The other day I received this query via e-mail that was so good, I just had to share it with the group (with the author’s permission, of course ... Thanks, Katy!). I was so inspired that I not only asked her to write about St. Edith for the August/September issue … I also asked her to adapt one of her three writing samples for an upcoming issue!
What makes this such a good letter? Well, for starters she incorporated many of the points I included in my “Seven Second Test” post: She demonstrated a familiarity with Canticle (and had read the writer’s guidelines and theme list as well as the blog, and knew the magazine well enough to understand our devotion to Edith Stein). She listed and supported her credentials, gave me ALL her contact information (address, phone, e-mail), gave me several angles from which to choose – and promised to have it all on my desk by the time my deadline rolled around. WOW!
Without further ado … Thanks, Katy; you made my day!
Dear Mrs. Saxton,
First of all, thanks for your blog "Heidi's Hotline" and for the opportunity to submit queries in this way. I just found it this past week, so I hope you're still looking for the kind of articles on the saints that you asked for last month!
I love how C. S. Lewis turned an old line of poetry on its head. Instead of "Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever," he encouraged women and men to "be good ... and don't forget this means being as clever as you can." How much more, then, do I love how St. Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) lived cleverness as one of many ways of being good. She turns our distinctions between types of virtue on their heads. Both intellectual and intuitive, active and contemplative, Stein provides a profound model for women in every vocation. In her academic life, she embodied the life of the Church as teacher; in her prayer life, she embodied the life of the Church as mother; in her martyrdom, she embodied both, like Mary, by following Christ to the very end of His road.
The Church remembers Stein's life on earth and her entry into new life on August 9. So I see two possible routes for this piece: For your July/August issue about the Universal Church, I could write about how Stein's variety of virtues provides an all-around model for women and how we can imitate this model practically. Or, for your September/October school-themed issue, I'd like to write a reflection specifically on how Stein both describes in her writing and models in her life the feminine life of the mind for us. Though not all of us may be philosophers of her rank, we are all called to be "as clever as we can."
How can women stay intellectually nourished, yet receptive and simple, in a world so complex and active? Stein's thought provides what seems like a complex answer, but one that is, at the heart, simple. Let us be authentic and actively receptive. Let us build on the way He created us, not try to reconstruct it. Let us let God feed our intellects; let us hunger not for words so much as for the Word. In short, let us follow Him to the end of the road.
If an article along these lines sounds good to you, from whatever angle, I can have it on your desk by March 31. If you have other saints in mind (or anything else!), I'm also open to receiving assignments. Attached, please find a couple of my writing samples from the National Catholic Register and one from the online magazine Dappled Things, for which I'm an assistant editor. Please let me know your decision as soon as you're able. Thanks for your time.
In Christ,Katy Carl