cover image When Love Calls: A Memoir of Great Devotion

When Love Calls: A Memoir of Great Devotion

Norm Supancheck with Marcus Brotherton. Bird Street, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-939457-35-6

When Supancheck was in seminary studying to become a Catholic priest, he attended a retreat and met Shayla Strohmeyer, and something quietly but irrevocably shifted inside him. As he describes in this tender memoir, she called forth a courage in him that he hasn't known before. Friendship became romance, but Supancheck sensed the impending collision with his life's calling. The couple decided not to marry and in time Strohmeyer met and married another. Their love, however, is a deep and unusual bond that persists through these changes. As an ordained priest, he performs her wedding and baptizes her daughters; she encourages him as he moves from parish to parish. The two eventually develop cancer, their diagnoses coming within two years of each other. Supancheck's story of a love that transcends calling and circumstance is beautiful in its gentle and enduring devotion. Yet as he describes the divergent paths their lives take, he never provides a sense of what lesson such love offers readers whose circumstances are different. A beautiful relationship that has an unconventional outcome may disappoint romantics seeking inspiration. (Mar.)