Monsignor Felix Newton Pitt (1894-1971) was a towering figure in the history of Catholic education in the US, and this definitive biography gives a shining example of an individual who dedicated his life in service of his faith and left behind an enduring legacy. The book traces Pitt’s journey from his humble beginning as a young missionary of the 1920s in rural Kentucky to his career as an innovative educator in Louisville, where he established the Catholic elementary school system that became a nationwide model for parochial education that properly educated and catechized the youth, including students with special needs. Along the way, Father Pitt exerted an influence beyond his devoted flock as an engaging civic leader in the greater community, in an era of bigotry when the Catholic Church was often under attack. As a panelist on the popular TV program, “The Moral Side of the News,” Father Pitt was a pioneer of ecumenical broadcasting and a guiding force of church growth and stability during years of cultural upheaval. This biography bears the fruit of exhaustive research, a true labor of love. Lavishly illustrated with photos of the people and places it documents, the book does double duty as church and family history joined and celebrated in one priest’s life story. It features extensive, eloquent excerpts from Father Pitt’s diaries and letters and published articles that reveal the progress of one man’s spiritual pilgrimage, as he overcomes doubts from within and obstacles from without. It is an inspiring journey of faith and perseverance, where a gifted young man follows his true calling by taking strength from God and his devoted mother. It will appeal not only to present-day Catholic educators and those who may be discerning a religious vocation, but to any reader who believes in a higher guiding light in one’s life and who holds dear the importance of family in our society.
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