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I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You

My Life and Pastimes

Ralph McInerny

Publication Year: 2011

With I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You, Ralph McInerny—distinguished scholar, mystery writer, editor, publisher, and family man—delivers a thoroughly engaging memoir. In the course of his recollections, McInerny describes his childhood in Minnesota; his grammar school and seminary education, with his decision to leave the path toward ordination; his marriage to his beloved Connie and their active family life and travels; and his life as a fiction writer. We learn of his career as a Catholic professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, his views on the Catholic Church, his experiences as an editor and publisher of Catholic magazines and reviews, his involvement with the International Catholic University, and his thoughts on other Catholic writers. Part homage to his academic home for the last half century and part appreciation of the many significant friendships he has fostered over his life, McInerny's reminiscences beautifully convey his lively interest in the world and his gift for friendship and collegiality.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. vii-viii

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Chapter One: Reflections in a Golden I

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pp. 1-4

To say that this book is not the Confessions of St. Augustine may sound as gratuitous as saying that none of my novels is War and Peace, but the remark has point. In writing these memoirs I have been conscious of the fact that I am not writing the story of a soul; that would be an altogether more depressing exercise. ...

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Chapter Two: Biosphere

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pp. 5-12

Where I grew up, the Mississippi river divides Minneapolis from St. Paul; lower down in Lake City, where my great-great-grandfather Patrick and his wife Nora are buried, the river separates Minnesota from Wisconsin; on a map, it cuts the whole country in two. ...

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Chapter Three: Spoiled Priest

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pp. 13-26

Nazareth Hall stood on the shore of Lake Johanna, north of St. Paul, out Snelling Avenue from the fairgrounds. That was where the street car line stopped in the fall of 1947 when I set off for my old school on foot, thereby impressing the rector Father Shanahan and doubtless making him more amenable to my request that I be readmitted to Nazareth Hall. ...

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Chapter Four: Paterfamilias

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pp. 27-36

Some years ago, whenever I was driving a fair distance, I began the habit of going down the list of our children and seeing how many things I could remember of each of them. I proceed chronologically: Cathy, Mary, Anne, Dave, Beth, and Dan. Of course that is not the whole story. ...

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Chapter Five: Europe

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pp. 37-54

One September day in 1959 we set out on our first trip to Europe. We sailed from Hoboken on the Statendam, bound for Southampton and on to Amsterdam, courtesy of the Fulbright Commission. I had been awarded a research scholarship to Belgium, to Louvain University for the academic year. ...

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Chapter Six: Author

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pp. 55-80

It is the rare reader of fiction who does not at some time or other consider becoming a writer himself. As a velleity it comes and goes over the years for many, and some carry it about forever as an unredeemed promissory note to themselves. In their heart of hearts, they regard themselves as writers. ...

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Chapter Seven: Learning How to Die

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pp. 81-106

Socrates said that philosophizing is learning how to die. This was not a mordant statement, because one can learn how to live humanly only when one has come to terms with the fact that death is certain. When Albert Camus said that the first philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide, ...

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Chapter Eight: Notre Dame

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pp. 107-120

Tom Schlereth’s 1976 book about Notre Dame presents the campus as a kind of palimpsest, later times laid upon earlier, so that if you take the walking tours he recommends you find yourself peering beneath the present to a past that is somehow still there although gone forever. ...

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Chapter Nine: Vatican II

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pp. 121-134

In her novel The Man on a Donkey H. F. M. Prescott recounts in the form of a medieval chronicle the passage in England from Catholicism to a national church, showing the confusion and ambiguity that attended that change. Any Catholic who was raised prior to the ecumenical council held in the early 1960s ...

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Chapter Ten: Editor and Publisher

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pp. 135-150

We should be careful of the gifts we give children. When I was seven or eight I got as a Christmas present a printing set. A box of rubber letters, a wooden bar to set them in, a stamp pad. It had to be inexpensive, this was during the Depression, but it filled me with excitement, and I set to work. ...

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Chapter Eleven: International Catholic University

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pp. 151-160

Just before Ex Corde Ecclesiae came out in 1990, I was asked to take part in a symposium on Catholic higher education on a campus that shall be nameless—alas, it could have been any of dozens. Just before leaving home I had the good fortune of receiving an advance copy of the document. ...

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Chapter Twelve: On the Banks of the Mainstream

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pp. 161-167

Not long ago I went to the vigil mass at St. Pius X, a local parish I sometimes avail myself of rather than drive to campus. Father Dan Scheidt, the associate pastor, who was vested and waiting to go down the main aisle to say the Mass, turned and saw me come in. ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780268086848
E-ISBN-10: 0268086842
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268035235
Print-ISBN-10: 0268035237

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 29 halftones???
Publication Year: 2011