Monday, February 20, 2006

"The Importance of Christ in the Correspondence Between Jordan of Saxony and Diana d'Andalo"

I've just posted another essay on the book's "developing" website, and invite you to read it here. A wonderful, scholarly yet accessible, exposition of Jordan's letters from Christ Among the Medieval Dominicans (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998). So little is available on Jordan and Diana in English (this essay was a translation from the German original) so this is a real find! Enjoy!


The photo above of Fr. Vann does seem to capture a bit of his character, and, just perhaps(!), a dislike of having his picture taken. I've been busy gathering and gleaning information on the author and translator of To Heaven With Diana! and am pleased to announce that the "About the Author and Translator" pages on the book's website (currently under construction) have been completed. So, I cordially invite you to click here, and enjoy learning about the life, work, and personality of Fr. Vann.

The latest on the book is that its publication date (tenative?) is mid-April. I am still waiting for the final proofs of the manuscript and book cover. Happily, reserve book orders have been coming in from near and far!

Monday, February 13, 2006


On this feast of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, I have finally emerged from the "black hole" of arduous manuscript proofing and website designing to announce the creation of a page devoted entirely to Bl. Jordan (situated on our monastery website). The page includes articles and information on this wonderful friar preacher who is a model and intercessor for so many Dominicans. It is my hope that this will be a real forum for learning and "evangelizing" others about him. I encourage our Dominican brothers and sisters to contribute any articles and/or homilies. Just e-mail me.

One of the articles offered is Bro. Lawrence Lew, O.P.'s three-part presentation on Jordan which appeared at Brother's blog, Contemplata aliis tradere. In fact, he has just posted another marvelous piece on Jordan, which I hope he will let me include on the page. So, I cordially invite you make sure to celebrate the feast of Bl. Jordan in a most worthy and fitting way by getting to know him better by clicking here.

And, yes, a page devoted to Bl. Diana d'Andalo is also in the works, and will hopefully be completed before her feast day (June 8)!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


A view of what I've been looking at!

Preparing a manuscript for publication is, as all writers (and editors) know, a real labor of love! A later post will give more background on the beginning of the reprint of To Heaven With Diana! But, for now, I ask your prayers (through the intercession, of course, of Jordan and Diana) as I put my nose to the grindstone, or, rather, the computer screen, and share my adventures in editing the books' manuscript.

The publisher, iUniverse, scanned the original edition of the book (Pantheon, 1960) by OCR (Optical Character Recognition), transformed it into a Word document, and then e-mailed to me. (Who knows at what point the reprint would be at without the wonders of technology?) The one thing I was worried about with the scanning were the book's footnotes and their rather idiosyncratic formatting, with each page having its own set of footnotes. Although I have to re-do the footnotes for continuous (and correct) numbering, the text of the footnotes and the old numbering was intact so it is moreseo a matter of copying and pasting text.

The biggest task as far as editing goes is to transform the Scriputral citations (from the Douay-Rheims' translation) from Roman numerals to Arabic. Jordan makes multiple allusions to the Scriptures in his letters, which shows how truly "saturated" he was with God's Holy Word. Very impressive and very edifying but, wow, all those allusions are keeping me busy now! To assist the process, I went through the MS (that's publishing lingo for manuscript), and highlighted the words preceding the footnotes, so my already strained eyes could easily find them.

There will also be some additions to the text, namely a new foreward by the Master of the Order, Fr. Carlos A. Aspiroz Costa, O.P. (not received yet!), an acknowledgements page, and an afterward, describing the life of the Dominican Nuns, and some additional citations to enlighten a new generation of readers. Yesterday, I was stunned to discover a major error in the book, where Pope Gregory VIII is cited as the pope during the time of Jordan's letters. NOT! It was Pope Gregory IX! But, for the most part, the editing and correcting is of a light and "delicate" nature. I commend myself to your prayers!

Monday, January 09, 2006


"Of making many books there is no end..." (Eccl 12, 12 ). And, that said, you may want to ask, "So, why the need for a reprint of To Heaven With Diana?"

First and foremost, it is a book which is beloved to all Dominicans, a precious document not only historically (Bl. Jordan was the second Master of the Order of Preachers and responsible for so much of the Order's phenomenonal growth in attracting candidates) but, even moreso, spiritually. His letters to Diana are a remarkable testament, not only of his deep love and concern for her, but because the letters show, in a very vivid way, how the vocation of the friars and nuns of the Order are meant to complement each other, a very holy collaboration (to use a modern term!) in the "Holy Preaching"! With apologies to the Franciscans, Carmelites, and Benedictines, this close bond of the friars and nuns is the strongest I have witnessed with religious orders which have male and female branches.

"Behold! how good and pleasant it is when brothers
(and sisters!) dwell in unity" (Ps 133,1). Here I am with
my favorite Dominican brother and good friend,
Fr. John Paul Walker.

Primarily this occurs through the intercessions the nuns offer daily for their brethren, that the Lord may prosper their preaching of the Gospel. But, it is also shown in little and more tangible ways. Any friar who has visited a monastery of Dominican nuns feels "at home" right away, encompassed in the affection of his sisters. His "stories from the front," the joys and sorrows of his ministry, are listened to with the most intense interest. As he celebrates Holy Mass, he is watched very intently, and all ears (even the hearing-aided ones!) are keenly attuned to his preaching to this tough but eager audience. He experiences his sisters' solicitude in the small touches, too, especially in the special charism of the nuns: keeping the friars well-fed!

I like to think that we nuns are carrying on the legacy of Diana and her sisters at Bologna, confident that they enjoyed ministering to Jordan just as much as we enjoy "spoiling" our brethren. Having To Heaven With Diana! back in print will recall our heritage, and renew our commitment in keeping this bond between the friars and nuns as fervent, warm, joyful, and strong as our Holy Father St. Dominic wishes it to be!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

"A VERY LITTLE WORD..." we celebrate Epiphany today, the Baptism of the Lord tomorrow, and very quickly close Christmastide. This is a reproduction of a Christmas card I designed several years ago for our monastery, using one of my favorite quotes from Jordan's letters to Diana.

Sunday, January 01, 2006