Single girl’s survival guide not for all; Denis Grady CD makes the rounds again

The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years: The Nuts and Bolts of Staying Sane and Happy While Waiting for Mr. Right, Emily  Stimpson, Emmaus Road Press, 2012, pp. 156, ISBN: 978-1-937155-34-6
Reviewed by Christina Lee Knauss

It’s not easy being a single woman in the Catholic church, and author Emily Stimpson attempts to offer some help with “The Catholic Girl’s Survival Guide for the Single Years.”

There’s a lot of good advice in this book on everything from dating to how to socialize with married people, and even prayers and  affirmations for women who are despairing because they haven’t found Mr. Right yet. Stimpson has some good perspectives on  finances, handling a career, modest dress and chastity.

However, she seems to be offering help only for those women who are pining for a marriage proposal, and there are some troubling attempts to pigeonhole women according to how they should dress and act.

The book, for instance, includes a chapter on how to discover your “essential femininity,” which includes guidelines such as “Learn
how to appreciate beauty” and “Look lovely.” Nice advice, but something that might not fit every woman.

Another section suggests that being an “unconsecrated” single can’t be considered a primary vocation because all Catholics are somehow destined for a spousal relationship.

This goes against recent discussions about vocations where people were encouraged to discover whether God is calling them to pursue marriage, a religious vocation or to remain single.

It’s a little disturbing to hear that singles who live their lives without somehow being “consecrated” either through membership in a lay religious order or by private vows taken before their bishop are somehow living in a way not considered valid by the church.

These problematic sections aside, this is a good book for Catholic women who are single … and don’t want to be.

Running Too Long. Denis Grady, Independent Label, 1998
Reviewed by Zane Knauss

Denis Grady is a songwriter, musician and singer from Calgary in Canada. His current work is contained in his CD titled “Running Too Long.”

The new issue is a sometimes moving testament to his abiding faith in Jesus Christ as the master of his fate here on earth.

To make this album, Grady recruited more than 30 musicians and singers from the United States and Canada for a series of recording sessions.

Many also are involved with him in a unique program that takes guitars and essential, sustaining supplies to poverty areas in the mountains of Guatemala. The program works under the umbrella of “Franciscans in Action.” In 2012, the musicians will give 13 concerts in Guatemala and Belize.

Grady wrote and recorded all the songs in this album. The message here is not in the music. It is uncomplicated and easy-listening,  albeit with a sameness of tempo and instrumentation: guitars, drums, piano, a violin and multiple voices depending on the song.

It is a fusion of country and contemporary rock with the obligatory pulsating drumbeat.

The message is the message. In a series of what might be called mini-sermons, Grady’s lyrics chart a path to heaven, best described in a phrase co-opted from the Guatemala experience: “Nobody gets unto heaven without a reference letter from the poor.”

The bottom line: Denis Grady is extremely happy in his faith. His words and music shout out that message for all to hear and cheer.