Book Announcement: The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God

Holiness of “ordinary” housewife and pro-life activist illuminated through her letters and talks

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, 2011 – In today’s anti-life society, the world needs the example of women who are beacons for the culture of life. A new book from Ignatius Press, The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God, recounts the powerful story of one such woman. This is the story of an amazing woman, Ruth Pakaluk, who converted to Catholicism at Harvard University, married her college sweetheart and joyfully welcomed seven children. She became a renowned pro-life leader and brilliant debater who was struck with breast cancer and died at the young age of forty-one.

Ruth’s inspiring story is told primarily through her humorous, sparkling and insightful letters, through which her realistic cheerfulness shines. A biographical overview by her husband fills in important details about her life, and a collection of her talks on abortion, faith, and being a Catholic wife and mother conclude the volume.

Ruth Pakaluk exemplified the powerful integrity of someone who lived what she believed. She was steadfastly committed to Christ and to the culture of life, and this commitment was manifested in her consistent affirmation of life in her family, in society, and even in the face of her own death.

Peter Kreeft, Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and a widely published author, referred to Ruth Pakaluk as the best, most effective and inspiring pro-life speaker he had ever heard.  She was such a compelling, articulate pro-life debater that eventually Planned Parenthood spokeswomen refused to spar with her in public. Kreeft explains, “In this book you will meet a truly wonderful person. There are few things in life more precious than that. I invite you to meet a warrior for life whose pen is truly mightier than death’s sword.”

All of Ruth’s virtues — her love as a devoted wife and mother, her zeal for the truth and her hope while battling a terminal illness — offer inspiration and encouragement to anyone striving to put Christian faith into action.

Most Reverend Daniel Reilly, the Bishop Emeritus of Worcester, MA who knew Ruth personally, says, “People frequently commented on Ruth’s selfless character, boundless optimism, and fervent faith. Her zest for life and zeal for faith were gifts from God – gifts offered to us all. I pray that these pages will inspire you to be ever more open to God’s grace and mercy.”

Michael Novak, Philosopher, Author, and Diplomat, has high praise for Ruth’s story: “I have never read a more beautiful and touching book – a book about a joyous life and overpowering death, and grief and joy. Michael and Ruth Pakaluk’s account of love and grief towers head and shoulders above the justly acclaimed accounts of C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed and Sheldon van Auken in A Severe Mercy. Throughout, I felt in my heart that Ruth is a marvelous saint for our times.”

Michael Pakaluk says, “In an age where we are in need of heroes and inspirations, Ruth is the real deal.  She used to say ‘Know God’s will. Do God’s will’ and she followed that advice herself.  Her life and death have been for me an example of the ‘high standard of Christian living’ which Pope John Paul II asked us all to aspire to in the New Millennium.”


About the Editor:

Michael Pakaluk is a Professor of Philosophy at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida. He has authored numerous philosophical books and articles, and is credited with contributing to the recent revival of philosophical interest in friendship. A noted Catholic speaker, he lives in Ave Maria, Florida.

To request a review copy or an interview with Editor Michael Pakaluk , please contact:

Rose Trabbic, Publicist, Ignatius Press, (239)867-4180 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (239)867-4180 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or

Product Facts:



The Story of Ruth Pakaluk – Convert, Mother, and Pro-life Activist

Author: Ruth Pakaluk

Editor: Michael Pakaluk

Release Date: April 2011

Length: 272 pages, Illustrated with 8 pages of photos

Price: $16.95

ISBN: 978-1-58617-451-4 • 6” x 9” Sewn Softcover

Order: 1-800-651-1531 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-651-1531

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