Loyola University Maryland

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Fr. Brown’s 2022 Fall Reading List

Abide in the Heart of Christ: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Ignatius Loyola

In Abide in the Heart of Christ, Rev. Joe Laramie, S.J., offers accessible wisdom from the foundations of Jesuit spirituality—St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises—in a ten-day personal retreat that will help you encounter Christ, grow your relationship with him, and shape your heart.

Laramie is your guide through this accessible retreat into the heart of Jesus. Based on a structure and approach he developed as a retreat leader at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis, Laramie introduces you to classic themes of the Christian life, including sin, forgiveness, and creation.

This book also helps you learn how to use key scripture passages to reflect on your own experiences. Each reflection includes teachings from the Spiritual Exercises and offers examples from Laramie’s own life. Reflection questions and activities guide you in further contemplation to help you see what’s in your heart, encounter Christ in your daily life, and live more fully in his love each day.

What We Owe The Future

“This book will change your sense of how grand the sweep of human history could be, where you fit into it, and how much you could do to change it for the better. It’s as simple, and as ambitious, as that.”
—Ezra Klein

An Oxford philosopher makes the case for “longtermism” — that positively influencing the long-term future is a key moral priority of our time.

The fate of the world is in our hands. Humanity’s written history spans only five thousand years. Our yet-unwritten future could last for millions more — or it could end tomorrow. Astonishing numbers of people could lead lives of great happiness or unimaginable suffering, or never live at all, depending on what we choose to do today.

In What We Owe The Future, philosopher William MacAskill argues for longtermism, that idea that positively influencing the distant future is a key moral priority of our time. From this perspective, it’s not enough to reverse climate change or avert the next pandemic. We must ensure that civilization would rebound if it collapsed; counter the end of moral progress; and prepare for a planet where the smartest beings are digital, not human.

If we make wise choices today, our grandchildren’s grandchildren will thrive, knowing we did everything we could to give them a world full of justice, hope and beauty.

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out?

McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare.

But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.

Ida B. The Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells

Journalist. Suffragist. Antilynching crusader. In 1862, Ida B. Wells was born enslaved in Holly Springs, Mississippi. In 2020, she won a Pulitzer Prize.

Ida B. Wells committed herself to the needs of those who did not have power. In the eyes of the FBI, this made her a “dangerous negro agitator.” In the annals of history, it makes her an icon.

Ida B. the Queen tells the awe-inspiring story of an pioneering woman who was often overlooked and underestimated—a woman who refused to exit a train car meant for white passengers; a woman brought to light the horrors of lynching in America; a woman who cofounded the NAACP. Written by Wells’s great-granddaughter Michelle Duster, this “warm remembrance of a civil rights icon” (Kirkus Reviews) is a unique visual celebration of Wells’s life, and of the Black experience.

A century after her death, Wells’s genius is being celebrated in popular culture by politicians, through song, public artwork, and landmarks. Like her contemporaries Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, Wells left an indelible mark on history—one that can still be felt today. As America confronts the unfinished business of systemic racism, Ida B. the Queen pays tribute to a transformational leader and reminds us of the power we all hold to smash the status quo.

The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola

Patrick Saint-Jean, S.J., Psy.D., currently teaches in the psychology department at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he is also a psychotherapist. He enjoys jazz, traveling, and learning new languages; and he plays the guitar, harmonica, and drums. He also likes a cup of hot water in the morning.

The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice: A Month of Meditations with Ignatius of Loyola uses Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises as a framework for discussing the spiritual challenges of antiracism. Each of the Exercise’s four weeks are applied in practical ways to the work of antiracism, combining history, present-day events and data, the life and teaching of Ignatius, prayer, and guidance for personal reflection and journaling. An excellent resource for both group study and personal meditation.

The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness

Gregory Boyle, the beloved Jesuit priest and author of the inspirational bestsellers Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir, returns with a call to witness the transformative power of tenderness, rooted in his lifetime of experience counseling gang members in Los Angeles.

Over the past thirty years, Gregory Boyle has transformed thousands of lives through his work as the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest and most successful gang-intervention program in the world. Boyle’s new book, The Whole Language, follows the acclaimed bestsellers Tattoos on the Heart, hailed as an “astounding literary and spiritual feat” (Publishers Weekly) that is “destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality” (Los Angeles Times), and Barking to the Choir, deemed “a beautiful and important and soul-transporting book” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and declared by Ann Patchett to be “a book that shows what the platitudes of faith look like when they’re put into action.”

In a community struggling to overcome systemic poverty and violence, The Whole Language shows how those at Homeboy Industries fight despair and remain generous, hopeful, and tender. When Saul was thirteen years old, he killed his abusive stepfather in self-defense; after spending twenty-three years in juvenile and adult jail, he enters the Homeboy Industries training and healing programs and embraces their mission. Declaring, “I’ve decided to grow up to be somebody I always needed as a child,” Saul shows tenderness toward the young men in his former shoes, treating them all like his sons and helping them to find their way. Before coming to Homeboy Industries, a young man named Abel was shot thirty-three times, landing him in a coma for six months followed by a year and a half recuperating in the hospital. He now travels on speaking tours with Boyle and gives guided tours around the Homeboy offices. One day a new trainee joins Abel as a shadow, and Abel recognizes him as the young man who had put him in a coma. “You give good tours,” the trainee tells Abel. They both have embarked on a path to wholeness.

Boyle’s moving stories challenge our ideas about God and about people, providing a window into a world filled with fellowship, compassion, and fewer barriers. Bursting with encouragement, humor, and hope, The Whole Language invites us to treat others—and ourselves—with acceptance and tenderness.

Psalms and Consolations

This book grew out of the overwhelming response requesting a companion volume to Father Brown’s Psalms and Compassions: A Jesuit’s Journey through Cancer. In this volume on bereavement and grief, Father Brown again turns to the Book of Psalms for solace. Included are prayers, homilies and reflections meant to help all who are finding their way through grief. This book grew out of the overwhelming response requesting a companion volume to Father Brown’s previous book, Psalms and Compassions: A Jesuits Journey through Cancer. In this volume on bereavement and grief, Father Brown again turning to the Book of Psalms for solace.

The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America

The best-selling look at how American cities can promote racial equity, end redlining, and reverse the damaging health- and wealth-related effects of segregation.

The world gasped in April 2015 as Baltimore erupted and Black Lives Matter activists, incensed by Freddie Gray’s brutal death in police custody, shut down highways and marched on city streets. In The Black Butterfly—a reference to the fact that Baltimore’s majority-Black population spreads out like a butterfly’s wings on both sides of the coveted strip of real estate running down the center of the city—Lawrence T. Brown reveals that ongoing historical trauma caused by a combination of policies, practices, systems, and budgets is at the root of uprisings and crises in hypersegregated cities around the country.

Putting Baltimore under a microscope, Brown looks closely at the causes of segregation, many of which exist in current legislation and regulatory policy despite the common belief that overtly racist policies are a thing of the past. Drawing on social science research, policy analysis, and archival materials, Brown reveals the long history of racial segregation’s impact on health, from toxic pollution to police brutality. Beginning with an analysis of the current political moment, Brown delves into how Baltimore’s history influenced actions in sister cities such as St. Louis and Cleveland, as well as Baltimore’s adoption of increasingly oppressive techniques from cities such as Chicago.

But there is reason to hope. Throughout the book, Brown offers a clear five-step plan for activists, nonprofits, and public officials to achieve racial equity. Not content to simply describe and decry urban problems, Brown offers up a wide range of innovative solutions to help heal and restore redlined Black neighborhoods, including municipal reparations. Persuasively arguing that, since urban apartheid was intentionally erected, it can be intentionally dismantled, The Black Butterfly demonstrates that America cannot reflect that Black lives matter until we see how Black neighborhoods matter.

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

United Nations Champion of the Earth, climate scientist, and evangelical Christian Katharine Hayhoe changes the debate on how we can save our future.

Called “one of the nation’s most effective communicators on climate change” by The New York Times, Katharine Hayhoe knows how to navigate all sides of the conversation on our changing planet. A Canadian climate scientist living in Texas, she negotiates distrust of data, indifference to imminent threats, and resistance to proposed solutions with ease. Over the past fifteen years Hayhoe has found that the most important thing we can do to address climate change is talk about it—and she wants to teach you how.

In Saving Us, Hayhoe argues that when it comes to changing hearts and minds, facts are only one part of the equation. We need to find shared values in order to connect our unique identities to collective action. This is not another doomsday narrative about a planet on fire. It is a multilayered look at science, faith, and human psychology, from an icon in her field—recently named chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy.

Drawing on interdisciplinary research and personal stories, Hayhoe shows that small conversations can have astonishing results. Saving Us leaves us with the tools to open a dialogue with your loved ones about how we all can play a role in pushing forward for change.