Father Carl Hausmann, SJ, spent his life serving others, leading a life of asceticism and holiness as a Jesuit priest in the Philippines. He also wrote hundreds of letters to his devout German-American family detailing his calling. In this intimate biography, Father Carl's niece, Cynthia Joy Hausmann, has translated an expansive collection of letters dating from her uncle's youngest days. Through his letters, we meet a youngster who buys candy instead of putting his pennies in the church collection. Later, as a Jesuit student, he counsels his father not to take the day's prevalent anti-German sentiment personally. As a compassionate missionary, Father Carl serves lepers on an isolated island. Finally, in World War II, this self-sacrificing man shares both the word of God and his meager rice ball with American soldiers imprisoned by the Japanese. Up to the hour of his death by starvation, Father Carl calms his family's worries about the dangers besetting him. Clearly, Father Carl's biography illustrates how letter writing is a personal endeavor: one that has been virtually lost amid today's technology. Father Carl's missives endure as a guidepost for future generations, giving us a window into how deeply capable we can be in ministering to others.
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October 22, 2008
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