Eulogies have a long and important history in remembering and commemorating the dead. As Thomas Lynch notes in his Foreword, eulogies are meant "to speak for the ages, to bring homage and appreciation, the final appraisal, the last word and first draft of all future biography." In Great American Catholic Eulogies, Carol DeChant has compiled fifty of the most memorable and instructive eulogies of Catholics in America.
The eulogies in Great American Catholic Eulogies span the American experience, from those who were born before the Declaration of Independence was written to a modern sports legend, from pioneers in social justice, healthcare, and the arts to founders of distinctly American religious orders, and from all the varied ethnic cultures who contribute to the great cultural milieu that is the United States. Great American Catholic Eulogies reveals the powerful value of a well-crafted eulogy: It reveals what a particular Catholic life has taught the eulogist.
Those eulogized in this volume include:
- Chaplain Mychal Judge
- Mother Katharine Drexel
- William Tecumseh Sherman
- Andre Dubus
- Tim Russert
- Flannery O’Connor
- Liz Christman
- Sister Mary Ignatia
- William F. Buckley
- John F. Kennedy
- Dorothy Day
- Andy Warhol
- Patricia Neal
- Joseph Cardinal Bernadin
- Rosemary Clooney
- Erma Bombeck
- Phil Rizzuto
- Wellington T. Mara
- Milton Batiste
- Frederick Hart
- Elly Chovel
- Elizabeth Ann Seton
- Mary K. Meyer
- Joyce Kilmer
"The Great American Catholic Eulogies features fifty eulogies by and of Catholics. Honestly, I wasn’t initially interested in reading the book. I thought it would be gloomy and depressing. It is definitely not that... The book is about heroes, role models, mentors, and leadership. It’s about hope, love, and living a life of faith. It notes the best in humanity and offers a level for us to reach for."
Mary K. Doyle, Doyle's Delights
Carol DeChant shares ACTA’s penchant for both religious thought and baseball. As a child she attended Visitation School in Des Moines and Iowa Cubs games, establishing a lifetime team loyalty (with a brief defection to Kansas City when the Royals had George Brett and poet-pitcher Dan Quisenberry).
Carol’s new book, Great American Catholic Eulogies, also reflects her interest in story telling, dating back to graduate work in folklore at Creighton and Kansas Universities. The book offers a spectrum of American Catholic history, through “stories” about men and women of every era since the American Revolution. These lives are revealed by their eulogists and in prefaces Carol wrote for each tribute, to place the subject in his or her era.
The deceased represent a broad range of American-Catholic ethnicity, whose contributions were in social, public, church or military service, or through art, music, literature, media, and even baseball. The book reintroduces them to readers who may have forgotten—or never known—the extent of how Catholics left their mark on America.
Carol has also contributed chapters to ACTA’s Diamond Presence and Christmas Presence collections, and her articles have appeared in the Miami Herald and in Chicago’s Tribune and Sun-Times.
Carol is the founder of DeChant-Hughes & Associates, Inc. the national public relations firm serving books and authors, (now headed by Kelly Hughes). Landmark publishing events launched under Carol’s direction include the revised Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Librera Editrice Vaticana/Liguori Press) The New International Version of the Bible, (Zondervan) and The Commentary on the Torah (Jewish Publication Society). Writers represented include Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie); Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (The Gift of Peace); Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong (four books); and athlete-authors Mike Singletary, Gary Carter, and Dave Dravecky.
After graduating from Drake University with a journalism major, Carol worked on the Kansas City Diocesan newspaper (after its predecessor, The Catholic Reporter, relocated to New York as a national independent paper). The new local paper also exceeded diocesan comfort zones, however; and after it was shut down, Carol became an editor and film critic at a suburban newspaper chain. Her screenplay, Pure Beholding, had a brief happy life as first place winner in a Texas screenwriting competition before dying peacefully, never produced.
Carol and her husband Stan Reinisch vote in the Florida county where 527 votes decided the 2000 presidential election; they spend hurricane season in Evanston, IL. Their ten grandchildren come and go.