Friday, October 28, 2011

A beginner's guide to Father Daniel A. Lord S.J.

After Father Joseph Mary Wolfe MFVA read Father Daniel A. Lord S.J.'s article "Cancer Is My Friend" in his homily on EWTN yesterday, many people were moved to search online for the article. I know this because their web searches led them to some of the posts I have written on this blog about Father Lord (1888-1955), whose life and witness is a great source of inspiration to me. (Click the "Daniel A. Lord" tag below to see those posts.)

Since several readers have also written to me during the past day to ask for information about Father Lord, here is a brief "beginner's guide" to help those who would like to get to know him better:

  • Audio: A spoken-word LP record by Father Lord titled So I'm Dying of Cancer! is available online as a free download (right-click the album title to download). The first half of the recording features an interview with Father Lord from June 1954, five months after his diagnosis with terminal cancer, while the second half is a talk of his that was apparently given before his cancer diagnosis, perhaps in February 1953 (judging by the Sunday Mass reading he mentions). If you thought Father Joseph Mary's homily was inspiring, listen to this recording to hear the same message in Father Lord's own voice. It was generously put online by Kliph Nesteroff of Classic Television Showbiz, who owns the only copy of the LP known to exist.

    Another type of audio offering of Father Lord's work that is available for free online comes via a very thoughtful woman known only as Marie Therese, who has created audiobooks of three of his novels. (That link will take you to the listing of the novels' titles; click on an title to see options for downloading the book.) I've listened to one of them so far, Red Arrows in the Night, and found it very engaging. It's a delightful World War II-era spy thriller with heroes and a heroine who find time for attending morning Mass together.
  • Books and pamphlets: The best books to start with are Father Lord's autobiography Played by Ear and Letters to My Lord, a posthumous work comprising letters he wrote to God in January 1954, before and after his diagnosis with terminal lung cancer. Both are beautifully written, with Letters to My Lord being particularly poignant (a brief excerpt is here, adapted into the form of a poem). Used copies of both titles are available cheaply from online stores, and Played by Ear is available as a free download from the Internet Archive.

    Although Father Lord wrote many books, he was better known in his time for writing about three hundred pamphlets, which had combined sales in the tens of millions. I have found two websites that offer free PDF files of some of them. To make your search easier, here are specialized links that will take you to Google's lists of the Father Lord pamphlets to be found on each of the following sites: and (Note that these sites' webmasters have re-typed the pamphlets, so the text you are reading is not necessarily the original text. Usually, save for some typographical errors, the re-typed versions are faithful to the originals, but one webmaster occasionally inserts his own commentary in brackets, which can be intrusive, as with "That Wonderful Sunday Mass.")

    If you would like to see what Father Lord's pamphlets originally looked like, "All American Girl," a vocation story about a Carmelite, is available as a free download from the Internet Archive. (That link will take you to a page that lists all the Father Lord downloads available from the archive, which also include the beautiful children's pamphlet "The Story of Christmas," as well as Played by Ear and the audiobooks already mentioned. Two links for "All American Girl" are listed—click the one that's farther down the page, as the first one doesn't work.)

I hope these links help you get to know and love Father Lord as I do. His work has greatly inspired me, particularly in writing my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (due April 2012 from Ave Maria Press). In particular, his apostolic spirit, which is so contagious, has increased my desire to bring those who are suffering an understanding of God's fatherly love. One day, after I complete my studies in theology, I hope to postulate his cause for canonization, as I believe that, like his heroine St. Therese, he is spending his time in heaven doing good on earth.

UPDATE, 10/29/11: Some readers are looking for more of Father Lord's writings on how his cancer diagnosis became an occasion to draw nearer to God. The "Cancer Is My Friend" story linked above is essentially a shorter version of an article he published in the July 1954 issue of Catholic Digest titled "My Good Angel of Death." If you would like to read the longer piece, I would recommend e-mailing Catholic Digest's editors and asking them to post it on the publication's website. They have posted articles from their archives in the past, so perhaps they would post the Father Lord one if they knew there was a demand for it. You can find the editors' names, along with links to their e-mail address, at the "Meet Our Team" page at

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

EWTN homilist revives interest in Father Daniel A. Lord S.J.

UPDATE, 10/29/11: Because so many people have found this blog looking for Father Daniel A. Lord S.J.'s article "Cancer Is My Friend," I've moved the link to that article, along with additional information about its author, to a new post: "A beginner's guide to Father Daniel A. Lord S.J."

The recent interest in Father Lord was sparked by a homily by Father Joseph Mary Wolfe MFVA that was broadcast October 27 on EWTN. Father Joseph Mary discusses Father Lord and reads "Cancer Is My Friend" at about 8 minutes 40 seconds into this clip:

I am very grateful to Father Joseph Mary for bringing Father Lord's inspiring witness to a new generation, and placing it so movingly within the light of this week's Mass readings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moving foreword

I was elated yesterday to receive the foreword written for my upcoming book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints by Mother Agnes Mary Donovan S.V. of the Sisters of Life. Mother Agnes Mary was my first choice to write the foreword, as I have seen firsthand how her order aids women who have been abused or otherwise rejected by those close to them. She herself also is familiar with the effects of childhood sexual abuse from her work in psychology; she holds a doctorate and was a developmental-psychology professor at Columbia University's Teachers College. It is a blessing to have her support as the book moves closer to its April 2012 publication.

If you are a journalist and would like to receive updates or a review copy of My Peace I Give You, please write me via my feedback form and I'll forward your contact information to Ave Maria Press's publicity department. You can also contact the department directly.

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While waiting for My Peace I Give You to hit the stores, I continue to study towards an STL (an intermediate degree needed before attaining a doctorate in sacred theology), and am also writing concert reviews for the Weekly Standard. My latest review is of the wonderful show that Loretta Lynn performed recently in Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Things first

I was very happy to discover a kind mention of my first book, The Thrill of the Chaste, in a review on  First Things' website of Wesley Hill's Washed and Waiting. Father Leonard R. Klein, the director of Pro-Life Activities for the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, writes:

Neither marriage nor the rejection of marriage guarantees happiness. Sexual intimacy is not a certain cure for loneliness or for anything else that goes wrong in the tragedy and comedy of human existence. This context of [Hill's] celibacy needs further reflection. I expect and hope there will be a book that will push the matter forward, much in the mode of Dawn Eden's The Thrill of the Chaste.

I hope so too. It is good to hear of other people writing about the experience of conversion of lifestyle, and particularly the freedom that comes from no longer expecting sexual intimacy to fill the spiritual hole that cannot be filled. Although my next book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (due in April from Ave Maria Press), is not focused on chastity as was The Thrill, I continue to explore ways to heal the disconnect between what we most deeply desire and how we seek it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cover story

Today my editor at Ave Maria Press sent me the cover that the publisher's art department designed for my book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, which is due out in April (click on the picture for a larger image). I am thrilled; it hits all the right notes. Among the things I like about it are the intimation of going from darkness into light, which is very appropriate for its intended audience of adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. Also, the way that the chalk design traces an upward path—continuing beyond the reader's field of vision—matches the book's message of striving, with God's grace, towards a happiness that we can glimpse partially in this life.

The quote at the bottom of the cover is from James Martin S.J., author of My Life with the Saints: "A gift of healing to some of the most wounded people of our time." Others who have endorsed the book include Alice von Hildebrand, who writes that it "shows readers that there is healing not in repression or misplaced self-blame, but in hiding in the wounds of Christ."

Many thanks to those friends and Dawn Patrol readers who were praying for me as I was writing My Peace I Give You. I would be grateful if you would keep the book in your prayers, as my hope is that it will reach those who have long been suffering in silence. Watch this space for more updates, including new speaking appearances, as the book's publication nears.

If you are a journalist and would like to receive updates or a review copy of My Peace I Give You, please write me via my feedback form and I'll forward your contact information to Ave Maria Press's publicity department. You can also contact the department directly.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My 'yeas' I give you—Part 1

One of the joys of completing a manuscript for a publisher is watching the blurbs come in. I am very thankful that several writers I admire, having read my upcoming book  My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints (due in April from Ave Maria Press), are voicing their appreciation. Over the coming weeks, I will be publishing their blurbs here—starting with these:

"Dawn Eden tackles this most difficult of issues with tenderness and grace. She mixes practical advice with inspiration from the lives of the saints, and in doing so reminds us that there are no wounds so deep that the Lord cannot heal them."

— Jennifer Fulwiler, blogger at

"Filled with wisdom and compassion, My Peace I Give You is Dawn Eden's gift to victims of childhood sexual abuse and anyone struggling with hurts inflicted by others. She offers inspiration from saints who were themselves abused but found healing in Christ, through whose wounds we too can be healed."

— Father Scott Hurd, author of Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach