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I blog about my Catholic faith, my prayer life, good books and good movies.

You Come, Too. A Journey to Get an MFA in Fiction At Age 44.

Abigail Benjamin

“Thank you!” I started blogging in August 2007 when I had a newborn with colic. In 2019, I have a new teething baby. I made my Final Promise as a Carmelite on May 15, 2016. Inspired by Pope Francis’ focus on the Environment, I started an Environmental and Energy Law Firm in West Virginia in September 2017. This summer My writing has grown from writing blog posts to creating plays and novels.

In July, I begin a Low Residency, Two Year Program for a Masters of Fine Art in Fiction. I start with a residency program I’ve nicknamed “Writer’s Camp.” I spend two weeks on a college campus. We do workshops, go to class and then have nightly events with contemporary authors and poets. During the semester I pick out 25 books I want to read, 5 books about the craft of writing and then 20 books I think will help nurture my own work. At the end of the program I will have 125 pages of a highly edited work of fiction, which is a “good start” on a book. I picked a program inside my small town. My kids can skateboard over to the dining hall to join me for a meal whenever they miss me.

Two years ago we moved to a small town in Central West Virginia. (I used to live closer to the Washington DC Metro area). My husband got a job as a College Art Professor in the place where I graduated from High School. For years I talked about Art, Books, and Film in my living room and on my blog. Now I attend Artist Talks once a month at a small gallery on Campus. Being around all the energy of Modern Art is what encouraged me to go back to graduate school for creative writing in my mid forties with seven kids and a professional job. It’s so inspiring to watch artists “make new things.”

Thank you to all the readers who have shared this journey. I hope to be posting again on this new journey.

Book Review: United States of Jihad by Peter Bergen

Abigail Benjamin

Peter Bergen's "United States of Jihad: Investigating American's Homegrown Terrorists," is required reading under the Trump Presidency. The fear of terrorism has changed the national conversation on immigration from predominately Muslim Countries and the need for an increased military defense budget. Separate the fact from the fiction in this well-researched, compelling read about the true impact of terrorism on our modern world.

Book Review: Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking teh Secrets of the Last Supper

Abigail Benjamin

I'm a great lover of the Christian Passover Seder Meal. I make my eldest son put lamb's blood on our doorway. We dress up in sandals and tell the story of Moses to our children. I made a family Haggadah. My favorite part of the meal is when we pray "It would have been enough", or the dayenu, as we put the ten drops of wine (or grape juice) on our plates in thanksgiving for God's active role in our lives. When I celebrate the Seder with my family, I'm not pretending to be Jewish for a night. I'm celebrating the entire history fo my family. I link the Old Testament and the New Testament together. I provide context for the "Last Supper" on Holy Thursday.

"Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper," by Brant Pitre is an excellent read for Lent. Image Books has released a paperback edition with a new Study Guide and forward by Scott Hahn. Pitre explains that this book came out of a lecture he created for priests. This book doesn't read like a boring list of ancient Jewish customs. Instead, Pitre provides clear and relevant historical context to the sights, sounds, and materials of the Mass.

Before Easter Sunday give your mind and heart a boost by reading Pitre's words on such topics as "The Jewish Custom of Giving Wine to the Dying" and "You have to eat the lamb." This book would make a great family project to review with Middle School and High School students.  Why simply nag Young Adults to keep their faith in college. Instead, be a role model to show that the Catholic faith is a life-long pattern of learning deep theological, historical and sacred truth?