Friday, July 10, 2015

Helping with Publication

I've spent a large amount of time helping an elderly man publish his memoirs. He is 91 and an Episcopal priest. When he told me about his background, I urged him to get his compelling life story on paper.

He is a terrific writer and whipped out a 190-page manuscript in no time flat. The title is Apology for a Monk in the World.

Not a one of us can top this story nor the extraordinary life of this man. It's one of the most self-revealing memoirs I've ever read. The Rev. Dr. Jean Jacques D'Aoust first became a Monk in 1947 and lived in the strictly cloistered and contemplative monastery of Saint-Benoit-du-Lac in the province of Quebec, following the Rule of St. Benedict.

Then in 1963 he left both the monastic life and the Roman Catholic Church and became an Episcopal priest. During this agonizing period of religious exploration he acquired a doctorate from Yale, four masters and two bachelors degrees. He is a world renowned authority on the works of Maurice Blondel. whom the Roman Church regarded as heretical.  Although four books of Henri Dumery, Blondel's favorite disciple, were put on the "forbidden list" by the church, this controversial philosopher influenced Vatican II. In fact, D'Aoust saw all three drafts of Vatican II.

Apology for a Monk in the World is a painful, fascinating story of a man, a priest, and a brilliant scholar's struggle to reconcile the spiritual and temporal world. Married twice, Fr. D'Aoust is unsparing in his account of his triumphs and failures in the role of husband and father of two sons. The recipient of three grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities, Fr. D'Aoust has taught at a number of universities in the United States and Canada. Now at age 91, he lives at the Wexford Center in Loveland, Colorado. He has been licensed to preach in the Diocese of Colorado since 2003. Last year he became an Oblate of St. Walburga Abbey in Virginia Dale, Colorado and is back in affiliation with Order of St. Benedict.

Honestly now, don't you think that is story worth telling? I chose Amazon's CreateSpace program and was surprised at how easy it was to use. I didn't change a word of his manuscript. Nor did I want anyone else to meddle with it. D'Aoust has shown it a few other people. Predictably, his French Canadian family would like him to take back some of the criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, which he refuses to do. "It's what I believe," he says.

I was glad to give my time to this project and learned a lot in the process. It's done and available for sale in print through Amazon. We have to do a little more work to get it on-line through Kindle.

What a book and what a man. What a life!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this about Dr. Jean Jacques D'Aoust, and YES it is a story worth telling. Best wishes on his success!

Charlotte Hinger said...

Thank you Catherine. Oh to have even one-tenth of his kind of mind. And I don't mean at his age. At any age at all. He is an outstanding priest too.

Donis Casey said...

What an interesting story! I don't know if my Episcopalian niece in Ft. Collins knows about Dr. D'Aoust, but now I must alert her to this.