FULL OF GRACE by Terry Golway

Full of Grace

Full of Grace (An Oral Biography of John Cardinal O’Connor)/Terry Golway/Pocket Books/New York, NY/2001/236pp.
Finished 2/5/7 Rating: 10

Father Mac Culver gave me a copy of this book after I overheard him and Fr. Patrick Stuart discussing it at a clergy retreat in Oregon. I found myself unable to put it down. The book is made up of very short (one or two page) vingettes by people who had personal contact with the Cardinal – family, friends, clergymen, politians, people from every walk of life. I would read a few, and then “just one more”. And then “just one more”. And so it went.

The overriding theme from all these recollections is that the Cardinal was a caring man. My favorite story was by “Margarita” (not her real name), an abused, pregnant-out-of-wedlock South American woman who found herself on the brink of suicide when she encountered Cardinal O’Connor (not knowing who he was). He literally saved her life and gave her purpose, but the incredible thing was his continued personal pastoral care of Margarita and her son over the years.

The book also shows the Cardinal’s humor, discipline, political finesse and wisdom. When I finished it I wrote on the back flyleaf, “Oh that I could be one-fiftieth the man the cardinal was. Pray for me Cardinal O’Connor.”

I highly recommend this book for every clergyman who reads this post, and for anyone else who enjoys heartwarming portrayals of saintly folk.

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