Once a Catholic : a novel in stories and poems

Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Creative Writing

First Advisor's Name

James W. Hall

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Richard Sugg

Third Advisor's Name

Lynne Barrett

Date of Defense



"Once A Catholic" is a novel about the indelible effects of growing up Catholic.

The novel is told in a series of stories and poems. The first story, "Credo," offers an overview of the rich culture of Catholicism that binds the Daley family together. "Before The Fall" recalls the safety and warmth of that Catholic faith.

Subsequent stories focus on individual family members and events, and the Catholicity that lies at their core. "Holy Orders" tells the story the firstborn male child whose destination is the priesthood. "Finding Ecstasy" is a daughter's story of rebellion through sexual exploration. "Sweet Reconciliation" is the story of a search within oneself for forgiveness, the cornerstone of Catholic upbringing.

"Acts of the Apostle" demonstrates the hopelessness of a faith under attack. The final story, "Holy Relics," demonstrates the never-ending desire for redemption and the important act of returning sacredness to its rightful place.



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