Author reading and book signing: Sarah Hoeynck "A Sisterhood on Fire"

Join us as local author Sarah Hoeynck reads from her new work "A Sisterhood on Fire." This work of historical fiction dives into the story of the Sisters of Loretto in the American West.

On the Kentucky frontier in 1821, three Catholic nuns live in harmony in their vowed community. They belong to the Sisters of Loretto, and for almost a decade, these Sisters have educated young women on the frontier—including slaves and non-Catholics—with little help from the male authorities in their diocese. They have maintained the Loretto Order by adhering strictly to a life of sacrifice—one comprised of waking before dawn to pray, working the fields for sustenance, battling disease, and consuming meager meals, all while barefoot.

But when Father Nerinckx, the Sisters' longtime spiritual adviser, returns from Rome, he brings new papal edicts that threaten the Loretto way of life. While Nerinckx opposes such commands, Father Chabrat, another local priest, wants to initiate them to exert his control over the diocese. These changes not only stress obedience to the Church and its patriarchal hierarchy but also jeopardize the autonomy and pioneering spirit held dear by the Sisters. 

Alternating close narrators Mary Rhodes, Isabella Clark, and Helen Morton each face their own struggles with issues related to slavery and male authority. Both Mary's desire to keep control and Isabella's naïve zeal will clash with Chabrat's power grabs, while Helen burns with frustration from her futile efforts to achieve equity for her enslaved students. Can their faith quench the fire of disobedience glowing within them, or will these women scorch the past in order to forge an uncertain future?

Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Emerson Library, Library Conference Room 120
101 Edgar Road, 63119

Event Type

Chancellor's Office, President's Office, Library



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