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Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 29: What fiction and a band of sisters can teach us about hope
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Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.
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By simplyfaithful
March 18, 2013 5:25 a.m.

IMG_1104In this 40-day series we’ve mainly shared stories that are non-fiction, but sometimes great fiction shares great truth and hope. Cathy Gohlke’s latest novel, Band of Sisters, tackles the very real problem of human trafficking. Read on to see the role hope plays in the lives of her characters — and what they are able to accomplish by trusting God…
  • In “Band of Sisters” the problems seem so large and overwhelming. It’s clear that many of your characters had strong faith, but what role, if any, did hope play in tackling those problems? 
  • IMG_8893Maureen O’Reilly desperately hopes to escape Ireland and the abusive landlord and his son that plague her and her younger sister.  She hopes they can begin anew, building a life in the new world with the help of their father’s benefactor.  But trouble begins at Ellis Island, and is compounded when they learn that their benefactor has died and his son-in-law refuses to acknowledge the debt.  Alone and impoverished in New York City, the dangers for the young immigrant women mount. Meanwhile, a group of Manhattan women, led by the deceased benefactor’s daughter, seek to follow in Christ’s steps by embracing the poor and needy, and helping immigrant women.  Despite danger, hurt, doubts and fears, Maureen learns that the source of love and hope is not something she can force or create for herself.  Hope is found in Christ Himself—the Christ she comes to know and trust through the ministries of her growing band of sisters. Together, the women—poor and wealthy, immigrant and native born—hope to make a difference for all women by following in His steps.
  • Even though this is an historical novel, it addresses something that we continue to struggle with today. What do you hope this novel accomplishes? 
  • This book was born of a passion to end modern day slavery, and most of all to ask, what can I do to help in a need so desperate?  I hope readers will be inspired to ask this same question, and to follow in Christ’s steps by helping those caught in the web of human trafficking. We can’t solve the problem in our own strength, but through Christ and by His strength and grace we can all do something.
  • Why is hope essential — in a story plot and in our lives?
  • Real life is tough.  It’s full of conflict—all fodder for a good story—fiction or non-fiction.  Without hope we can so easily despair and quit.  But we’re made to do hard things, to take stands, to overcome through Christ.  Hope is what spurs us on—hope while we persevere; hope to achieve whatever God has placed on our heart to work toward, or in our hands to accomplish; hope for those we love; hope for peace for all; hope in victory; hope for hearing at the end of our course, “well done,” by the One in whom we live and move and have our being.
    Gohlke_Cathy_01Cathy Gohlke is the two-time Christy Award–winning author of William Henry is a Fine Name and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires, which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award and was listed by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of 2008. Her book Promise Me This was released in February 2012, and Band of Sisters was released in September 2012.
    Cathy has worked as a school librarian, drama director, and director of children’s and education ministries. When not traipsing the hills and dales of historic sites, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, make their home on the banks of the Laurel Run in Maryland.
    Visit her Website here and click here to read an interview I did with her on Promise Me This.

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