Publishers Letter For March 2023

Posted by ida decesaris on

Dear Friends,


Ten years ago, in March 2013, Pope Francis first appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s and asked the People of God to pray for him. As became clear in the days and years that followed, the choice of his papal name, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, was a telling indication of his own agenda. Like his namesake, he has set out to renew the church and its mission with special regard for the poor and those on the margins; to emphasize the theme of mercy; to reach out in friendship to other religions; to promote peace, justice, and care for the earth.


All these themes have long characterized our work, and in the work of Pope Francis we found a new reference point for our program. Among other things, we have published more than twenty volumes of his writings—a library we are happy to offer at a 25% discount this month. We are also happy to mark this anniversary with two new books: Walking Together: The Way of Synodality, a collection of Pope Francis’s writings on this vital theme, with an introduction by Sister Nathalie Becquart, XMCJ; and Walking with Pope Francis: The Official Documents in Everyday Language, edited by Maryknoll Father James H. Kroeger, with a foreword by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle.


We were honored in 2020 to receive a letter from Pope Francis, congratulating Orbis on our 50th anniversary. He urged us to continue our work “in that difficult and delicate task of creating volumes that give flight to the spirit and help reach the places where new narratives and paradigms are being formed.” Several new titles reflect that call.


All the Way In: A Story of Activism, Incarceration, and Organic Farming by Jeanne Clark, OP, recounts her ongoing journey in religious life, moving from conventional ministries to a growing engagement with nonviolent witness, peace activism, and care for the earth. Robert J. Wicks, in Let’s Look Together, offers an introduction to Henri Nouwen as a spiritual mentor, relating his concerns for such solitude, “ordinariness,” compassion, community, vulnerability and prayer, to our own spiritual calling. In The Ethics of Doing Nothing: Rest, Rituals, and the Modern World Andrew Blosser shows how practices of rest, Sabbath-keeping, and vigils offer tools in confronting a culture focused on productivity, with implications both for the earth and for our spiritual well-being.


Finally, in The Book of Cain: On Adding a New Book to the Family Bible, Jesuit Bill Cain, author of the bestselling The Diary of Jesus Christ, offers a moving account of the months he spent caring for his mother through her terminal cancer. With humor, affection, self-awareness, and his skills as a prize-winning playwright, he invites us to consider the ways that God’s story is written in all the everyday dramas of family life—especially those that open our hearts, teach us to give and let go, and remind us what it means to be human.


Pope Francis has taught us the same. Ten years ago he asked us to pray for him. So we have, and so we will.




Robert Ellsberg



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