January 2023

Posted by ida decesaris on

Dear Friends,

As we turn the calendar to a new year, we remember two friends and authors who have recently left us. Delores Williams was the author of Sisters in the Wildernessa towering landmark in womanist theology, and a foundation of so many works in intersectional theology and ethics. We also mourn the passing of Albert Nolan, OP, a South African Dominican and a courageous voice in the struggle against apartheid. His ground-breaking book, Jesus Before Christianity, is the all-time Orbis bestseller, with more than 150,000 copies in print. Now we have issued a new “classic” edition with a foreword by Sister Helen Prejean, one of many who have attested to the life-changing impact of this book.               


Nolan’s work is one of several new Orbis “classics” reissued this season including Carlo Carretto’s I, Francis, a moving evocation of the life of St. Francis, with an introduction by Jon Sweeney; James Cone’s The Spirituals & the Blues, the 50th anniversary edition with an introduction by Cheryl Townsend Gilkes; and a 25th anniversary edition of Henri Nouwen’s final, and most personal book, Adam: God’s Beloved. In an afterword I describe the story behind this book, published after Nouwen’s untimely death in 1996.

Among other new titles we are proud to publish an important new work by Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ and Fr. Christian Barone, Siblings All, Signs of the Times: The Social Teaching of Pope Francis. Cardinal Czerny is the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. His new book, which contains a fascinating introduction by Pope Francis, offers an in-depth reading of the pope’s encyclical Fratelli tutti, tracing the continuity with Vatican II and Catholic social teaching, while showing how it represents a fresh response to the signs of our times.

            Pope Francis has also contributed a foreword to Daniel G. Groody’s A Theology of Migration: The Bodies of Refugees and the Body of Christ. As Peter Phan notes, “This book could not come at a more opportune time. . . Dan Groody teaches us to see the crucified body of Christ in the broken bodies of refugees and how their bodies are transubstantiated into the Eucharistic Body of Christ to give new life to us all.”

            Christopher Kellerman SJ’s All Oppression Shall Cease: A History of Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Catholic Church is a long-overdue assessment of the church’s involvement in one of the great atrocities of human history. It is a most depressing story, which raises timely questions about the church’s accountability around the ongoing legacy of slavery. The most hopeful note is what it says about the capacity of the church to change and even reverse itself on teaching that was once considered irrevocable.

            Finally, some exciting news: Kelly Brown Douglas’s Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter has been declared the winner of the 2023 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. I have no doubt that in 25 years it will be recognized as another Orbis “classic.”

            Don’t forget: through January 23rd get 25% off any and all available Orbis books using code HOL22.


Blessings and Happy New Year,


Robert Ellsberg


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