Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and fifty-fourth, is of non-fiction and historical writer and interviewee Kay Murdy. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Kay Murdy is a co-founder and member of the teaching and coordinating team of the Catholic Bible Institute co-sponsored by the Archdiocese Office of Religious Education and Loyola Marymount University.
Kay has a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies from Mount St. Mary’s College, and certificates in Bible Study Leadership and Pastoral studies from Loyola Marymount University. She is a Master Catechist for the Los Angeles Archdiocese as well as the published author of five books on scripture and spirituality for Resource Publications, and one book on Lent for Liguori Publications. Her first novel, Song of the Dove, is published by ACTA Publications.
Kay also offers conferences and retreats on scripture, liturgy and spirituality in parishes and retreat centers in California, and as far away as Ireland and Australia.
And now from the author herself:
My mother told me that from the time I was a little girl, I always had a pencil in my hand, scribbling pictures or scratching out stories. My mother’s sister, my Aunt Marie, was my role model, although I’m sure she never thought of herself that way. She was an unmarried woman who lived with us in the post-depression days. Aunt Marie wanted to be an artist but never realized her dream. But she taught me how to draw, and more importantly, how to see. “Look at that tree! What colors do you see?” she asked me. “Green,” I answered matter-of-factly. “Look again, do you see other colors?” As I looked closer, I was excited to see a myriad of colors―yellow, brown, orange, purple, and more.
When my aunt died, I wanted one of her paintings that I remembered seeing in my bedroom as a child. It was a watercolor of Mary, holding the infant Jesus in her arms, standing on a globe with a serpent under her feet. It was a sign of protection, that Mary would guard me from evil, and it gave me comfort to have it. But as I grew older, Mary stayed on the wall, a painted figure from the dim past. Her many lofty titles such as: Blessed Virgin, Immaculate Conception, Queen of Angels, Queen of Heaven, Mother of God, and so forth made her even more remote to me.
For centuries, the influence of Mary in works of art such as Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo remain an inspiration today. It is incredible to think that, while no other woman has dominated the scene of history as much as Mary, holding a fascination for both Catholics and non-Catholics, and even non-Christians, so little is written of her personal journey as a woman with the same hopes and dreams for herself and her loved ones that we have today. I often wondered what the flesh and blood Mary of Nazareth might have been like. How would she speak to people today? What sort of role model would she be?
Mary – the timeless role model
Mary is a timeless role model for women, a reality that transcends time and cultures. She is the paradigm of a truly liberated woman, a woman who freely embraced her own calling and knew herself beloved by God who all generations would call her blessed.
Song of the Dove
In telling the story of Mary of Nazareth, I chose the title “Song of the Dove” for three reasons. First, the dove is an important symbol in the Bible mentioned especially in the Song of Songs. Second, the dove is an image of peace, gentleness, and sacrifice like Mary. And third, the song of the dove is mournful, full of longing, yet inspiring faith and trust for the future.
Mary is a complex figure who, like her son, shares our humanity. She cannot be captured by any single image. She was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and a widow. She was a poor woman, a refuge, often homeless, a woman who grew old and yet remained an important influence in the early church as prophet and mystic. Mary was a woman of joy at the nativity and a woman of sorrow at the cross. In her old age she is a sign of hope for what we might become.
In writing the Song of the Dove, it is my intention to present Mary in a way that will bypass the sentimental portraits of her that have accumulated through the ages, and enable contemporary believers to encounter her in their own lives. Although I have made every effort to present historical events accurately, this is a novel, not a history book. Just as good storytellers, poets and painters translate deep perceptions into verbal or visual forms that move us, my intention is to move you the reader, to take another look at Mary. I have endeavored to be faithful to my Aunt Marie’s artistic vision: “What do you see?” and paint her with as many of the colors that I have available on my pallet. My hope is that the story of Mary of Nazareth will be a prism to illuminate the lives of both women and men today.
You can find more about Kay via… http://www.togetherwithgodsword.com, daily commentaries on scripture readings of the Catholic Church.
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Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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