Messenger books: A life of gracious goodness
Willie Doyle SJ: ‘Much in the Presence of God’ and God in Every Day: A Whispered Prayer are the latest books by Messenger Publications that help inspire readers to follow the path to sainthood. The former is written by a young Jesuit author named Patrick Corkery SJ who offers a multidimensional portrayal of a war hero who touched the lives of many. The latter is written by Deirdre M Powell, an experienced writer and editor who draws from Ignatian spirituality in exploring various images of God and how God may be found in everyday life.
Along with biographical detail, Willie Doyle SJ offers points of reflection and considers the relevance of the complex and moving Jesuit. According to Carolanne Henry of Messenger Publications, Willie Doyle was a multifaceted mix of wartime heroism, penitential spirituality, practical joker and had a tender care for his fellow humans. She says that he continues to fascinate people today, one hundred years on from his death in the First World War.
Some admire his selflessness, others are attracted to his deep spirituality and desire to bring the Word of God to the broadest possible audience. Many draw attention to his sense of humour, positive attitude and upbeat disposition which supported the soldiers to whom he was chaplain during the dark and dangerous times in the trenches. It is thought that a combination of all these qualities has seen the cause for his canonisation gain momentum in recent times.
Willie Doyle was commemorated in an exhibition at a number of events in Dublin in 2017 to mark the centenary of his death in the Battle of Passchendaele, Flanders. He died attempting to save injured soldiers from the battlefield, causing a great blow to those who had known him. The cause for his canonisation has become increasingly popular in recent times.
Willie Doyle SJ: ‘Much in the Presence of God’ by Patrick Corkery SJ is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications. Priced at €4.95/£4.50.
Patrick Corkery is an Irish Jesuit from Cork, currently working in Gonzaga College SJ, Dublin. In his studies for the priesthood he has spent time in the United Kingdom and the United States. He is the author of St Ignatius of Loyola: A Convert’s Story.
God in Every Day is ultimately a book about discernment in that it gently guides readers in their prayer life by recognising God in the world around them. Rooted firmly in Ignatian spirituality, Deirdre M Powell explores familiar images such as God as Parent and God as Shepherd as well as exploring how readers encounter God in art, food, nature and engagement with others.
“Deirdre is a great writer,” say Jim Deeds & Brendan McManus SJ in the foreword, “and her creative use of language tells us that she has the heart of a poet. She, herself, is inspired by God and in her writing she inspires us.”
She uses examples of art, music and poetry to show how people’s contemplation or appreciation of these experiences can help bring them closer to God. With accompanying meditations and prayers for each situation, she demonstrates how God can be present in the preparation of food, in the corner of a garden and in conversations at a bus stop, if people allow themselves to find the spirit at work in the everyday.
Also speaking about the book, Carolanne Henry says:
“During the recent series of lockdowns, many of us grew an appreciation of the natural world around us. As our range of activities – and our distractions – became narrower we had opportunity to focus more on our immediate experiences, on those little things that comprised our daily routine. God in Every Day takes this a step further and encourages us to see the glory of God in what we typically think of as secular situations.”
An experienced writer and editor, Deirdre M Powell has contributed to a variety of print and broadcast media including The St. Martin Magazine, Doctrine and Life, The Sacred Heart Messenger, The Pioneer, Ireland’s Eye and Irish Lives Remembered. She contributed to a “Thought for the Day” for CI.Net for six years. This is her first book.
God in Every Day: A Whispered Prayer by Deirdre M Powell, with a foreword by Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications. Priced at €12.95/£11.95.