Ongoing opportunities for education and action in collaboration with the CSJ Justice Commission
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
5:00-5:45 p.m. – Harvest in Community Garden
5:45-6:30 p.m. – meal and initial conversation at tables about experiencing of reading novel, My Antonia
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – input and facilitated conversation about Willa Cather, My Ántonia, and relevance of novel’s themes today
At the end of her novel My Ántonia, Willa Cather writes of the protagonist, Ántonia:
She had only to stand in the orchard, to put her hand on a little crab tree and look up at the apples, to make you feel the goodness of planting and tending and harvesting at last. All the strong things of her heart came out in her body that had been so tireless in serving generous emotions.
~ My Ántonia, book V, chapter i
Whether you’ve read this engaging novel or not, come, learn, and participate in conversation about how it explores the resilient human, pioneer spirit. Living at the turn of century and the rise of modernization, Willa Cather was sensitive to losses the endured by land and peoples. In her writing she lifted up the cultural jewels engendered from prairie-life and immigrant experience. In this 100th anniversary year since the novel’s publication, we can reflect on how this novel speaks to us and our challenges today.
Gayle Gaskill, PhD –St Catherine University Professor Emerita of English, has cherished a love for Willa Cather since she led a Cather seminar in 1990. Like Cather herself, Gayle grew up in a small rural town before she enrolled at the University of Nebraska. She has made literary pilgrimages to sites of Cather’s fiction, including Red Cloud and Santa Fe.
Jennifer Tacheny, MA – As a farmer, mother and teacher, she is inspired by Willa Cather’s pioneer spirit and her reverence for the sacred nature of daily work with land. Jennifer is Co-Director of Celeste’s Dream: Young Adult Spirituality where she coordinates community gardens, a student food shelf and other food justice and spirituality programs.
Jill Underdahl, CSJ, MA – An enthusiast for Willa Cather and My Ántonia since reading the novel in high school and teaching it in 9th grade English classes, she has twice visited Red Cloud, NE, and many other places Willa Cather lived. She appreciates deeply the ways landscapes inform us and has inspired many to read this novel and be reflective of experiences. Jill is Co-Director of Celeste’s Dream: Young Adult Spirituality.