Benediction tells the story of 19-year-old Lois, who spends an afternoon getting reacquainted with her 36-year-old brother, Keith, who is training to become a Jesuit priest.
It opens with Lois sending a telegram to her love interest, Howard, whom we never meet, but who is anxious whether she will end their relationship or continue it by meeting with him the next day.
As Keith and Lois get reacquainted, they discuss how Keith decided to become a priest and what it takes to be a good priest (one has to be sweet, but one also has to be hard), and then at a benediction service Lois has an unusual experience. In the end they part warmly, each of them feeling more clear and committed to their own independent life choices and vowing to remain more connected to one another in the future.
A benediction is a blessing, and the novel blesses the divide between the lonely life of the clergy and the worldly life of the laity. Benediction offers the listener a vision of the alternative between the sacred and the secular and, through the characters of Lois and Kieth, what each hopes to get from the other.
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