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Religion and Spirituality

Helping Children Cope with Loss

Loss, of a loved one or pet, can be very difficult for children to understand and deal with. Here are some books that can help parents and caregivers with the task of helping children through the process of grieving that special someone.

I will remember you: what to do when someone you love dies: a guidebook through grief for teens by Laura Dower


150 facts about grieving children by Erin Linn


Immigration, Islam, and Identity: A Conversation with Eli Eteraz

Children of Dust a memoir written by Ali Eteraz reveals Islamic fundamentalism and madrassa life in rural Pakistan, the culture shock of moving to the U.S., and a journey of reconciliation to the modern Middle East. Author Ali Eteraz will speak on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 12:00pm in the University of Michigan's Hatcher Graduate Library, Gallery - Room 100 (use Diag entrance).

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today, April 12th, is Holocaust Memorial Day. For Jews, their history, their family, and their relationship with God have shaped their religion and their identity. After the horrors of the Holocaust, the Jewish people wanted a day to memorialize this tragedy. To learn more about the Holocaust, visit the web site or the Farmington Hills location of the Holocaust Museum. For a website with information and links about the Holocaust, see this about.com Holocaust website. For our library resources, see the subject Holocaust.

Father Dowling Creator Dead at 80

Prominent Catholic author, professor, and cultural commentator Ralph McInerny died last Thursday, January 29 at the age of 80. McInerny was the creator of the popular Father Dowling mystery series, which became a television series starring Tom Bosley and Tracie Nelson in the 80s. A prolific writer, McInerny also wrote the University of Notre Dame Mysteries, the Andrew Broom mysteries, and several books under the name Monica Quill.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Day is rooted in a German superstition that if an animal casts its shadow on February 2nd, which is the Christian holiday of Candlemas, bad weather is coming. (Candlemas is the feast of the purification of Mary, Jesus' mother, in the Catholic Church, and is so called because mass is preceded by the distribution of candles.)

Groundhog Day was first celebrated in the U.S. as a Pennsylvania German (so called Pennsylvania Dutch) custom around the 17th and 18th century. This tradition goes back even further in time when the ancient Romans conquered the Teutons or Germanic peoples in the north and brought this custom with them. If the groundhog came out of its den and cast a shadow, 6 more weeks of winter were imminent.

The ancient Celtic pagan festival of Imbolc, celebrated this same day, is traditionally a time of weather prediction, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came from their winter dens is perhaps a precursor to Groundhog Day. Fire and purification are important aspects of this festival. The lighting of candles and burning of bonfires in the snow represented the return of warmth and increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

For more information on this holiday, see the book Groundhog Day in our collection. For more on Candlemas, see Celebrations of Light, also in our library collection.

A Personal View of the Bible

On Sunday, February 21 at 2:00PM in the University of Michigan's Hatcher Graduate Library (Room 100/Gallery) Curator Kathryn Beam will share her personal memories of how the exhibit History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James came to be and what the process has meant to her in Sharing a Personal View of the Bible Exhibit.

Sponsored by the University of Michigan Special Collections Library.

Valentines Day Trivia

St. Valentine's CasketValentine's Day is celebrated on February 14, traditionally in honor of a saint killed on that day in Roman times. Because he was caught marrying Christian couples, he was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death under Emperor Claudius in 269 A.D. He is the Patron Saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. The casket with his remains, located in Dublin Ireland, is shown here. For more information on this saint, see the Saints and Angels website.

A History of the Bible Exhibit

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is currently hosting an exhibit: A History of the Bible from Ancient Papyri to King James at the Hatcher Graduate Library/Audubon Room/First Floor. The exhibit contains ancient Egyptian manuscripts on papyrus, Medieval manuscripts, and printed books. Follow a path of documents that lead to the creation of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible.

Audubon Room Hours are Mon-Fri 8:30am-7:00PM, Sat 10:00AM-6:00PM, Sun 1:00-7:00PM
Shorter spring break hours begin February 27; see Hatcher Library/Audubon Room for more information.

UXL Encyclopedia of Mythology is searchable via Gale Virtual Reference Library

A new Encyclopedia of World Mythology is now searchable via Gale Virtual Reference Library. It contains all the classic Greek/Roman myths as well as Native North American, South American, Asian/Pacific, Norse, Judeo-Christian, Islamic and Hindi deities, legends, and myths. Search all of GVRL or search the mythology encyclopedia independently by expanding the "literature" heading listed under GVRL and click on UXL Encyclopedia of Mythology.

Christmas Book Suggestion: "A Simple Christmas" by Mike Huckabee

A Simple Christmas: A former presidential candidate relates 12 personal stories that recall the spirit of Christmas in his life.

Haunted Christmas: Yuletide Ghosts and Other Spooky Holiday Happenings

If you like your Christmas spooky, then this book, Haunted Christmas, is for you. It contains 30 tales of Christmas hauntings including a history of haunted Christmases, specific cities (including Bethlehem) haunted at Christmas time, ghostly Christmas visits of historic persons and just generally creepy Christmas Eve and Christmas happenings throughout the world. Great for those who enjoy both Christmas and Halloween and wouldn't mind a blending of both!

Christmas Miracles - Book Suggestion of the Week

Christmas Miracles by Cecil Murphey
Celebrate the season of hope and miracles with these inspiring true stories that will warm the heart and touch the soul! From hearing invisible angels sing to miraculous healings, faith in the impossible will swell to bursting with this recent 2009 publication. Cecil Murphey is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven. He has published 108 books and lectures widely.

The True Saint Nicholas by William J. Bennett

True Saint NicholasIf you've ever been asked, "Who is Saint Nicholas?"...

If you've ever wondered if he is just a commercial invention...

If you've ever thought there is no such person...

You may be surprised to know the true Saint Nicholas.

You'll never again think of Santa Claus in quite the same way.

Take a Load Off!


Start the New Year off without excess mental baggage...consider forgiveness! Scientists have proven bitterness and guilt wreaks havoc on our bodies and minds. Dr. Fred Luskin has written Forgive for good the results of the Forgiveness Project, one of the largest and most important studies on forgiveness ever conducted. It shows that learning how to forgive improves our emotional and physical well-being.

Today in Religious History, November 24th

  • 1703 — In Philadelphia, German-born pastor and hymnwriter Justus Falckner, 31, became the first Lutheran clergyman to be ordained in America
  • 1713 — Birth of Father Junipero Serra, Spanish missionary to western America. From 1769, he established 9 of the first 21 Franciscan missions founded along the Pacific coast, and baptized some 6,000 Indians before his death in 1784. For more on him, see Serra Junipero in our catalog
  • 1838 — Canadian Sulpician missionary Franois Blanchet, 43, first arrived in the Oregon Territory. A native of Quebec, he spent 45 years planting churches in the American Northwest, and is remembered today as the "Apostle of Oregon."
  • 1880 — In Montgomery, AL, more than 150 delegates from Baptist churches in 11 states met to form the Baptist Foreign Missions Convention of the United States.

Enjoy a stress free Christmas!

Beat Ebenezer Scrooge (your budget) and The Grinch (the economy) at their own game! Have a fun, festive and fancy Christmas Holiday without spending a lot of cabootle! Plan now and make your holiday season spectacular and stress-free. Everything you need is here to help stimulate your creativity; we have books ranging from 300 Ways to make the best Christmas ever to Christmas comfort and joy : 501 crafts, decorating and food ideas to make your holiday unforgettable. Be the envy of your friends and family and spend pennies for presents by checking out websites like http://simplemom.net/ and http://www.allfreecrafts.com/ for the frugal conscious!