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Good Books

Franciscan Magazine

Based on this survey, I’d say some of you (OK, us) have a serious book addiction. What else would possess us to move beloved college textbooks 12 times since 1985 as Susan (Garlasco ’91) Tesluk reports? Unless, like Linda (May ’91) Molleur, we had discovered that a business statistics book was “a perfect height to prop up my bed,” or like Sallie (Servick ’76) Weisgerber, we’ve found our “Shakespeare anthology is still making a great doorstop.” Whether we keep our college texts for practical or philosophical reasons, at bottom, they remind us of those blessed years when reading and discussing and learning were not a guilty pleasure but our duty, our vocation. Read on!

Lisa Ferguson ’84
English Literature 

I found my battered copy of the New Collegiate Dictionary. It has served me well these past 50-plus years. I used it often during my years at Steubenville. I still use it but not near as often. It was often the only resource book I had during those lean years.

Charles R. Calovini ’56
Elementary Education

The Harper Handbook, second edition by Wykoff/Shaw, which I had in one of the writing courses, has been valuable to me recently, especially since writing and publishing my first book, My Favorite Priest, A Convert Maker.

John M. Pifko ’62
Secondary Education

Most of the books from college are still in my possession. Since graduating, I took Dr. John Carrigg’s oft-used saying of “wide, outside reading” and applied it quite literally, so that today I have a personal library in excess of 15,000 volumes. Three came from a course taken during my very last semester taught by Dr. Alan Schreck on Early Christian Literature. These are: The Early Church, by Henry Chadwick; The History of the Church, by Eusebius, translated by G. A. Williamson; The Early Church Fathers, edited by Cyril C. Richardson. I’ve re-read these several times since graduation. The first book is an excellent history of the first centuries of Christianity by a renowned scholar. Eusebius and the post-apostolic Fathers are always worth reading. 

Thomas M. Chmelovski ’79

When I was taking all those Shakespeare classes with Mr. Robert Englert back in the mid to late 80s, he told us that some day we would have our Signet Classic Shakespeare in our bookcase. He was right. It may be that it makes me look good, it may be that it is just a nice, scholarly-looking book; but it’s right there front and middle. Also, the fact that it cost more than my first car may be part of why I hang onto it move after move. Thank you, Mr. Englert.

James “Jaime” Brunault ’89 

Basics of the Faith by Dr. Alan Schreck has been a great resource to help explain in simple terms many aspects of the faith. I graduated in 1993 and have used it continually.

Warren Dazzio ’93

My wall-sized bookshelf is full to overflowing, and many of the books on it have traveled with me since my Franciscan University days. Some of them I regularly revisit, others I occasionally use when I am teaching, or for reference. Others sort of loaf there in honorable retirement. It would be hard to pick out one book in particular that has truly stayed with me, since books are as much my life as air or water or food. But if I had to pick out one, I think I’d choose the Fitzgerald translation of Homer’s Odyssey, which I first had the fun of studying in my freshman honors class with Sister Regina Pacis Coury, FSGM. I’ve studied it many times since, and written on it, and taught it, but nothing is quite comparable to the thrill of adventuring into a great book, with a good teacher and wonderfully argumentative fellow-students, for the very first time. 

Rebecca Bratten Weiss ’95, MA ’97

By far my favorite book from those days is the paperback version of the Catechism (oh, how I wish it had been hardcover!) that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn autographed when he came to town and gave a talk on the Catechism. I used it to teach from for years, and it is now torn and frayed beyond belief, but it is a treasure to me.

Connie (Cleveland MA ’97) Lenneman
MA Theology

Personalism by Gabriel Marcel not only still sits on my bookshelf, but I find myself re-reading it every few years. When I first read the book, I was mesmerized by the wonder and beauty of seeing human persons and their relationships in a deeper, clearer way. I still feel that way every time I re-read it.

Maria Bremberg ’01
Political Science/History

Originally published in the Spring 2012 Franciscan Magazine.

Your turn: What book or books from your Franciscan courses still mean the most to you? Why? Send replies to, and we will share online or in Franciscan Magazine (submissions subject to editing).