REVIEWS FOR A WIDOW OF THE ROMAN CHURCH
"This book causes the reader to think about what love and death really mean, and how grief can be a life-changing experience. It has a subtle spiritual context that gives us courage to face life and love in a way most people don't think about. And for anyone who has lived through the death of a great love, there is profound beauty in the story."
- Susan Lomas
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Jesus on the Radio
Four Short Stories
Four short stories about relationships with Jesus in real time.
Following an introduction by author, the first story, Meeting Jesus for the First Time, is told from the perspective of a seven year old receiving her First Holy Communion and wondering why anyone needs a "personal savior?"
The second story, Bride of Christ, asks the question of what eternal love and commitment really mean when the love is "forbidden" by the Catholic Church and the beloved is a ghost?
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Told simultaneously in Sam’s and Gillian’s voices, the reader is taken into their struggle to remain true to themselves, yet profoundly grace one another’s lives in spite of an institutional Church that, while proclaiming human compassion, in reality believes only in power and in itself.
REVIEWS FOR UNEASY STATES OF GRACE
"Loved the story. Cried because I really 'felt' the characters. Really enjoyed seeing things from Sam's perspective and liked how the chapters alternated between the characters' viewpoints."
- Mom of Boys
"I am SO SO SO grateful for the two books by Paula Dail. I have walked the widow's walk and respect and admire both 'Uneasy States of Grace' and 'A Widow of the Roman Church'. WONDERFUL. INSIGHTFUL. DIRECT. TRUTH TELLING. Not many books can make me weep and laugh - these books have done it!"
- Gail Winkler
"Uneasy States of Grace is an intense page-turner that takes the reader on a 13 year journey through the truths of forbidden yet enduring love between a priest and a woman…an insightful, exquisitely written masterpiece and a must read as the debate over celibacy and a married priesthood surfaces once again. A fabulous, thought-provoking read…"
- The Dodgeville Chronicle Newspapers, Inc.
"Uneasy States of Grace is a beautifully written story of human conflict created by the Catholic Church’s flawed message about priestly celibacy and intimate love… Unquestionably the Catholic Church would take issue with this story or, more typically, attack the author for revealing a fact the church would rather keep secret - that some, perhaps many, priests do have an ongoing intimate relationship with a human being as well as a spiritual relationship with God, and that this is psychologically healthy behavior. Ultimately, we the readers feel privileged to have known, albeit
briefly, Msgr. Kennedy and Dr. Spencer because they teach us so much about intimate, enduring human love. The irony is that this lesson comes from two people who weren’t supposed’ to love one another at all, at least this is what
the Catholic Church would say.
Fabulous and insightful, the story is emotionally rich but must be carefully read because insights into the complex psyches of these two people are not immediately obvious and nuances of their intimacy, which the author takes great care with, can be easily missed. Nevertheless, the writing is very compelling and well crafted, making it the sort of book that can be read more than once and enjoyed more fully each time."
- Don Lambert
"Uneasy States of Grace reveals the depths of human struggle - the conflict, the pain and the joy - when a priest finds the love forbidden him by the Catholic Church. Written from the viewpoint of both main characters, Monsignor Sam Kennedy and Gillian Spencer, Paula Dáil takes her readers on a 13 year journey through the truths of their experience, and gives us an insightful, exquisitely written masterpiece. Readers will wish to have known Sam and Gillian, because their lives would undoubtedly be richer for it. In reading this story, some will remember the 1960’s Catholic Church with nostalgia, some will draw comfort, and others will find courage. In the end, every reader will realize that any life having experienced the kind of love Sam and Gillian shared has been profoundly blessed, regardless of the Catholic
Church’s position on a celibate priesthood. I give it at least 5 stars."
- Pat Reilly
"Uneasy States of Grace is a love story that explores the deep conflicts that inevitably arise when a handsome, young priest (Father Sam Kennedy) and a beautiful, bright, student (Gillian Spencer) meet at a Midwestern university and find themselves strongly attracted to one another. The attraction evolves into a beautiful relationship, purely platonic, yet with love as deep and commitment as strong as any marriage ever. The book is also about a love affair between Kennedy and the Roman Catholic Church. More accurately, it’s a love/hate relationship on his part. Kennedy loves being a priest and administering to parishioners. But he is an independent thinker and detests such church policies (not the theology, he points out) that demand celibacy, disallow priests to marry, prohibit birth control, and ban women from being priests. Reared from birth to become a priest by a strong-willed Irish Catholic mother, Kennedy seemed destined to become at least a bishop, perhaps even a Cardinal. But his disagreements with church practices, his violation of church policies,and his love for Gillian Spencer result in a growing inability to come to terms with who he is or who he wants to be. The epilogue is written by Gillian and it is a wonderfully written, moving account of a woman’s spiritual love for a man and the way she dealt with his untimely death. Most men who read this book will wish they could be the object of such a devoted love. The Catholic Church probably won’t like this book, but it should be required reading for every man who is considering becoming a priest. 4.5 stars"
- Ben Edwards
Uneasy States of Grace
A love story set in the post-Vatican II era of the Catholic Church when gale-force winds of change were blowing recklessly across the landscapes of Catholic life.
When Monsignor Sam Kennedy begins questioning all he believes about his Church, he experiences deep personal turmoil, prompting him to seek fuller meaning and greater authenticity in his priestly life. He meets Professor Gillian Spencer, a bright, articulate feminist full of Marxist ideals who challenges him on every level of his being as she evokes feelings in him he never knew he had.
Jesus Loves You, Molly Ross details the struggles of a poor woman who doesn't find comfort in the notion that Jesus loves her, no matter what. “I don’t see Jesus sitting here feeding my kids or helping me support them?” she says, “So I don’t see what good his love is doing me.”
The last story, Jesus on The Radio, interviews Jesus as he responds to listeners who call in to his talk radio show asking "What would Jesus do?" in the face of everyday problems.
A Widow of the Roman Church
The spellbinding sequel to Uneasy States of Grace.
A Widow of the Roman Church chronicles feminist university professor
Gillian Spencer's life following the accidental death of her beloved Monsignor Sam Kennedy. As a true feminist, Gillian challenges conventional notions of grief and bravely embraces the grieving process on her own terms. Her search for answers leads her into an emotional labyrinth where she discovers the meaning of a father's devotion, the power of women's friendships, the transformative power of grief well spent, and irrefutable evidence that love outlasts death.