Hawthorne and the Pope

As pointed out by the commenter Dan over at Amy Welborn’s blog, the pope extensively paraphrased some imagery from Nathaniel Hawthorne, the American anti-transcendentalist writer (the imagery is well worth a read). Now Hawthorne is much better known for stories that are haunted with the past of American puritanism, and his novels and stories are not really Catholic, but did you know his daughter who converted to Catholicism is a candidate for sainthood?  And the process was started by Cardinal Egan. Here’s an interesting piece on sainthood by the New York Cardinal.

Read more about Rose Hawthorne (Sister Alphonsa) here. If you really want to do some digging, Rose Hawthorne has some poetry available in the Project Gutenberg.  I leave you with this childhood glimpse of Catholicism from her “Memories of Hawthorne”: 

Through the streets of Rome trotted in brown garb and great unloveliness a frequent monk, brave and true; and each of these, I was led by the feminine members of the family, to regard as a probable demon, eager for my intellectual blood. A fairer sight were the Penitents, in neat buff clothes of mon-astic outline, their faces covered with their hoods, whose points rose overhead like church steeples, two holes permit-ting the eyes to peep with beetle glistenings upon you. They went hurryingly along, called from their worldly affairs; and my mother imparted to me her belief that they were some-what free of superstition because undoubtedly clean. Some-times processions of them chanting, came slowly through the city, bearing the dead to burial. I did not know then, that the chanting was the voicing of good, honest, Bible-derived prayers; I thought it was child’s play, useless and fascinating. In the churches the chanting monks and boys impressed me differently. Who does not feel, without a word to reveal the fact, the wondrous virtue of Catholic religious observance in the churches? The holiness of these regions sent through me waves of peace (376—77).


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One Comment on “Hawthorne and the Pope”

  1. […] Holy Family.  From a letter by Elizabeth Hoar to Sophia Hawthorne, from Memories of Hawthorne by Rose Hawthorne. Explore posts in the same categories: […]

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