Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Join me for my webinar on Father Ed at the Spirituality and Recovery Conference

Signing copies of Father Ed after my talk at Sacred Heart Parish, Roslindale, MA, October 7, 2023.

I'm honored to be the leadoff speaker at the Ignatian Spirituality Project's online Spirituality and Recovery Conference on December 7 at 12:15 p.m. Eastern time. My talk, "Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor" (also the title of my latest book) will detail how Father Edward Dowling, SJ, located the principles of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola within the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I will also speak about the special bond that Dowling had with Bill W., a bond rooted in their common experiences of suffering and spiritual conversion. Registration for the conference is free; click here to sign up.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

UPDATED: A master list of media on Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor

I had the pleasure of autographing a copy of Father Ed for Keaton Douglas (right) of the Center of Addiction & Faith when she came to my talk at St. Cecilia's in Rockaway, NJ, on October 19, 2023.

The response to Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor,  my biography of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson's dear friend and advisor Father Edward Dowling, SJ, has been  overwhelming, and I couldn't be more grateful. As I write, Father Ed is in its second printing and has won a 2023 Christopher Award as a work that "affirms the highest values of the human spirit."

I've decided to create a running list of Father Ed media mentions here on The Dawn Patrol and update it each time another one appears. The date of this entry will change as I update it, so that it may remain uppermost or near-uppermost. I realize there are surely some items missing from this list; if you notice an omission, please drop me a line (see my email at the bottom of my Bio page).

November 2023

James K. Hanna reviewed Father Ed on his Substack: "Father Ed is a biography and much more - this is a book about relationships, the essence of humanity - and whether you have an interest in A.A. or not, I highly recommend it as a users guide to living life on life’s terms."

Lindsay Weishar reviewed Father Ed for the Diocese of Peoria's Catholic Post: "One of the lovely things about Goldstein’s biography is that it not only highlights Father Ed’s life, but also the ways in which his life was deeply affected by those to whom he ministered."

October 2023

Mark Tarnacki wrote a review of my talk on Father Ed at St. Michael's College in Vermont, including photos: "Goldstein told her warmly welcoming Saint Michael's audience of about 50, including several Edmundites and area friends of the AA fellowship, that Bill and Dr. Bob’s Vermont connection made this talk particularly meaningful for her."

August 2023

Wes Cipolla of The Boston Pilot interviewed me in advance of my giving a Boston-area talk on Father Ed.

Parabola magazine featured an excerpt from Father Ed on Father Edward Dowling's first meeting with Bill W.

June 2023

Veronica Valli interviewed me on Father Ed for her Soberful podcast, calling him "The First Sponsor."

May 2023

Matt Kappadakunnel reviewed Father Ed for US Catholic: "Thanks to Goldstein, we meet a saint who teaches us that God can transform our weaknesses to transmit grace."

TL Putnam interviewed on Father Ed for his podcast "Outside the Walls."

April 2023

A Journey Through NYC Religion ran a two-part interview with me. The first part is above; click here to view part two.

Our Sunday Visitor included Father Ed among its list of "Exciting New Books."

David Crumm interviewed me about Father Ed for Read the Spirit.

The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States' Jesuits.org ran an excerpt from Father Ed along with an interview with me for their AMDG Podcast.

Chicago Catholic editor Joyce Duriga interviewed me for her podcast Beyond the Headlines.

March 2023

Alessandra Harris reviewed Father Ed for the National Catholic Reporter: "Father Ed is an uplifting witness of a priest whose mission was to minister to people suffering on the margins of society and share Christ's healing love with them."

Notre Dame's Church Life Journal published an excerpt from Father Ed.

The Christophers announced that Father Ed was a winner of the 2023 Christopher Award.

Pat McMahon interviewed me on Father Ed for his radio program "The God Show."

David Dault interviewed me on Father Ed for his podcast Things Not Seen.

Barbara Hughes reviewed Father Ed in The Catholic Virginian:

Patricia Lawler Kenet reviewed Father Ed in America magazine: "[In Father Ed,] we encounter a remarkable individual whose intellect, enthusiasm and humility helped Alcoholics Anonymous burgeon into a worldwide haven for spiritual growth for those struggling with addiction."

Ruthie Gledhill interviewed me on Father Ed for The Tablet Podcast.

February 2023

Valerie Schultz reviewed Father Ed for The Californian: "Father Ed seemed to embody a human bridge between Ignatian spirituality and AA."

Msgr. Richard Antall reviewed Father Ed for Angelus: “Goldstein’s book is a portrait of a creative priest who also intersected with an important chunk of American Catholic history.”

Ruthie Gledhill reviewed Father Ed in The Tablet (UK): "[Goldstein's] thoroughly researched and profoundly moving biography of this remarkable man will be of interest to people involved with the 12-step programme, as well as to those who are curious about the pre-Vatican II priestly formation of Jesuits.

Edward Feser, after reading Father Ed, wrote a lovely review: "An anonymous saint?"

January 2023

Sarah Negri reviewed Father Ed for the Acton Institute Blog: "With depth and style, Goldstein unveils the figure of Dowling and honors his tireless devotion to helping 'people with problems,' thereby offering inspiration and hope to modern readers on their own healing journey."

America magazine ran an excerpt from Father Ed.

Mark Judge reviewed Father Ed in the Washington Examiner: "[Goldstein] highlights how Dowling’s Christian humility and devotion became central to the AA movement. Dowling saw a spiritual continuity between AA’s 12-step program and St. Ignatius’s ... Spiritual Exercises."

December 2022

Daniel Amiri reviewed Father Ed for Where Peter Is: "I found Dawn Eden Goldstein’s book, Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.’s Spiritual Sponsor, to present an inspiring model."

Robert Ellsberg interviewed me for Orbis Books' YouTube channel (also available as a podcast)

Prof. John W. Martens interviewed me on his podcast "What Matters Most."

November 2022

James P. Pinkerton reviewed Father Ed in The American Conservative: "In [Goldstein's] scholarly hands, Dowling comes to life as a man with a mission—and actually, many missions, practical and spiritual. For all his close association with Wilson, Goldstein writes that Dowling’s 'true purpose went well beyond sobering up drunks.'"

Tony Rossi interviewed me on Father Ed for a print article and podcast on Light One Candle—The Blog of the Christophers.

PBS affiliate New Jersey Spotlight News featured an interview with me on Father Ed.

September 2022

Publishers Weekly reviewed Father Ed: "This is a powerful take on an often overlooked spiritual influence on Alcoholics Anonymous."

Saturday, November 18, 2023

My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints is back in the Kindle store

Recently Ave Maria Press took my 2012 book My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints out of print after eleven years. During that time, the book sold more than 14,000 copies in English and had been translated into Spanish, French, Polish, Slovak, Hungarian, and Italian. The rights to it have now reverted to me.

I am hoping that a publisher will approach me offering to put My Peace I Give You back into print, as I would love to publish it in a revised and expanded edition. For now, I have made it available in a replica edition on Kindle, priced at $4.99 so that any one who might be helped by it can find it. In addition, I have made the Spanish translation available on Kindle. If you are in any country served by Amazon, you should be able to find the book by searching Amazon's Kindle store for "My Peace I Give You" and "Dawn Eden" or, for the Spanish Edition, "Mi Paz Os Doy" and "Dawn Eden."

The Amazon links used in this post and elsewhere on The Dawn Patrol are from Amazon's affiliate program. If you purchase anything on Amazon after clicking one of those links, I will receive a commission that I will donate to the HER Foundation, which helps pregnant women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

What's it like to hear me speak on Father Ed? Read this review and find out

This week I had the pleasure of speaking on Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor last Tuesday at St. Michael's College in Vermont, and then had the additional pleasure of reading Mark Tarnacki's beautiful writeup of the event. I recommend reading Mark's review if you're considering bringing me to your town to speak on Father Ed, as it gives an excellent idea of what it's like when I share the story of the great Jesuit who was a "spiritual sponsor" to Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill W.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

News from Eden: More Father Ed talks, and a Father Twomey biography now in progress

Left: Dawn Eden Goldstein. Photograph by Sara Harris, July 2023. Right: Father Louis J. Twomey, SJ, circa 1956. Photograph from the Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections and Archives, accessed through Louisiana Digital Library.

When I last posted "News from Eden," I shared my desire to write a biography of Father Louis J. Twomey, SJ. Today I am grateful to let you know that I am currently completing a monthlong research trip to New Orleans as the first official stage of my endeavor to tell Twomey's story. Twomey's papers are in the Loyola University New Orleans Special Collections and Archives, which I have been blessed to research while enjoying the gracious hospitality of the university's Jesuit Community. My travel expenses have been covered by a private donor and by The Jesuit Social Research Institute in collaboration with the Loyola University New Orleans College and Arts and Sciences.

Based on my experience writing Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor, I estimate that writing my Twomey biography—tentatively titled God's Gadfly—will take me about a year. Since the funds that I have raised thus far extend only to my present research trip, and since any publishing contract that I may obtain will probably cover only a few months' expenses, I will need to do more fund-raising to make up the difference. So, after I return home to Washington, DC, on September 9, I plan to post an online fundraiser. If you would like to be notified when the online fundraiser goes live, or if you would like to offer support independently of it, please write me at the email address at the bottom of my Biography page.

Currently I am working on a proposal for God's Gadfly that will include an overview and an annotated chapter online. The overview is complete and I am pleased to share it with you—see below. Last, if you live in Texas, Massachusetts, Vermont, or New Jersey, I'll soon be coming your way to speak on Father Ed, so do please take a look at my speaking schedule and come if you can. Thank you and God bless you!
God’s Gadfly: The Life and Witness of Southern Civil-Rights Pioneer Louis J. Twomey, SJ 

"I am tired, but I always find time to follow Father's suggestions." — Martin Luther King, Jr., writing to Henry J. Engler Jr., about Father Louis J. Twomey, SJ, December 10, 1964 

 “Jesuit Father Louis Twomey ... has done more than any one man hereabouts to translate Catholic social principles into meaningful action.” — Walker Percy, “New Orleans Mon Amour,” Harper’s, September 1968 

Father Louis J. Twomey, SJ, was a classic, cassock-wearing old-school Jesuit—but with a twist that made him stand out among Catholic clergy in Louisiana, where he ministered from the late 1940s until his death in 1969. He crusaded against atheistic communism, gave retreats, prayed the rosary, paused work at noon to lead his staff in the Angelus, began each car trip with a prayer, never sat beside a woman on a train (for fear of causing scandal) ... and fought white supremacy. With God’s Gadfly: The Life and Witness of Father Louis J. Twomey, SJ, the Christopher Award-winning biographer Dawn Eden Goldstein (author of Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.’s Spiritual Sponsor) will present the first full-length biography of this great-souled Jesuit who successfully challenged his religious order—and humanity at large—to put its belief in human dignity into action. 

Inspired by the social-justice encyclicals of Leo XIII and Pius XI, Father Twomey felt a powerful calling to champion the rights of organized labor, the poor, and African-Americans suffering injustice in the segregated South. In 1947, he founded the South’s only labor school, the Institute of Industrial Relations at Loyola University in New Orleans. The following year, he began publishing Christ’s Blueprint for the South, a monthly newsletter sharing his vision of social justice with fellow Jesuits around the world. Its credo: “to create a society in which the dignity of the human person, in whomsoever found, shall be acknowledged, respected, and protected.”

It was a time when Jesuits wielded outsize influence in the Catholic intellectual world and beyond—and the Blueprint influenced the influencers. Over the twenty-one years of Twomey’s editorship, the subscriber base of the newsletter—renamed Blueprint for the Christian Reshaping of Society—grew to encompass three thousand Jesuits in forty-four countries. Among its readers was Ian Travers-Ball, who credited the Blueprint for inspiring him to serve the poor in India with Mother Teresa; as Brother Andrew, he became the first superior of the Missionaries of Charity Brothers.

Although scholars often acknowledge Twomey's accomplishments, the only published study of his life until now was the slim 1978 monograph At Face Value, by former America editor Father C.J. McNaspy, SJ. At Face Value was adapted from a dissertation, and it read like one. It conveyed Twomey’s importance but failed to capture his fire. Now, fifty-five years since his death, and two years since the New Orleans City Council Street Renaming Commission voted to rename Calhoun Street “Father Louis J. Twomey Street,” the time is right for a biography worthy of him.

God’s Gadfly will detail the breadth of Twomey’s apostolic labors, which eventually extended to include the Inter-American Center, a leadership-training program that taught democratic principles to more than 1,000 young professionals from Latin American countries. But its special focus will be upon his visionary work in civil rights, including his newly discovered correspondence with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Father Twomey’s passion for justice led him to become one of King’s earliest white allies, as well as the first Catholic priest to offer the young minister both moral and material support. The two became friends during a visit of King’s to New Orleans in early April 1954, before King completed his doctorate and even before he pastored a church. For more than a decade, Twomey would advise King on Catholic issues and provide him with literature to help him persuade Catholics of their obligation to pursue racial justice. 

Many Catholics needed persuading. Formed in an age of populist demagogues such as Father Leonard Feeney and Father Charles Coughlin, these members of the faithful correctly grasped that Catholicism stood in opposition to communism. But they felt no religious obligation to oppose racial prejudice. Among them were thought leaders such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, who went so far as to portray the fight against segregation as a dangerous distraction from the fight against communism.

Father Twomey confounded complacent Catholics by insisting that white supremacy, in presenting America to the world as a land of inequality, only served to fuel communism’s spread. To Buckley, such an argument was “nonsensical.” Others used harsher words. Father Twomey told a 1953 Teamsters gathering that white supremacists called him a “Red in Robes” (the “robes” being his cassock), a “racial fanatic,” a “dangerous man,” and a “n----- lover.” He added that he did not fear such “intemperate epithets. But he did fear that “the gross injustices which are inherent in our interracial relations in the South” would bring down “the avenging wrath of an angry God.” As he put it in a 1950 speech to Catholic educators, “How long is God going to allow his image and likeness in black skin to be kicked around?”

By far the most painful opposition Twomey faced was from members of his own Jesuit community. From 1950 onward, he tried repeatedly to convince Loyola New Orleans to admit talented Black candidates to its law school, finally succeeding in 1952 with the admission of Norman Francis (who would become the first Black president of Xavier University of Louisiana). In the Jesuit residence where he lived, Twomey’s neighbors included pro-segregation priests who resented him as a troublemaker. One of them complained to the provincial superior that, thanks to the influence of Twomey and his colleagues, young Jesuits studying at Loyola “had racial equality pumped into them.” But Twomey persisted, and was ultimately vindicated in the most dramatic way possible.

In 1967, Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arrupe summoned him to Rome to be the main drafter of “The Interracial Apostolate,” a letter to the U.S. Jesuits urging them “to preach, to teach and to practice the Christian truths of interracial justice and charity.” The Jesuits’ present work promoting those truths can be directly traced to the influence of that letter—the first under Arrupe’s name to emphasize what would become known as the preferential option for the poor.

Two years after Twomey drafted “The Interracial Apostolate,” as he lay dying of emphysema, Arrupe wrote from Rome to encourage him: “You know how grateful I am for your wonderful work.” Indeed, as God’s Gadfly will show, lovers of justice, democratic freedoms, and Christian faith in action have much reason to be grateful for Twomey’s prophetic witness.

Contact Dawn Eden Goldstein through the email address at the bottom of her Biography page.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Father Ed shows "what is possible ... when we die to self"

I received a wonderful early Christmas present yesterday in the form of a review of my new biography of Father Edward Dowling, SJ, Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor, in my favorite opinion website, Where Peter Is. Whereas I had seen Dowling as a model for the priesthood, reviewer Dan Amiri sees a model for all men, writing,

Goldstein effectively captures the powerful working of God’s grace in a man who accomplished much but who thought of himself very little. One could reasonably argue that Fr. Dowling’s example is the antidote to much of what modern Catholic manhood “experts” stand for. In his life story, we see what is possible for men when we die to self and allow God’s will to reign in our lives.

Amiri also is impressed with what I have uncovered regarding Father Ed's influence upon Alcoholics Anonymous, whose co-founder Bill W. called Dowling his "spiritual sponsor":

Goldstein's book convincingly argues that without Dowling and his early partnership with Bill W., AA would not be the organization that it is today – if it existed at all. Dowling not only provided moral and practical support to Bill W. during his bouts of severe depression and discouragement at critical junctures for AA, but he was also instrumental in the spread of the organization in its earliest stages.

I'm really touched to receive this beautiful review in addition to the other reviews of Father Ed that have come in, all of which have been warmly positive thus far. It says a lot about Father Ed's greatness that my biography of him has won praise not only in Where Peter Is, which seeks to help readers better understand and appreciate Pope Francis's pontificate, and in The American Conservative, which is not known for publishing pro-Francis articles. People today are as moved as people were during his lifetime to learn of his trailblazing efforts to help those suffering from alcoholism, mental illness, and any other kind of problem. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Father Edward Dowling SJ "comes to life" in my new biography, writes James P. Pinkerton

A photo of Dowling graces James P. Pinkerton's review of Father Ed

I am grateful to veteran journalist and former White House official James P. Pinkerton for his deep and thoughtful review of my new biography Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor. Writing that Father Edward Dowling, SJ, "comes to life" in the book, he says,
To read Father Ed is to be carried back to a different era, when Catholic influence was at a peak, when Hollywood made church-centric films such as Boys Town, The Song of Bernadette, Going My Way, and The Bells of St. Mary’s, and when Dowling’s St. Louis was a major hub viz. another movie of that era, Meet Me in St. Louis. Figures such as Charles Lindbergh, Gerald P. Nye, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, Judy Garland, and Fulton Sheen make appearances, ably contextualized. We even meet the descendants of Dred Scott, whom Dowling befriended and aided, and Father William Bowdern, the priest who inspired William Peter Blatty’s novel-turned-movie The Exorcist.
Read the entire review at The American Conservative.

Robert Ellsberg, my editor and publisher at Orbis Books (and son of Daniel Ellsberg) wryly remarked to me that having a review in The American Conservative was "an Orbis first"! That made me very happy—not because I am a regular reader of that magazine (the post-Trump era has left me more politically homeless than ever) but because Father Ed's message is too important to be confined to any particular camp. I want readers of every culture and faith, and of every political stripe, to discover him and be touched by his life as I have been.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Publishers Weekly praises the "powerful" Father Ed!

The first sentences of Publishers Weekly's review of Father Ed. Click the image to read the entire review.

A warmly positive review
of my biography of Father Edward Dowling, SJ, Father Ed: The Story of Bill W.'s Spiritual Sponsor recently appeared in Publishers Weekly. The reviewer writes, 
This thorough biography of Fr. Edward Dowling by former journalist Goldstein (Sunday Will Never Be the Same) homes in on the priest’s friendship with Alcoholics Anonymous cofounder Bill Wilson. ... Meticulous research (Goldstein notes that, contrary to Wilson’s account of the night he met Dowling, weather reports indicate there was no precipitation) and fluid prose capture the nuances of this friendship. This is a powerful take on an often overlooked spiritual influence on Alcoholics Anonymous.
Read the entire review on Publishers Weekly's website.