There's a church on South Bass island on Lake Erie called The Mother of Sorrows. It's one of the most beautiful churches I've ever seen, with old frescoes and dim, somewhat orthodox looking saints, and two Mary statues outside, one new and white and one old, her face pitted and broken and faded by storms. There was an old priest there, who had been there for years, and I thought the same thing. What is it like to be an island priest in these strange northern places? What does his faith look like? I want them to be saints, to write books about isolation and God and snow and needful folk and works and days. But they're probably just men, workaday fathers, handing out brochures to the summer people.
Maybe I should go to Mass and find out.
Maybe I've been reading too much of The Sparrow.