November 09, 2012
Cayce Putnam

Student Development Announces 2013 Summer Reading Book

First-year students will read "Tattoos on the Heart," by Gregory Boyle, S.J., a noted Jesuit and founder of Homeboy Industries.

A committee of faculty, students and staff have selected Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle, S.J., as the first-year summer reading book for the 2013-2014 academic year. Incoming first-year students of fall 2013 read the book as one of their first academic experiences at Saint Louis University.

The first-year summer reading program goals include providing a shared intellectual experience that prepares incoming students to engage in discussion on various levels on an ongoing basis; addressing questions and life issues being faced by incoming students; either implicitly or explicitly introducing students to academic life and the uniqueness of Jesuit higher education, reflective of the mission of Saint Louis University; and providing opportunities for incoming students to dialogue with each other, and faculty and staff.

Students will receive a copy of the book during SLU 101 summer orientation and will be asked to read the book over the summer prior to Welcome Week. During Welcome Week, they will participate in a program focusing on the theme of the book and they will also have the opportunity to interact in small group discussions led by University faculty and staff to discuss the reading. A call for faculty/staff discussion leaders will be announced in the spring. Anyone interested in becoming more involved in the first-year summer reading program is invited to become a book discussion leader. The goal is to bring the author to campus during the fall semester.

About the Book:

As a pastor working in a neighborhood with the highest concentration of murderous gang activity in Los Angeles, Gregory Boyle created an organization to provide jobs, job training and encouragement so that young people could work together and learn the mutual respect that comes from collaboration. Tattoos on the Heart is a breathtaking series of parables distilled from his twenty years in the barrio. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full readers lives could be if they could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JCPenney fresh out of prison, readers learn how to feel worthy of God's love. From ten-year-old Lula, readers learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Pedro, readers understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the darkness. In each chapter, readers benefit from Boyle's wonderful, hard-earned wisdom. Inspired by faith, but applicable to anyone trying to be good, these personal, unflinching stories are full of surprising revelations and observations of the community in which Boyle works and of the many lives he has helped save.

Erudite, down-to-earth, and utterly heartening, these essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love in difficult times and the importance of fighting despair. With Boyle's guidance, everyone can recognize their own wounds in the broken lives and daunting struggles of the men and women in these parables and learn to find joy in all of the people around us. Tattoos on the Heart reminds readers that no life is less valuable than another.

Winner of the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction

About the Author:

Gregory Boyle, S.J., was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1982. He received his master's of divinity from the Weston School of Theology and a sacred theology master's degree from the Jesuit School of Theology. In 1988, Boyle began what would become Homeboy Industries, now located in downtown Los Angeles. Boyle received the California Peace Prize; the "Humanitarian of the Year" Award from Bon Appétit; the Caring Institute's 2007 Most Caring People Award; and received the 2008 Civic Medal of Honor from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Higher purpose. Greater good.
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