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About Daniel J. Heisey

Daniel J. Heisey, O. S. B, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where he is known as Brother Bruno. He teaches Church History at Saint Vincent Seminary.

A Trappist’s Monastic Enlightenment


A common misconception is to equate the words “monastic” and “medieval,” and modern people tend to be surprised to learn that Catholic monks still exist and that they no longer live like the collection of circus freaks in The Name of the Rose. However, a few folks have read The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton [...]

A Trappist’s Monastic Enlightenment2023-03-15T00:51:24-05:00

Running Away Naked with the Church Fathers


During Lent, much of the emphasis concentrates on a metaphorical sojourn in the desert. Liturgical and devotional readings help place Christians alongside Jesus during His forty days of temptation in the wilderness. However, that time of testing is also a time of training, preparing for the greater travail and ultimate triumph marked by the sacred Triduum. [...]

Running Away Naked with the Church Fathers2023-02-13T13:04:13-06:00

Pope Benedict XVI and Saint Sylvester’s Day


It is worth noticing that Pope Benedict XVI died on Saint Sylvester’s Day. In German-speaking lands, it remains a custom for pastors to deliver a Silvesterpredigt, a sermon on Saint Sylvester’s Day that reflects on the old year and the new. One of Father Joseph Ratzinger’s Saint Sylvester’s Day reflections, “Meditation for New Year’s Eve,” appeared [...]

Pope Benedict XVI and Saint Sylvester’s Day2023-01-03T04:20:02-06:00

Spiritual Direction in “The Tiber Was Silver”


Of Michael Novak, no less an authority than George Weigel wrote, “Novak’s voluminous and often translated writings touch on virtually every aspect of the American experiment,” while playing “a seminal role in shaping neoconservative thought and bringing it to a wider audience.” Novak (1933-2017) was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and, as Weigel attested, became an influential [...]

Spiritual Direction in “The Tiber Was Silver”2022-12-12T23:04:13-06:00

The Delusion of Miss Jean Brodie


Has anyone noticed that the woman is completely delusional? Apparently, Muriel Spark meant her fictional teacher Miss Jean Brodie to be an endearing yet tragic figure, but a character so ridiculously self-important would try anyone’s patience. “I am in my prime,” Brodie tells her students, all girls beginning adolescence, and explains, “You are benefiting by my [...]

The Delusion of Miss Jean Brodie2022-12-01T15:41:36-06:00

Elgar’s Stout and Steaky London Town


In 1997, at the funeral of Princess Diana, and in 2021, at that of Prince Philip, the music included Sir Edward Elgar’s “Nimrod,” one of his Enigma Variations. Elgar composed it around 1898, and it has featured at numerous other funerals and at Britain’s annual Service of Remembrance held on Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday closest to [...]

Elgar’s Stout and Steaky London Town2022-11-01T23:51:11-05:00

Karloff Reads Conrad


In the film Gods and Monsters (1998), the character James Whale describes actor Boris Karloff as “the dullest fellow imaginable.” Historically, Whale directed Karloff in Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), making a struggling stage actor a movie star. In Gods and Monsters Whale comes across as a sadly self-absorbed figure, but by all [...]

Karloff Reads Conrad2022-10-11T01:56:05-05:00

Visiting Aunt Annie


At the time, of course, there was no way I could appreciate that we were living in something of a time warp, since a lot of what we were doing was about as out of date as a steam locomotive or a Model T. Maybe ten miles from our 1960s ranch-style house was where my parents [...]

Visiting Aunt Annie2022-09-14T00:33:16-05:00

Grant Wood’s Silence


Paintings by Eric Sloane rarely include the human form, although sometimes a farmer is carrying a bucket by an old barn, or a fisherman is casting under a covered bridge. Likewise, paintings by Edward Hopper seldom have people in them, and when they do, Hopper’s people are either alone or couples who look as though they [...]

Grant Wood’s Silence2022-08-28T22:14:55-05:00

Meeting David McCullough


In May, 1998, I met one of my boyhood heroes, David McCullough. With his death at his home in Massachusetts at age 89, America has lost a national treasure. His writings earned him two Pulitzer Prizes, two Francis Parkman Prizes, fifty-five honorary degrees, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2012, his native Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, named [...]

Meeting David McCullough2022-08-09T22:56:36-05:00
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