The Saint Nicholas Society by Ben Bongers

The Saint Nicholas Society by Ben Bongers

The Saint Nicholas Society

by Ben Bongers

Fred went from having it all—the girl, the car, the mansion—to being on the street. After being taken in by a kindly priest, he is diagnosed with cancer and begins to question what’s left for him to live for. Nearly falling off the wagon, he is shocked and inspired while watching a modern-day Secret Santa on a TV news broadcast in the bar. Soon he begins to emulate the real Saint by secretly giving to those in need. Along the way he teams up with a band of “misfit-toy” compatriots who each question what life has in store for them. Fred’s story parallels the historic Saint Nikolas of Myra. Told in first person, we learn of then Nicholas’s friendship with an avowed pagan, the loss of his parents at an early age, and his being taken in by an ordained uncle. We follow his life and rise in an outlawed Church, the hardships and fears he had to endure, the communities he created, and his eventual service to the emperor, Constantine. Woven together like a fine tapestry, Fred and Nikolas’s stories inspire everyone to remember that the best ways to live are through kindness, community, and good deeds—showing that the more things change the more they stay the same.

TESTIMONIALS

“With The Saint Nicholas Society, author Benjamin Bongers weaves two engaging narratives into one enlightening yarn. Finding inspiration in Saint Nicholas of Myra, Bongers’ empathetic yet alienated people find the spirit of giving as they rise above the struggles of everyday existence as well as accepting the inevitability of mortality. This narrative delightfully explores the origins of St. Nicholas; starting as a humble son of a fisherman, young Nikki grows from rambunctious youth into a pillar of selfless giving and an icon for Faith; he becomes—first resisting the responsibility—Nicholas, Epískopos to a growing flock, in a landscape where such faith could be perilous. Likewise, he is the symbol for Bongers’ modern day ‘players’ striving to make their lives and world a far better place. So, curl up in a comfortable chair, with a cup of coffee by your side; bond over, say, a nice Chinese Custard bun and enjoy an epic ride into ‘offering and acceptance,’ a pleasant glide into spirituality. In homage to the Marx Brothers, Saint Nicholas might be a ‘sanity clause’ after all.” Les Epstein, Author, Sleep Cinematic: A Golem’s Quartet, Kip Divided

The Saint Nicholas Society is a brilliant and beautiful testimony to true Christianity as told through two very moving storylines. It shows that every person is a loving light to his brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. Amen, it is never too late to strike that spark of holiness, and through humility, be a living witness to our Lord. I can’t think of a better way to show who and what a real Christian is.” Timothy Jeffries, KM, Chancellor, Order of Malta Western Association USA

“A story about the enduring power of one’s belief in God to change lives for the better, The Saint Nicholas Society has a heart as big as its author’s; it is a book that will restore your faith in humanity’s basic goodness.” —Heidi L. Waterman, author

“The Saint Nicholas Society is a touching and charming novel. In its pages, I was reminded once again that The Divine is revealed throughout history in ways that are deeply personal and fresh. May the eyes of our hearts be enlightened to see Divine Presence everywhere we turn.” Rev. Brian David Morse, MDiv, BCC, MS.  Director of Chaplain Services for University Health Lakewood Medical Center

“I loved reading The St. Nicholas Society! This book is exceptional! It weaves a historically accurate story with the storyline of a current day common person. The characters are incredibly engaging. The story draws you in and makes you turn the page! As a catechist I have been able to use the thoroughly researched text in my classes. The book is a wonderful way to teach faith, hope, and community.” — Mary Orth, Educator and Catechist, All Saints Academy, St. Cloud MN

“Imagine Jan Karon’s Mitford series characters have slightly grittier neighbors from the city. Despair turning to hope, a sense of community, action and adventure – it’s all there. Alternate that story with a thrilling historical tale worthy of a spin-off from The Chosen. Ben Bongers has done his research! Balancing history with accessible characterization, I’ll never think of “Santa” in the same way again. Taken together, the two stories inspire us to find the spirit of St. Nick in ourselves. This is a perfect addition for any book club looking for something of substance to discuss. And with its vivid imagery, I’d love to see it become a movie, or, better yet, a mini-series!” Linda Ade Brand, Stage Director

“Mr Bongers has crafted a remarkable combination of snapshots of contemporary San Francisco with historical fiction of the early Christian church that has much to say to readers everywhere. He creates a bevy of memorable characters that will live on in your imagination. He describes a witty, likable Nicholas of Myra that embraces his legend without over-sentimentalizing his life, and in so doing confects a remarkable evocation of the early church caught between coexistence with pagans and persecution by imperial Rome. Bongers cleverly juxtaposes Nicholas’s adventures with the very relatable problems encountered by Fred and his companion Catholics. Inspired by the architecture and atmosphere of the very real San Francisco parish of St Dominic’s, Mr Bongers brings us into conversation with the ways we might take the saints out of the icons and put them into the center of our lives and actions.” Timothy Pursell, holds a PhD in Modern History from Indiana University. He has taught courses on Jewish civilization and early Christianity.

“I am proud of my friend, Ben Bongers, for writing such an engaging novel. It’s a pleasure to read.” – Brian Morse, friend of author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ben Bongers was an international operatic tenor and sommelier for 30 years based in San Francisco, CA, and Germany and is now a Gerontologist. He has written for trade magazines in wine, singing, and is published in eldercare textbooks. Ben is currently studying for the Permanent Diaconate in Kansas City, MO, and is a Knight of Magisterial Grace in the Order of Malta.

The Saint Nicholas Society by Ben Bongers

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TESTIMONIALS

“Spectacular depth!” – Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, author of The Narrative Spirituality of Dante’s Divine Comedy

“A counter-cultural classic!” – Ronda Chervin, Emerita Professor of Philosophy Holy Apostles College and Seminary, writer and media presenter

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angelyn Arden holds a doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of New Hampshire and did postdoctoral work in depth psychology, literature, and phenomenology. She has written books and articles on the interface of these areas.  She had a depth psychology practice for 25+ years. She currently serves as Professor of Humanities and Psychologist at Holy Apostles College and Seminary where she has been, since 2006, teaching courses in literature and psychology to undergraduates and Human Formation to seminarians.

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Pavement Prayers

Pavement Prayers

Pavement Prayers

Kalia confessed to murder last night amid a hushed silence that lasted only a short while before he went into detailed account of the events that led to it . . .

Thus begins one of the prayers in this book.

This is a book of prayers that tell a story. But, of course, all prayers – all personal prayers – tell stories. Prayer is, in many ways, the spiritualization of incident, and in every fervent prayer one can find a short story of an epic sticking to it. The Mumbai pavement is wonderfully rich in story. For every twenty-or-so-steps that you take over it, your feet could be shuffling through chapters, or, perhaps, volumes of intricate plot, moving human drama and the most thrilling narrative. This book is those twenty-or-so-steps of narrative and plot, the story of a pavement dweller and his patch of pavement told in the most intimate form of narration: his personal prayer.

Paperback: $14.95 | Kindle: $9.99

TESTIMONIALS

“While Pope Francis was exhorting us to tell stories as a way to evangelize, Ivan Arthur was showing us how to tell stories as a way to pray.” – Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, author of The Narrative Spirituality of Dante’s Divine Comedy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ivan Arthur is the author of seven previous books:

  1. The Fourteen Stations (Official book on Pope John Paul’s visit to India)
  2. Saynt Lachmi. A sequel to Pavement Prayers.
  3. A Village Dies. A novel about social change
  4. Once More Upon a Time. Biography
  5. Jossie. A biography
  6. Brands Under Fire
  7. The Chef Executive Officer

Arthur was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Communication Arts Guild, Mumbai, and is a three-times recipient of the WPP Atticus Award for original writing. He lives in Goa, India, with Ingrid, his wife.

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Obsidian Mirth

The characters in Thom Brucie’s Obsidian Mirth fall into a dilemma where loss and betrayal entangle the need for forgiveness and love. Their choices reveal what distinctions lie between knowing one’s self and knowing another, choices that expose that small moment tottering between life-affirming hope and the despair of meaninglessness. This is a heart-rending and beautiful story, and these characters will hover at the outskirts of your thoughts like whispering ghosts of past kinships.

Paperback: $14.95 | Kindle/Nook: $9.99

TESTIMONIALS

“The novel Obsidian Mirth by Thom Brucie portrays the compelling story of Daniel Reed’s perduring love for his beloved Charlene. Despite his constant struggle against poverty, financial betrayal by a friend, and the death of Charlene’s and Daniel’s baby, Ella, Daniel’s Job-like afflictions are compounded by Charlene’s diagnosis of “paranoid schizophrenic,” an affliction accompanied by delusions and eventual death. It is Daniel’s heroic witness to his vow to love Charlene “for richer or poorer, or worse…” that leads the reader to elevate this novel above so many others of inferior inspiration.” –James Likoudis, President Emeritus, Catholics United for the Faith (CUF)

“Love is never as heartrending as it seems. It’s worse. Love is never as heavenly as it seems. It’s greater. Thom Brucie, in Obsidian Mirth, reveals these honest truths about love, commitment, hardship, loss, and unendurable enduring hope with his finely-tuned instruments: his heart and his pen.” –James M. Wilson, Chair, Department of English, Flagler College, Retired

“With his absorbing new novel Obsidian Mirth, Thom Brucie traverses both the highs and lows of human relationships. In exacting and compelling prose, Brucie shows that love—true love—just might be the biggest personal challenge anyone can take on. But, at the same time, it is the source of our greatest comfort; and it endures past every obstacle, mortal or immortal. There are profound lessons imparted in this book. Yet it might be hard to pause and appreciate them all, because Brucie’s story is as wrenching as it is unstoppable, his plot a brilliant series of unexpected events, his characters as unforgettable as any you will encounter. This is a novel you can’t set down. Not for a second. But please do linger over it, because you will want to savor every delicious if agonizing moment and every one of the story’s many soulful truths.” John Vanderslice, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Central Arkansas; his novels include: The Last Days of Oscar Wilde, Island Fog, and Nous Nous.

In Thom Brucie’s novel, Obsidian Mirth, Daniel Reed’s wife develops adult-onset schizophrenia. Daniel’s personal perspective of this experience allows the reader to enter into the bewilderment of mental illness within a family, especially the difficult tensions between forgiveness and healing. It is a powerful story, and this book is going to help families not just to cope but also to heal.” –H. K. Morey, LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thom Brucie’s other works include the novels Children of Slate (En Route Books & Media, 2018), an exploration of God’s great joy in bringing miracles to this earthly journey we call life; Weapons of Cain, a Vietnam War tale of cultural discovery; a book of short stories, Still Waters: Five Stories, themed stories around the topic of death; and two chapbooks of poems, Moments Around The Campfire With A Vietnam Vet, poems of veteran’s experiences, and Apprentice Lessons, poems celebrating Brucie’s carpentry apprenticeship and some lessons learned. Dr. Brucie earned his PhD from Binghamton University and MA from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Brucie is Professor of English at South Georgia State College where he teaches English and Creative Writing. Find out more about Thom Brucie on his website at ThomBrucie.com. 

See Thom’s recent article entitled “Concerning Love” in Agape Review (August 23, 2021)

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Saynt Lachmi

Saynt Lachmi

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Paperback: $19.95 | Kindle: $9.99

TESTIMONIALS

“Stunning!” – Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, author of The Narrative Spirituality of Dante’s Divine Comedy

“The story of Lachmi is deeply provocative. She even develops intuitive and healing powers or ‘siddhis’ which is not uncommon on the road to spiritual development. A prostitute once sings a song for Swami Vivekananda by the great poet Surdas. The meaning of the song was that a man great in virtue should never fear anything in the world. Then, while in the US, Swami Vivekananda once said, ‘Do not frown at the sight of a prostitute. In fact, they are acting as a shield, safeguarding the chastity of virtuous women. Hence, we should not hate them but be grateful towards them.’ These words ring true as Lachmi moves in her circle of supporters filled with nuns and to-be-nuns, while being exploited by a dubious couple who finally meet their fateful end. It is a story about evil and the fabled victory of good over evil. Our Ultimate Reality is beyond both good and evil says Vedanta. And one final lesson from the book is that Godliness is within everyone’s grasp. As Thomas Aquinas says, ‘God is not just the ideal goal of human longing; it is the ideal possibility for human completeness.'” – Prabhakur Mundkur, Facebook Reviewer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ivan Arthur is the author of seven previous books:

  1. The Fourteen Stations (Official book on Pope John Paul’s visit to India)
  2. Pavement Prayers. Theological fiction. A prequel to Saynt Lachmi
  3. A Village Dies. A novel about social change
  4. Once More Upon a Time. Biography
  5. Jossie. A biography
  6. Brands Under Fire
  7. The Chef Executive Officer

Arthur was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Communication Arts Guild, Mumbai, and is a three-times recipient of the WPP Atticus Award for original writing. He lives in Goa, India, with Ingrid, his wife.

 
 

 

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The Squire’s Journey

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Paperback: $14.95  |  Kindle/Nook: $9.99

TESTIMONIALS

TBA

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. James L. Papandrea is an award-winning author and Professor of Church History and Historical Theology. His many books have been translated into multiple languages, and he has a presence on YouTube, including his video series, “The Original Church” (www.WhenTheChurchWasOne.com). A Catholic layperson and catechist, Jim has an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in the history and theology of the early Christian church, with secondary concentrations in New Testament interpretation and the history of the Roman Empire.  He has also studied Roman history at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. He currently teaches the history and theology of the early and medieval Church at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and is recognized for his ecumenical work on behalf of the whole body of Christ. More information can be found via Jim’s website: www.JimPapandrea.com.
 

 

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