Growing up in a Polish-American Catholic family, Donna-Marie was blessed with hard-working parents who provided a stable home for their eight children. At times her childhood was golden and carefree, but other times it was tarnished by pain that she felt was best left unspoken as she sought God for help and strength.
After she left home after high school, her path took some harrowing turns. A Vietnam veteran fiancé snapped and held her against her will. She suffered pregnancy loss, serious illness, divorce, and single motherhood. Perhaps her greatest trial was an epic custody battle in which she needed to defend both her reputation as a mother and the safety of her five children.
Yet through all the dark valleys, Donna-Marie kept the fire of her faith burning. Helping her to see the beauty of the crosses in her life, and to rely on the presence and the providence of God, were saintly souls who became her friends and mentors. One of these was Blessed Mother Teresa, who was her confidant and spiritual mother for ten years.
Raised in a happy, atheist home, Jennifer had the freedom to think for herself and play by her own rules. Yet a creeping darkness followed her all of her life. Finally, one winter night, it drove her to the edge of her balcony, making her ask once and for all why anything mattered. At that moment everything she knew and believed was shattered.
Asking the unflinching questions about life and death, good and evil, led Jennifer to Christianity, the religion she had reviled since she was an awkward, sceptical child growing up in the Bible Belt. Mortified by this turn of events, she hid her quest from everyone except her husband, concealing religious books in opaque bags as if they were porn and locking herself in public bathroom stalls to read the Bible.
Just when Jennifer had a profound epiphany that gave her the courage to convert, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition-and the only treatment was directly at odds with the doctrines of her new-found faith. Something other than God is a poignant, profound and often funny tale of one woman who set out to find the meaning of life and discovered that true happiness sometimes requires losing it all.
"Paul Wilkes's memoir is a love story—and also a story of a struggle with the lover, in his case, God. The son of an immigrant, Wilkes felt that he was called to a priestly vocation, indeed a Trappist vocation. God sent him many signals that this was not his calling. So Paul had to settle for what he thought to be a second-best vocation—a very successful writer. God heaved a sigh of relief. Paul had finally 'got it.' He has written a memoir of the century."
—Andrew Greeley, author, The Catholic Imagination
"Paul Wilkes is that rarest of people—a deeply spiritual man who is also an absolutely exquisite writer. His absorbing new memoir reveals the wonderful things that can happen when you allow God to lead you along life's often bumpy path—whether or not you know where the journey will lead. This is a beautifully written, frequently haunting, and always fascinating story of seeking and finding, serving and loving, and—ultimately—dying and rising. Highly recommended."
—James Martin, SJ, author, My Life with the Saints
"Paul Wilkes's biography takes us through Paul's life, but through the stages of our own lives as well. As a result, at the end of it we can see how we, too, have become more than we ever thought we could be. Wilkes is a great writer–he has a refreshing style, a direct voice, and a stark and unfurbished honesty, even about himself. In Due Season has all the marks of Augustine's Confessions or Merton's Seven Storey Mountain. It gives the rest of us, whatever we've done, wherever we've been, hope. It helps us see the forest of our lives despite the trees.
Read this book. It can put the seasons of your own life into better, broader perspective."
—Joan Chittister, author, Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir
Paul Wilkes' In Due Season takes the reader on a moving journey through an extraordinary era's thickets of American Catholic life and belief—opening at last into wisdom, affirmation, and hope.
—James Carroll, author, Practicing Catholic and An American Requiem, winner of the National Book Award