In the final months of his illness, noted author and cultural commentator Mary Eberstadt spent time with her long-time friend, chronicling his thoughts on everything from classical music to the clerical sexual abuse crisis.
Eberstadt: Like many other friends who lined up to visit, I was struck, first, by the overwhelming joy with which Father Arne raced to the finish line. That was one unexpected lesson of our last talks together. He was luminous throughout every single conversation – jocular, focused, animated – as if the death cells detonating inside him were somehow converting instead into a glowing energy source.
He also laughed more than once about the unlikeliness of this book project, which he saw in manuscript form right before he died (as explained in the Introduction, the backstory to The Last Homily is proof positive that Providence has a droll side).
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Pray always for purity and love
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