This week, my parish was blessed to host Fr. Paul Murray, O.P., as the presenter at our summer spirituality series. From Monday through Thursday, he celebrated and preached at the evening daily Mass and then gave a talk after a community dinner. We had to miss Tuesday due to another ministry event but absolutely loved the other three nights. On Wednesday and Thursday, I had the additional blessing of assisting him at Mass and thus getting to know each other a bit. As a fellow literature teacher, I loved all the snippets of poetry (especially of the Irish variety) he sprinkled into his homilies and talks, and he also shares my affection for St. Augustine! He is perhaps most widely known as the long-time chaplain to the Rome community of St. Teresa of Calcutta's Missionaries of Charity, and he was a personal friend and confidant of hers. In 2009, he published a short book titled I Loved Jesus in the Night about her "dark night of the soul."
I titled this post "Four nights with a saint" very intentionally and not at all flippantly. The breadth and depth of Fr. Paul's knowledge are second only to the breadth and depth of his humble spirituality and his ability to make both eminently accessible to a broad audience. It would not surprise me in the least to one day celebrate the feast of St. Paul of Northern Ireland.