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Matt Holland, Author

Book: The Rarest Kind of Courage

The Extraordinary Life of Fr. John Markoe

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A 1914 graduate of West Point, John Markoe was a gridiron hero who played against the likes of Jim Thorpe. He was a dashing, highly regarded cavalry officer whose brief military career ended in shame and scandal. He was a Jesuit priest for fifty years and an alcoholic for fifty-seven. And for five decades he was a pioneering battler for racial equality, combining Jesuit spirituality with his military training as he worked in cities like St. Louis and Omaha to improve opportunities for African Americans while striving to convince white Americans that racism was immoral.

A much-needed story of persistence and faith, this book is a marvel of diligent historical recovery. What Holland accomplishes in this book is to give us multiple portraits of one of the most complex (and complicated) Catholic priests to live and work and bear witness to the cause of social/racial justice in this country. …the true story of a true son of Ignatius, a soldier, scholar, advocate for justice, a man who never let his own weaknesses dissuade him from answering the call to transform the places where he journeyed. It gives us hope.

Joseph A. Brown, S.J., Ph.D Professor; Director; School of Africana and Multicultural Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (from the foreword)

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