The Lady of the Angels and Her City recounts Wendy Wright's visitations to her hometown's many Marian churches and shrines. But it is much more than a personal pilgrimage narrative. It offers important glimpses into the history of Los Angeles Catholicism, American Catholic culture, and Mary's place in Catholic theology and tradition. It peeks into the heroic labors of the religious orders that went on mission there and the waves of immigrants who have arrived on American shores. With Wright, readers will consider:
the relationship between vivid devotional faith and our common worship
the possibility of relating to a Mary who is the apocalyptic Virgin of Fatima and yet also "always our sister"
the unheard and undervalued voices of those who, across the theological and cultural spectrum, find in Mary a companion, an advocate, and a deeply consoling presence
Readers who know the geography of Los Angeles Catholicism will surely enjoy Wright's reflection on familiar places. But there is much here that will fascinate anyone interested in either the history of Christianity in America or devotion to Mary by those who love her today.
Wendy M. Wright is professor of theology at Creighton University. She is the author of many books, including The Essential Spirituality Handbook; Heart Speaks to Heart: The Salesian Tradition; and Sacred Heart: Gateway to God.
Click here to view the schedule for Wendy Wright's book tour
The intersection between academic theology and the theology of lived experience does not occur as often as it should. In this, her fifteenth book, Wendy M. Wright makes this intersection substantive and engaging, marrying autobiographical narrative with theological reflection. As a personal exercise in "lived religion," her reflections are more compelling than the detached cerebral forays of those merely observing the practices of others. Wright therefore demonstrates the contextuality of what it means to do theology by displaying in honest prose and vivid imagery the meaning of returning home and the intertwining of stories among pilgrims.
Susie Paulik Babka, University of San Diego, Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society
Here is a pearl of contemplative wisdom formed from layers of insight, discernment, friendship, expansive maternal sensibility, and the author's own 'soul moments.' It is a treasure of art, local history, and multicultural experience, perceptive theology, and awareness of how images of Mary could reinforce both women's oppression and freedom.
Joann Wolski Conn, Neumann University (Professor Emerita) , Past President, Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality
Wendy M. Wright writes like no one else in the field of spirituality today. Travel with her on this fascinating Marian pilgrimage, and you will discover worlds that extend far beyond Mary and Los Angeles-and ultimately, you will be brought home to yourself.
Fr. Edward L. Beck, CBS News Faith and Religion Contributor and author of God Underneath: Spiritual Memoirs of a Catholic Priest
Wrights latest publication is highly recommended, not only for the beautiful Marian images contained therein, but also for the author's concise and poignant writing style. Although this work should appeal to a wide audience, it should be especially appreciated by students of cultural anthropology and Marian devotion in modern times.
Robert P. Russo, Lourdes University
This book is a major contribution to the place of Mary in contemporary Catholic spirituality. Accompanying the author and her photographer as they criss-cross the busy freeways of this bafflingly diverse megalopolis, the reader is led through the web of Marian devotions and the history of the many communities that make up today's Los Angeles and brought to see how the figure of Mary combines faith with culture. Readers who love Mary, those who are fascinated by southern California, or those who seek to understand why the figure of the Virgin continues to compel will all find in this poignant and elegantly written text things to inform and delight.
Rev. Dorian Llywelyn, SJ, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles
These pages take us into the very heart of Mary and the marvelous City of Angels. This book is a treasure for pilgrims or anyone who wants to become one.
Jeanne Hunt, Author of Celebrating Saints and Seasons
This volume recommends itself to several audiences, including curious general readers, scholars of Marian devotional art and practice, and all interested in the shape of contemporary Catholicism in the United States. It is advisable as a purchase for theology libraries and those that serve wider readerships alike.
Christopher K. Coffman, Catholic Library World
Nobody brings together popular piety and serious theological reflection better than Wendy Wright. The heart and the intellect can go together. This book is proof!
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, Oblate School of Theology (San Antonio, TX), Author of Our One Great Act of Fidelity