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Just published!

An autobiography by Second Journey founder, Bolton Anthony


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Also available!

A Few
Essays & Stories
from Five Decades



Also by
Bolton Anthony
Second Journey Publications

Click on covers
for more information 

Second Journeys:
The Dance of Spirit
in Later Life


Reimagining Your Neighborhood:


We live the given life, not the planned one.
— Wendell Berry

In this literate autobiography

Bolton Anthony recounts his own life’s journey amid the momentous changes that transformed the segregated South and the Catholic Church of his childhood.

He discovers continuity in what seemed chance career choices—to teach at a black university in New Orleans the year Martin Luther King was shot; to step forward, 30 years later, to lead the 100 year commemoration of an infamous incident of racial violence.

He examines the paths that converge and diverge in his own journey of faith—a Church that threw open its doors to reform, then all too soon retreated; his discovery, during those same years, of a Catholic tradition richer and deeper than the cultural Catholicism of his childhood and youth.

The book is a celebration of family, of the mentors who inspire us, of the friendships that abide. For the author, it is also a journey of self-discovery whose end, to paraphrase T.S. Eliot, is to arrive where he started and know, as if for the first time, his own gifts as a teacher and a writer.

Among St. Thomas H.S. friends: Mark Ryan, Bolton, George Donohue,
Deepesh Faucheaux, Richard Darilek, and Ed Hugetz

Click here to download a PDF of
the final chapter,
"Building a Compassionate Society"

from the Preface

Lo scrittore

The home of Anna and Carlo Meletis, where we were lodging in Florence, was off the Borgo degli Albizi — which means in Italian, roughly translated, the quarter of the Albizi family, the merchant family which had seized control of Florence by force in 1382, then found themselves supplanted 50 years later by their rival, Cosimo de Medici. From our bedroom, we could watch the street theater in the lively Piazza San Pier Maggiore below our window.

Though it was early November, the days had been sunny and mild; and at night we had to leave the windows opened a crack. Well past midnight, the animated conversations of students — most of them non-Italians enrolled in a semester or year abroad program to study Renaissance art or history or taking a one- or two-week language immersion program — floated up to us from the Lion’s Fountain Irish Pub which was almost directly below our fourth-floor bedroom. We had stayed with Anna and Carlo once before, six years earlier in 2009, when Lisa was herself a student in a weeklong Italian immersion program at Istituto David; an integral part of the experience was lodging with a family that spoke only Italian.

We are at the end of the evening meal, which is included in the board. Lisa, Anna, and Joanna, an Austrian house guest here in Florence to hone her Italian, are talking. Lisa sits beside me, her bilingual dictionary ready to hand on the table to the right of my plate; she consults it now less and less and speaks the language quite fluently. To the immersion experience, she had added four semesters of Italian at UNC — the one grandmother in classes packed with twenty-somethings.

I am following their conversation, more out of politeness than interest; since I speak no Italian, I only catch a familiar word now and then. Lisa, of course, encourages me, telling me I am picking it up and will soon be fluent if we keep returning to Italy. She is wrong. She acquires languages with the same seeming effortlessness that she picks up crafts —watercolor painting being only the most recent example. I have no such gift. I do, however, have a gift she doesn’t; I appreciate spatial relationships and have fallen in love with this city which is “a whole, a miraculously developed design . . . what Italians call an insieme, an all-of-it-together.” During our last visit to Florence, I had decided I would like to have my ashes scattered over the waters of the Arno. Now I am wondering, how would you do that? Surely you couldn’t just carry an urn to the middle of the Ponte Vecchio and dump the ashes out over the side.

I have drifted off. Lisa has been asked a question, and she is rifling through the Italian-English dictionary. Her answer includes a word that sounds like “scrivener” — writer. I lean over and ask her what she had said. “Joanna asked what you did,” Lisa answers. “I told her you were a writer.”

I have never referred to myself as a writer. Though it was a calling I had once aspired to, life circumstances and, I thought, a vein of talent that ran too thin, seemed to have put it out of reach. It was true that in the past three years I had edited and published two books, to which I had contributed an increasingly significant amount of the content. Had that somehow tilted the balance?

I firmly believe that we come to know ourselves through the mirrors others hold up to us. We never know ourselves in solitude. Lisa told me I was a writer. I had been a writer all along. And that is how — and why — this book began.