Thursday, October 4, 2007


It turns out that Ron Hansen, the author of the book "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" on which the current movie is based, is also a Catholic deacon. You can read more about him here.
The Ford story, like all Deacon Hansen's novels, has a Christian theme. His characters cope with the forces of good and evil and his settings dramatize the moral struggle.
"A lot of people would be surprised you could find a Christian idea in a story about Jesse James, but I think it's implicit in the text," he said. "A lot of times it's about recklessness, ambition, ego and how those can really ruin your life, and I think a lot of times there is this sense of peace and redemption operative in most of my books."
Deacon Hansen cited the influence of the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola on his storytelling. "One of the exercises is you are who you follow – Christ or the evil one?" he said.
Born into a Catholic family in Nebraska, Deacon Hansen attended Catholic grade school, a Jesuit-run high school and graduated from Jesuit-run Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. His twin brother was a Jesuit and a sister was a Dominican nun.
His mother and father were converts to Catholicism. His father's father had been Mormon, and his mother became a Catholic while living in an orphanage run by Dominican nuns.
While working on his 1991 novel, 'Mariette in Ecstasy,' about the phenomenon of stigmata, Deacon Hansen returned to school for a mid-career refresher in the faith. In 1995 he graduated from the University of Santa Clara, also a Jesuit school, with a master's degree of arts in pastoral ministry with an emphasis on spirituality.

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