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Summer Book Group at St. Mary’s

Wednesday, July 20, & Wednesday, August 24 at 7:30PM.

This summer, I invite you to join me in reading two books on the subject of compassion. Compassion is a complex virtue that invites us to radically consider ‘the other’ in all that we do. The Latin roots of compassion are com=with and passus=suffering. Therefore, compassion is the practice of learning to ‘suffer with’ others. Compassion is the cornerstone of greater social connection and leads us to a deeper understanding of ourselves.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus instructs his followers to seek this desirable quality. By reading and discussing two different books on the subject, I hope to open a conversation about how compassion might transform our community and us.

On Wednesday, July 20 we will discuss an engaging book by Fr. Gregory Boyle entitled, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Boyle is a Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries, which seeks to give former gang members employment and counseling. He is a masterful storyteller and has created a book that uses modern parables to unlock some of the complexities of compassion.

On Wednesday, August 24 we will discuss Karen Armstrong’s Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life. Armstrong is a scholar who has written extensively on religion and uses the teaching of various faith traditions to dig into the benefits of compassion. Her twelve steps invite introspection and transformation.

There are copies of the books to borrow or buy in the church office. On the nights of our meetings, we will meet for desert and coffee in the chapter room from 7:30 – 9:00PM.


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