Prayer of St. Francis de Sales
May the Lord guide me and all those who write for a living. Through your prayers, St. Francis de Sales, I ask for your intercession as I attempt to bring the written word to the world. Let us pray that God takes me in the palm of His hand and inspires my creativity and inspires my success. St. Francis de Sales, you understand the dedication required in this profession. Pray for God to inspire and allow ideas to flow. In His name, let my words reflect my faith for others to read. Amen.
(shared with me by Springfield writer Michael Louis Pulley)
Thank you to the Women’s Guild, to Bill Morris, and especially to Father Gerry for the chance to talk with St. Paul’s Parish about my novel, Morkan’s Quarry. It’s the story of a father’s love for his son and that son’s loyalty in return during that old American catastrophe, the Civil War. The Morkans own the limestone quarry in Springfield, Missouri, then and now the largest settlement in the Missouri Ozarks. In the book, Michael Morkan is forced to give up his quarry’s black powder to the Rebel army and is imprisoned as a traitor and that’s where we’ll start with his story.
I’m going to read to you from the fruit of a journey, and I would like to tell you a little bit about it.
When I started this novel in 1993, I was not a Catholic. I came from two generations of lapsed German Catholics. In fact of all the Evertzs, my mother’s people from St. Louis, there was only one living practicing Catholic left, my great aunt Rosemary, Aunt Rosie to all of us grandchildren. I knew in 1993 I wanted to write from the point of view of Irish Catholics, who would have the outsiders’ eye on my hometown of Springfield. An Irish Catholic, a poet and teacher in the writing program at the University of Arkansas, learned of this. His name is Michael Heffernan. And he said, come with me to Mass. He introduced me to Father Mark Dennis Wood, and with the help of Brother Francis Guertin, a Franciscan brother and a historian of the Church, they taught me about old, Irish Catholicism. At the poet’s insistence I kept going to Mass with him, and at home steeped myself in a whole library of materials Father Mark loaned me. And I began to write Morkan’s Quarry, learning about the belief structure of the Morkans, learning what mattered to them.
In 1995 I was baptized and confirmed into the Church at St. Joseph’s in Fayetteville. And let me tell you, in St. Louis, my aunt Rosie, eighty by then, celebrated with a vigorous zeal that Easter vigil. She knew and told many she knew that there was now one more living Catholic Evertz. And, though German to her core, she didn’t even complain about the pathway being so Irish.
I think my journey is proof that you cannot know what sort of adventure God intends for you, and you certainly cannot know how long and how far that travel will take you once you say yes.
So Sunday, July 25 from 3-5 p.m., I’ll read a part of the book.
In it Michael Morkan is a prisoner, condemned as a traitor and headed for St. Louis on foot in winter, which is serious travel in Missouri.
Signed copies are available right now at Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson; ring 601.366.7619. Books will be available for sale at the Family Life Center Gymnasium at St. Paul’s. A substantial portion of the proceeds of each book sold Sunday July 25 will go to the St. Paul Parish Building Fund.
An update: At the July 25 signing, we sold out. And people were waiting in line. Parishioners who couldn’t attend or who didn’t get a book Sunday and still want a copy that benefits the building fund may call the parish office. Bill Morris is maintaining and building a list. Ring 601.992.9547.
Thank you, Saint Paul’s Parish, the Knights of Columbus, the Women’s Guild, and especially Bill Morris and Father Gerry for the chance to share my work with my fellow parishioners.