near and far,” Warsaw said. “This Celebration is our thank you to them for their love and support throughout the years.”

John Warmerdam, Frank Fagundes, Miguel Valadao, and Freddy Avila, all from Hanford, California, show their support for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Saturday January 28, 2006 during EWTN’s 25th Anniversary celebration in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Greg Tarczynski)

The headlining talks are only the beginning. Guests will also have the opportunity to be part of a studio audience for a taping of a special “EWTN Family Celebration Live Show,” celebrate Mass with Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus and EWTN’s Friars, and meet EWTN hosts and authors while browsing the EWTN Religious Catalogue shop.
Plus, there will be plenty of opportunity for Adoration and Confession, and children will be thrilled to meet some of their favorite characters from “EWTN Faith Factory.” EWTN Radio will broadcast live on-site throughout the weekend and staff from the National Catholic Register will be on hand to answer your questions. You’ll even have an opportunity to join EWTN in its mission of evangelization by becoming an EWTN Media Missionary!
It’s a feast for the mind, the heart, and the spirit! For more information, please go to our website: ewtn.com/familycelebration.
We look forward to seeing you there!

EWTN’s FREE 2017 Family Celebration comes to Worcester, Mass. Sept. 9-10.

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 36th year, is the largest religious media network in the world. EWTN’s 11 TV channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 268 million television households in more than 145 countries and territories. EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 500 domestic and international AM & FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; the largest Catholic website in the U.S.; electronic and print news services, including Catholic News Agency, “The National Catholic Register” newspaper, and several global news wire services; as well as EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
For More Information, Please Contact:
Michelle Johnson
Director of Communications
EWTN Global Catholic Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, Alabama 35210-2198 USA
(205) 795-5769 – Office
(205) 441-6248 – Cell
(205) 795-5781 – Fax
More information about Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle’s Feeding Your Family’s Soul and Feeding Your Family’s Soul DVD!

News about Paraclete Press and Jon M. Sweeney

For Immediate Release
Sister Antonia Cleverly
1-800-451-5006 ext. 329

Paraclete Press Announces Jon M. Sweeney as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

July 5, 2017 — Brewster, Massachusetts, USA: Paraclete Press, a publisher of books, recordings, and other media which represent a full expression of Christian belief and practice across denominations, cultures, and ages, is pleased to announce the hiring of Jon M. Sweeney as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief effective September 1, 2017.

Sweeney held those two titles at Paraclete Press for many years, concluding in 2015 when he left to work in Catholic publishing. He is currently the Executive Editor for Trade Books at Ave Maria Press in Notre Dame, Indiana, and will remain in that capacity until re-joining Paraclete in September.

Benedictine spirituality is at the heart of Paraclete’s publishing. Paraclete publishes materials that unite and enrich Christian understanding (whether Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, or Evangelical) and nourish the vibrant life of the church and its people.

Jon M. Sweeney has been a bookseller, editor, author, independent scholar, and book publisher for 28 years. As editor and publisher, he has seen nearly 500 books through publication. As an author, he is best known for The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation, published by Image/Random House and optioned by HBO. He is also the author of many books about Francis of Assisi, most of which have been published by Paraclete Press, including Francis of Assisi in His Own Words, and have combined sales of more than 125,000 copies. Jon is married, the father of four, and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“We are delighted to welcome Jon Sweeney back to Paraclete,” said Paraclete Press’s president, Robert Edmonson. “Jon’s publishing expertise and editorial skills will enhance Paraclete’s wide range of products that offer the gift of hope that changes lives.”

For interviews please contact Sister Antonia Cleverly, Director of Marketing:
phone 1-800-451-5006 ext. 329, email srantonia@paracletepress.com.


PO Box 1568  •  Orleans, MA  02653  •  (508) 255-4685  •  FAX (508) 255-5705
www.paracletepress.com  •  srantonia@paracletepress.com

Guest blog from Carlen Maddux!

What I Heard on My Book Tour

I’m back in St. Pete from my 10-day “book tour” in Tennessee. Believe it or not, hometown friends even asked me to return to Cookeville. LOL.

I shared our story with 160 or more folks at the Alzheimer’s Tennessee conference in Knoxville and at to venues in Cookeville. On top of those, I also had two media interviews, which may come out later.

Those attending had questions and made a lot of comments, a few of which I’ll pass along to you.

Before doing that, though, I want to recount the overarching theme I shared with these groups…

I’m back in St. Pete from my 10-day “book tour” in Tennessee. Believe it or not, hometown friends even asked me to return to Cookeville. LOL.

I shared our story with 160 or more folks at the Alzheimer’s Tennessee conference in Knoxville and at to venues in Cookeville. On top of those, I also had two media interviews, which may come out later.

“A health crisis like Alzheimer’s is often addressed by the medical community as a physical issue only. But my experience over the last two decades has shown me that Alzheimer’s and many other crises—health or otherwise—are also embedded with emotional, psychological, and spiritual issues that must be realized and resolved as best we can if we want to have any healing. Issues like fear, guilt, stigma, confusion, bitterness, anger, depression … and I could go on and on.

This was true for my wife Martha and me, and I suspect it’s true for many. You’ll have to decide if it is for you.

My hometown library

Reflecting on this theme, and depending on the allotted time, I explored with these groups three of our family’s experiences, which you may recognize from earlier posts:

This is one of the first questions I was asked: You said you got advice early on to be gentle with yourself, which you found so difficult. Why was it difficult for you?

My response: First off, I’ve been driven much of my life by an obsession that I now perceive to be a disease called “perfectionism.” If I didn’t get something right, I often beat myself up. And a volatile issue like Alzheimer’s can drive even the healthiest of caregivers nuts. As soon as some stability appears, the floor can drop out from under you. This is why I keep saying to fellow caregivers, “If you truly want to take care of your loved one, you must first learn to take care of yourself.” It’s not easy. In fact it may be the hardest lesson a loving caregiver must learn; it seems so counter-intuitive.

Echoing my perfectionist tendencies, Martha and I were told by the nun we visited in Kentucky: “You might want to explore the difference between willfulness and willingness.” It took me a long time to understand that difference. We both were stubborn and we operated in willful enterprises, Martha in politics and I as an entrepreneur publishing a magazine.

These are a couple of the reasons that it finally dawned on me that I needed to be healed in my own way as much as Martha did in hers.

Question: Much of your experience described in your book brings out the skeptic in me. Nonetheless, I’m intrigued.

Answer: We were told by the medical community that there’s no hope with Alzheimer’s. Were there some chance of recovery, or at least some protracted delay of the symptoms, I doubt my readings would have been as far-reaching or our contacts and encounters as diverse. But when you’re desperate to find a way out of your dilemma you’ll do almost anything and go almost anywhere. By exploring the medical and spiritual outposts described in my book, I learned this about myself:       I truly grow only when I step outside my comfort zones.

Sharing our story at the Alzheimer’s Tennessee conference

Q: Are you saying that you can damage your health by carrying resentment and not forgiving someone?

 A: I’m saying it can increase the odds of that occurring. I first heard such 2+2=4 logic from my mentor, the late Canon Jim Glennon, an Anglican priest in Sydney, Australia. Resentment and fear, he told me, often are drivers of stress. He learned this the hard way through his studies and personal experience. And medical research is bearing him out today as it reveals ever more clearly how long-term stress can damage our immune system. Until diving deep into Canon Glennon’s teachings, I’d always thought of forgiveness as a nice religious virtue that I could do at a time and place of my choosing, whenever it was convenient for me.

No more.

While listening to Canon Glennon’s tapes, I was reminded of this startling statement by Frederick Buechner in his book Wishful Thinking: “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”

Ouch! Suddenly the importance of forgiveness hit me square between the eyes. And Martha and I began to work on our long-held resentments. I learned quickly enough the importance of not only forgiving those who hurt me through the years but also of forgiving myself of failed efforts long past as well as for my failures in caring for Martha. That’s what I mean by being gentle with myself.

Q: How did your children react to their mother’s illness?

A: I don’t have time to go into detail here; I do devote a chapter in my book A Path Revealed to their responses. Nonetheless, our children gave me the greatest gift possible—a weekend a month off while they stayed with their mother; I usually went to a nearby monastery. I believe our children today support each other more than they would have otherwise. Not that I would wish such a crisis on anyone in order for the adult children to get along.


The more I’ve talked with groups, the more I refer to our 17-year struggle with Alzheimer’s as an odyssey rather than a journey. The word “journey” feels too tame. It feels to me like you’re walking easily along a path toward some planned destination.

An “odyssey” in its classical sense begins when you find yourself lost in an alien land—hurt, scared, and confused. You want to get back home; you’re desperate to get home. You’ll risk almost anything to get there, you’ll endure almost anything. And you will experience things never before imagined. When you do get home, you realize that home is not the same place as when you left. Nor are you the same person. That better describes the path traveled by Martha, our children, and me.

I’ll close with this observation that I shared with the groups in Tennessee: Twenty years ago Martha turned 50 and within three weeks was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. After all we went through since that diagnosis, I now understand that there’s a vast difference between believing in God and in believing God. I’ll be chewing on that insight the rest of my life.

Thank you. It’s good to be back.


P.S. As usual, feel free to forward this post to your friends and family. If you’d like to sign up for my blog, it’s free; just click here.

P.P.S. My book, A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s, can be found on Amazon or ordered from any bookstore.

Shalom in the Home with Jerusalem Jackson Greer!

Shalom in the Home host Osheta talks with Paraclete author Jerusalem Jackson Greer!

From FOMO to Benedictine Monastic traditions, learning to love the life you have and Jerusalem’s second book  “At Home in this Life: Finding Peace at the Crossroads of Unraveled Dreams and Beautiful Surprises”—it’s all here!

Listen to the conversation here, (Episode 36)