few are chosen
A Different Path to Coming of Age
Michael Connolly, Richard Olive, and
● ISBN 978-0-918339-83-6● Trade Paper ● 6 x 9,
264 pages ● Acid Free Paper ● Index ● $19.95 ●
they’re saying about
…but few are chosen
Compelling, plain-spoken account of growing up
in 1950’s America. Haunting and beautifully-written.
The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell
Connolly, Olive, and Tuohey have taken the ancient theme of coming of age
and given it new and unique life…The boys’ homes are so full of loss and
dysfunction that they find the rigidly austere but ordered life of the
seminary a welcome safety and comfort--though in this rarefied atmosphere
they are also growing up, “lending ears to a siren song calling from the
outside world.” The alternating narrators compliment each other and
work as different lenses and mirrors through which the
same story is seen. Richly
detailed, at times deeply dramatic, and at times humorous or darkly ironic,
this memoir is immensely readable, and will fascinate not only readers with
a Catholic background but any who can identify with the elusive quest for
self-esteem, respect, and the ability to forgive and move on in life—which
is just about everybody.
James Tipton, PhD., author of Annette
Vallon, A Novel
of the French Revolution;
…but few are chosen
is the story of three boys coming of age in the mid-1950’s. Growing up in
working class Irish Catholic neighborhoods in the Northeastern United
States, they are desperate to escape lives of loneliness, petty crime, and
violence. At the age of thirteen, ready to enter high school they each come
to the same life changing, and possibly life-saving decision–to enter a
seminary and begin their journeys toward the priesthood.
chrchronicles Mike, John, and Ollie’s fears,
frustrations, hopes, and dreams while they proceed on their very unique path
to adulthood via St. John’s Atonement Seminary in Montour Falls, New York.
There, the three meet, eventually become lifelong friends, and begin the
transition to being successful and contributing members of society. Lives
that would undoubtedly have ended poorly are turned around in the
structured, orderly, caring, and predictable life of the seminary. For the
first time the boys come to realize that life is more than just raised
voices and clenched fists. Led by priests on the faculty they learn
responsibility, restraint, patience, and concern for others. They develop
determination without aggression, and apply their new-found abilities to
study, sports, and relationships.
About the authors…
graduated in 1965 from Lowell State College and became a high school English
teacher. In 1968 Mike served as a chaplain’s assistant in Cui Chi, Vietnam.
After the war he returned to the United States and became a school
principal. He worked for forty-two years in middle and high schools in the
United States and in international schools in Thailand, Costa Rica, the
Netherlands, and Vietnam. He currently serves as a Eucharistic Minister,
distributing Communion at All Saints Catholic Church in Hampstead, North
Carolina and at a local nursing home.
Mike is married and has four children. He is the
author of three other books: What They
Never Told Me in Principal’s School;
Teaching Kids to Love Learning, Not Just Endure It;
and most recently, Young Enough to Change
the World: Stories of Kids and Teens Who Turned Their Dreams into Action
(coauthored with his wife, Brie Goolbis).
After high school
(Ollie) Olive wa wandered into a Navy
recruiting station. Recalling Father Owen’s encouragement about pursuing
writing, he applied for and was accepted in journalism school at the Naval
Training Center, Great Lakes, then served for forty months as a journalist
aboard an aircraft carrier.
He parlayed his Navy journalism experience into a twelve-year career with
daily newspapers, The Associated Press, and United Press International. The
rest of his working life was divided among service as a business agent for
The Newspaper Guild, public relations, and fund-raising. He retired in 2014
and is devoted to writing, family, and a nondenominational ministry on San
Quentin’s Death Row. He and his wife, Ana, have seven children and six
grandchildren between them. Besides family, friends, and faith, he is
grateful to be playing racquetball and for his recovery from alcoholism,
which began in 1986.
became a registered nurse, graduating from Nassau Community College in 1964.
He joined the Army in 1966, and after active duty remained in the Active
Reserve until 1998. In 1970 he received a BA in psychology from the
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; in 1977 he became a family nurse
practitioner through the University of Southern Maine after receiving an MEd
in counseling from Rivier College; and in 1994, he completed his Master of
Science in Nursing in Critical Care from the Massachusetts General Hospital
Institute. Throughout his career he worked primarily in emergency rooms,
cardiology, and urology clinics before retiring in 2011. He is currently a
volunteer English teacher for new Americans, a participant in a French
conversation group, and a member of a writing group. He has completed riding
his bike in forty-nine states, with Alaska scheduled in 2018. He is a
practitioner of Sayoc Kali, a Filipino martial art.
Throughout his hospital career, John never forgot Father Owen tending the
sick during the flu epidemic and has tried to model that priest’s care and
concern for his patients. He has three daughters from a first marriage and
two stepsons from his marriage to Pam, who has made his life a delight in
every way. All the children still speak to him, which he considers his major
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