God plants the idea, author writes about it

Irish Beth Maddock says she gets a lot of calls from God late at night or early in the morning. It is during these quiet hours of the night she “downloads” the ideas God plants in her mind.

Road travelled to who I am

The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times by Peter Kavanagh (Knopf Canada, hard cover, 257 pages, $29.95).

In a poem by the English poet Ted Hughes, a hawk contemplates its physical form: “It took the whole of creation to produce my foot, my each feather; now I hold creation in my foot.”

Wills’ future stuck in the past

The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis by Garry Wills. (Penguin, 288 pages, hardcover, $32.95)

At first glance, Garry Wills’ latest book might appear to offer insight into the life and intentions of Pope Francis. But anyone familiar with Wills’ polarizing views might well guess that is not the case. He does discuss Pope Francis — in the introduction and in the epilogue — but his treatment of the Pope is minimal.

In paintings, Syrian artist shows the pain war has caused his country

WASHINGTON - The sad realities of Syria's civil war permeate the paintings of Essa Neima, a 34-year-old Syrian national.

At a recent exhibit, his oil on acrylic works ranged from depictions of damaged church and mosque mosaics, to a broken icon of Mary and a refugee woman forced into servitude by the need to survive.

Play brings to life impact of residential schools

TORONTO - Highly acclaimed First Nations playwright Drew Hayden Taylor is bringing a poignant play to Toronto about a dark part of Canadian history.

Long-dormant oratorio reborn in Toronto

TORONTO - The first and last time the Judith oratorio was heard by an audience was in 1888 in Birmingham, England. It was written by one of Britain’s best-loved composers of the time, Hubert Parry, and was well-received by the critics of the era. But then the work fell into obscurity.

To Sr. Pacatte, it's all about the story

TORONTO - Sr. Rose Pacatte is first and foremost a storyteller. In her 47 years as a Daughter of St. Paul, she has great stories about answering her call to consecrated life, the joy she shares with her fellow sisters and the opportunities her congregation has given her.

Inside the spiritual Martin Sheen

No one had a bad word to say about Martin Sheen. Sr. Rose Pacatte tried to find someone to disparage the Catholic actor while researching his spiritual biography. But no luck.

Dance is where expression, spirituality meet

TORONTO - Franck Waille still has the posture of a dancer. When he stands, his back is straight, his shoulders are squared and his feet are pointed out — a more relaxed version of ballet’s first position.

Life is meant to be well lived to the end

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (Doubleday, hard cover, 304 pages, $20).

We don’t die the way we used to. At the turn of the 20th century, the primary causes of death in the United States were pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis. Today, heart disease and cancer are by far the major causes of death. In 2010, pneumonia and influenza combined accounted for a slightly higher number of deaths than suicide, but less than Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Tuberculosis was virtually eradicated in the United States by the 1950s.

Healing body, mind and spirit through art

SASKATOON - Many factors contribute to a positive healing experience at a hospital, including medical expertise and respectful and compassionate care by physicians, health care personnel, staff and volunteers. But for patients at St. Paul’s Hospital, where core values include holistic care, the process of healing the body, mind and spirit is enhanced through art.

Cinderella’s Christian symbolism

Released before Easter, Cinderella is the most surprising Hollywood movie of the year so far.

The political life of a Catholic priest

Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square, by Randy Boyagoda (Image, hardcover, 480 pages, $35).

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus’ life was a broad sweep in many ways. Born into a Lutheran family in the rural Ottawa Valley, he ended up living in densely populated lower Manhattan.