Monday, October 5, 2015

Why it's misleading to say "love is love"

Here is a clip from my talk on "The Thrill of the Chaste" last month at Hope College. The talk was sponsored by the Saint Benedict Forum, which has a very nice writeup by a student on their website, including complete videos of both the talks I gave at the college (the other was on healing of memories).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Watch now: I speak on true freedom vs. false freedom

Here is a second clip from the talk I gave last week as part of the Catholic Studies Speaker Series at Aquinas College. This one is on how I discovered that the "freedom" promoted by mainstream culture pales before the true freedom of living as a beloved daughter of God in Christ.

For more on healing from sexual wounds, see my books My Peace I Give You and The Thrill of the Chaste.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Watch now: I speak on finding meaning in suffering

The Catholic Studies Speaker Series at Aquinas College gave me the opportunity to speak on September 15 about "My Tangled Road to Rome." In this clip, I tell about healing of memories, and especially how I found meaning in my unavoidable pain. It's a theme that I take up in both My Peace I Give You and The Thrill of the Chaste.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Listen now: I speak at Hope College's Chapel on how Jesus heals our memories

It's not every day that I have the opportunity to preach to 1,200 students! So it was a very special experience last Wednesday when, thanks to the wonderful people at Hope College Campus Ministry and the Saint Benedict Forum, I had the pleasure of speaking at Hope College's Chapel. Here is the audio of the ten-minute talk, which is drawn from my upcoming book Remembering God's Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories, due in March from Ave Maria Press.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Elizabeth Scalia: "Dawn's book was an eye-opener for me ..."

This week's Our Sunday Visitor features a beautiful review of the new Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste by Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress).

I am especially grateful for Scalia's accentuating that the new Thrill is a whole new book, written for all adults—men, women, single, married:

Dawn’s book was an eye-opener for me, and the impetus for many days of lectio divina spent exploring what “virtue” means beyond the realm of sexual continence, or integrity, or even a conscious choice not to engage in gossip.

Through this book, I came to understand how the practice of the virtue of chastity is, in its fullest form, a logical consequence of living within an intentional pursuit of agape love. ...

Eden’s first embrace of Christianity (and her first iteration of the book) had her living as a sign of contradiction against easy — and worldly — consent, even as she sought the husband she was certain God had for her

In this new Catholic edition of “The Thrill of the Chaste,” Eden is still living as a sign of contradiction — the world, after all, still misunderstands chastity as being little more than a dreary and joyless island of “no” — but she also has become a rather paradoxical witness to the world of “yes,” and how the power of that word, directed first to God, before any human, creates a chaste place for the Holy Spirit, and providence, to work in our lives.
Read the rest at

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Why this former rock journalist authored a book on chastity"

I spoke in April at the Institute on Religious Life conference.
Listen to the talk via iTunes or SoundCloud.
Catholic News Agency today features an interview in which I share the message of the new Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste.

In "Why This Former Rock Journalist Authored a Book About Chastity," Maggie Lawson reports,

In writing her book, Eden wanted to address the person she had been before her conversion – the person who was searching for ways to fill her hurting, lonely heart. She wanted to offer hope and healing to the other men and women who had also been hurt by past experiences.

Eden wasn't the only one out there who felt the harrowing, sweeping feeling of loneliness – she found that it was becoming an increasingly popular sentiment. However, that lonely feeling wasn’t always a negative thing, she recalled.

“I have come to realize that hunger and loneliness are not bad things: they are signs that I am made for something better and higher than this world, signs that I am meant to make room for God.”

“We are all made with a God-shaped vacuum in our heart that can only be filled by the love of God in and through Christ,” Eden reflected.

Read the entire article at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New revelations on a little-known aspect of Daniel A. Lord, S.J.'s life

I went out yesterday to Chicago's Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery to visit the graves of the parents and grandmother of Father Daniel A. Lord, S.J. (1888-1955), the great Jesuit author who is a personal hero of mine, and to whom I dedicated My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints. What I discovered there will interest scholars and others who admire Lord's life and work.

In my hands in the photo is Father Lord's biography of his mother, Iva Jane Frances Langdon Lord: My Mother: The Study of an Uneventful Life (St. Louis, MO: The Queen's Work, 1934). He wrote it after his mother's death, because she had requested there be no monument upon her grave, so he decided to honor her wishes but also honor her with a literary monument.

Iva Lord's request went beyond merely asking that her own grave be unmarked. As Father Lord relates in My Mother, in a conversation he had with her less than two weeks before her death, her stated desire was that, after her burial, the headstones be removed from "all three" graves in the family plot: her own; her husband, George D. Lord; and her mother, Margaret Langdon. She moreover wanted the graves to be "sodded over." It was a bizarre request, to say the least. Father Lord writes, "What could I do?" The implication is that he acceded to her request. So, while I was able to obtain the plot's location from the cemetery's helpful staff, I expected to find no headstones on any of the graves.

What I found surprised me in more ways than one. First, the staff informed me that there were four bodies in the plot. The fourth was not Father Lord—he is buried alongside brother Jesuits in the Society of Jesus section of Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. It was his brother, James G. Lord, whose existence was acknowledged only by scattered, somewhat cryptic mentions in My Mother and his autobiography Played by Ear. Father Lord writes that James was an invalid, and hints that his illness involved mental disability; the first stage of it was the "strange apathy" he displayed as a child. The last bit of historical information Father Lord offers about James is that Father Lord informed Iva just prior to his death that the Sisters of St. Mary had agreed to accept James as a permanent boarder, thereby assuring her that her invalid son would be taken care of after her passing.

Although I could have expected James to be buried in the family plot, the information given me about him by the cemetery (his name and date of burial) enabled me to track down his death certificate, which gives some very interesting new information.

The death certificate reveals that, as a permanent boarder of the Sisters of St. Mary, James received care at St. John's Hospital in St. Louis, which means that he spent the last ten years of his life in the same city where Father Lord was stationed as national director of the Sodality of Our Lady and editor of its publishing house The Queen's Work. So, when Father Lord promised his mother that the Sisters of St. Mary would care for James, he was also promising her that James would live near him. I had not realized that. It was also the hospital where Father Lord sought treatment over the years and where he himself would die on January 15, 1955—eleven and a half years after his brother.

Also, note the cause of death: a cerebral hemorrhage, which had lasted three days, and which was itself caused by a malignant brain tumor from which James had suffered for years. So, Father Lord, who outlived his brother by twelve years, had personally experienced caring for a close family member suffering from cancer. That is significant given that Father Lord's heroic witness in his own battle with cancer has inspired so many people, including Servant of God Dorothy Day.

The other surprise of the visit was that Father Lord, although honoring his mother's wish for no monument, did not in fact honor her wish for the graves of his father and grandmother to be sodded over. Good for him, I say! After all, his mother had no authority to cancel out her husband and mother's wishes.

Praying at the unmarked grave of Daniel A. Lord, S.J.'s mother. James's unmarked grave is to my left.

The grave of Daniel A. Lord, S.J.'s grandmother,  Margaret Langdon

The grave of Daniel A. Lord,S.J.'s father, George D. Lord

I am thankful that Ave Maria Press, which publishes my books, is planning to republish Father Lord's Letters to My Lord, which will bring to a modern audience the beautiful reflections Lord wrote during his final illness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

"Chastity is 'in' because it’s rebellious"
National Catholic Register interviews me about the new Thrill

Today it is my joy to share with you National Catholic Register reporter Sarah Reinhard's in-depth interview with me about the new Catholic edition of The Thrill of the Chaste. In "Dawn Eden: Chastity Is 'In' Because It's Rebellious," I discuss the countercultural witness of chastity— an especially important witness given the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage, and given the discussions to take place at the Synod on the Family.

Here are some highlights:
Who most needs to read your book? Who were you writing for? I ask, in part, because, as I read it, you spoke straight to my heart, so eloquently and deftly. 
My prime audience is single Catholic adults who have been chewed up, swallowed and spit out by the dating culture. Having missed the memo on abstinence, they are now seeking a happier way to live and love than what society is offering them. I want them to have the kind of book that I wish had been there for me when divine grace brought me to want to bring my lifestyle in line with God’s will. 
But in a larger sense, The Thrill of the Chaste is for everyone who suffers from existential loneliness — which, I think, really means everyone. Deep down, we all long for a person who understands us and loves us perfectly. But even if we find our soulmate in marriage, sooner or later, like the Cher song says, we all sleep alone. What do we do when we realize that no human being will truly satisfy us? 
I write for people who suffer this tension of living in the “now and not yet,” and I seek to give them hope through reflecting on how, even in this world, we can experience a foretaste of Christ’s transfiguration of our bodies, as the Catechism says (1000). We experience it through our participation in the Eucharist, in which Christ gives us his own embodied love and shows us how to embody that same divine love to others. 
At one point, you say, “Chastity is so out, it’s in.” Why do you think this topic has become such a hot topic? Why is this a topic people should read about, i.e., in your book (instead of just googling or reading chastity blogs)? 
Chastity is in because it’s rebellious. Practically the entire culture — certainly the whole of mainstream media, driven by advertising — is geared toward reducing human persons to objects. The chaste individual bucks the system because he or she refuses to buy into this culture of objectification. When we choose to be chaste, we assert our dignity as human persons, whose value is in who we are — not what we do or have done to us, what we wear or what we own. 
As far as why it’s better to read a book like mine than to just search online or read chastity blogs, I’ve got nothing against blogs; parts of the original Thrill first appeared on my own Dawn Patrol. But I think that a person who wants to make real and lasting change in his or her life needs to have an in-depth resource that can be consulted and reflected upon over time — a bedside companion, if you will, but of the chaste variety.
Read the full interview, and click the tabs at the top of this page for more information about me and my apostolate, including podcasts of talks on chastity and spiritual healing.