Joseph Pearce to Speak on “Key to Happiness” at Benedictine College

Noted Author, Joseph Pearce, to Speak on "Key to Happiness"

Benedictine College is pleased to welcome Joseph Pearce, Director of the Center for Faith & Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tenn., and author of 20 books, to the Atchison campus. Pearce will offer a lecture on “G. K. Chesterton and the Key to Happiness” on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. in the McAllister Board Room, located on the 4th floor of the Ferrell Academic Center. The event, co-sponsored by the Convocation and Arts Committee, the English Department, the Honors Program and the Gregorian Fellows, is free and open to the public.

Pearce was raised in a staunchly anti-Catholic home in London in the 1960s and 1970s. By the time he was in his teens, he was an agnostic and was rebelling against society, devoting himself to racism and neo-fascism. By the time he reached his early twenties, he had already been to prison twice.

But Pearce loved reading and that helped him move away from extremist politics. He found a book, The Well and the Shallows, written by the renowned English journalist and Catholic apologist G. K. Chesterton. Although he had been raised to hate the Catholic Church, he was fascinated by Chesterton’s economic system of distribution as noted in his writings. Pearce was originally interested in Chesterton due to his views on politics and economics, but the works began to draw him into the Catholic Church. Other events helped push Pearce closer to Catholicism and he finally entered the Catholic Church in 1989.

In 1996, he wrote Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G. K. Chesterton (Hodder and Stoughton, 1996 /Ignatius Press, 1997). When the book came out, some reviewers were taken aback by the obvious Catholicism of Pearce, as well as his less than scholarly background. But Aidan Mackey, of the Chesterton Study Centre, praised it as the finest biography of Chesterton since Gilbert Keith Chesterton was written in 1944. The book did not do well in England, but was very well-received in the United States.

Soon, Pearce wrote other biographies, focusing on Oscar Wilde, J.R.R. Tolkien, Hillaire Belloc and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He added a novel, a collection of essays, and other works showing how Christian beliefs informed the world views of the authors. He insists that books like Lord of the Rings influence the readers’ view of God and reality, whether they realize it or not.

“While most people won’t read books of theology and philosophy, almost everyone loves a good story, especially when told with truth, beauty and honesty,” he says.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.