Daniel Berrigan in Memory and Reflection
Imprint: Cascade Books
212 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.42 in
- Published: April 2021
- Published: April 2021
- Published: April 2021
Daniel Berrigan (+2016+) is most notorious for dramatic anti-war actions at a Catonsville draft board and a Pennsylvania nuclear weapons plant in the '60s and '80s. Indeed, with friends, he was practically devising what's been called "liturgical direct action." Berrigan was also teacher, pastor, and friend to author Bill Wylie-Kellermann. Celebrant's Flame is a well-researched, but personal book, a debt of gratitude--in the end a tome of love to his mentor. Reflecting on aspects of Berrigan's person and work--from poet, prophet, prisoner, priest, and more, Wylie-Kellermann sketches this warm portrait of a figure whose impact on church and movement only deepens in the present moment. The book includes considerable material by Berrigan himself, some previously unpublished--a wedding homily, a long poem, a controversial speech, plus much in the way of personal letters, poetry, and memoir. Written with Berrigan's hundredth birthday in mind, these reflections help keep the flame of this beloved celebrant burning for the stunning new movement generation arising among us.
"Here we have one of the best Christian writers of our time reflecting on one of the best Christians of our time, or any time. Bill has a rare, gentle thoughtfulness and insight that helps us unpack the profound word and witness of Daniel Berrigan. I hope this book inspires many to study Dan's life and writings anew and to deepen our own witness to peace and nonviolence, that we might become, like Daniel Berrigan, disciples, apostles, and prophets of the nonviolent Jesus to our broken world."
--John Dear, editor of Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings
"In these relentlessly compelling pages, Dan Berrigan keeps coming at us. We get Dan's wisdom, courage, passion, honesty, good humor, faith, joy, and eloquent gracefulness. And besides all of that, we get the imagery and testimony of his wide circle of friends who shared his passionate vocation of justice. We get all of this because of the generous gifts of Bill Wylie-Kellermann, gifts of poetic cadence, good memory, strong imagination, a close friendship with Dan, and a passion for justice not unlike that of Berrigan himself. This deeply moving book consists in poems, memories, sermons, speeches, and testimonies that will keep Dan's singular legacy alive for time to come. The book is a welcome gift to us. It is indeed compelling in ways that will both unnerve and give nerve to an attentive reader."
--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"Beneath all the lives of the saints there lies the mycelium of friendship. In Celebrant's Flame, Wylie-Kellermann orates Daniel Berrigan's sacred story. Yes, as Catholic priest, social prophet, and liturgical poet, but first and foremost, as friend. Wylie-Kellermann's intimate and wry turn of phrase allows their holy friendship to again do its alchemical work: transforming readers of the Word into its creative witnesses."
--Rose Marie Berger, senior editor at Sojourners and author of Bending the Arch
"Daniel Berrigan's death in 2016 meant the loss of one of the greatest prophetic voices in the history of US Catholicism. Bill's book helps us to heed that voice anew. In addition to presenting an intimate portrait of Berrigan's witness, Bill's own experience uniquely illuminates the vibrant world of radical Christian activism from the latter twentieth century to now, populated with a wide cast of characters. Reader beware: you might become one yourself!"
--Dean Dettloff, lecturer, Institute for Christian Studies
"The clear-sightedness of this stunning book is life-sustaining: root yourself in the gospel, find your community and dwell there, love one another, and act on the side of life--always! Those steeped in Daniel Berrigan's writings and life will be delighted with Wylie-Kellerman's deft ability to engage and renew Berrigan's familiar work while also opening paths to anti-racist solidarity, climate justice, and COVID-19 mutual aid work. This book breathed life into the dried bones of America and my own. Wylie-Kellerman knows the rocky ground we must tread, but he also knows we must be people of the resurrection."
--Anna J. Brown, coeditor and author of Faith, Resistance, and the Future: Daniel Berrigan's Challenge to Catholic Social Thought
"In this homage to, and multifaceted portrait of, his beloved friend and mentor, Wylie-Kellermann exhumes old correspondence, excavates forgotten files and re-members community mementos from a movement that spiritually and politically birthed him (and me, and so many others). This is a kind of family scrapbook, rich with loving marginal notes (Bill's and others), dog-eared clippings, and poignant snapshots of a consequential life. Through his vintage poetic prose, Wylie-Kellermann offers a treasure trove of sacred story, testimony, and memory to all who were midwifed to gospel faith by Dan Berrigan--and to our spiritual progeny."
--Ched Myers, coauthor of Ambassadors of Reconciliation and Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization