Legendary journalist Judith Valente joins me to discuss her brilliant new book, How to Be: A Monk and a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship, plus so much more.

Judith Valente is an award-winning author, poet, and journalist. She is a sought-after speaker and retreat leader on living a more contemplative life, discovering inner wisdom through poetry, and finding meaning in your work. She is a lay associate of the Benedictine monastery Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS, which is the subject of her award-winning 2013 memoir, Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith, chosen by Religion Newswriters Association as one of the three best spirituality books of that year. Her new book How to Be: A Monk & a Journalist Reflect on Living & Dying, Purpose & Prayer, Forgiveness & Friendship is a dialogue between two spiritual seekers exploring life’s complex questions. Her co-author is Brother Paul Quenon, a Trappist monk of the famous Abbey of Gethsemani who knew the great spirituality author, Thomas Merton.

Her 2018 book, How to Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community has been used by book group members throughout the world seeking to live a more contemplative life in the secular world. She is also co-author with Brother Paul Quenon of The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, winner of a 2013 Catholic Press Association Award.

She is a former on-air correspondent who covered faith and values for Religion & Ethics News Weekly on national PBS-TV. She also worked as a staff writer for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal and was twice a finalist for the Pulizter Prize in journalism. She has won numerous broadcast awards, including two Edward R. Murrow Awards, arising from her work as senior correspondent and investigative reporter for the NPR affiliate, GLT Radio. She also was a correspondent for Chicago Public Radio. She currently contributes articles to National Catholic Reporter and U.S. Catholic magazine.

Ms. Valente is also a poet whose poetry chapbook, Inventing An Alphabet, was chosen by Mary Oliver for the 2005 national Aldrich Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Discovering Moons, was published in 2009.

Ms. Valente holds a B.A in English and classical languages from St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ, and an MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is married to former Illinois Judge Charles Reynard, also a poet, with whom she co-edited the 2005 anthology, Twenty Poems to Nourish Your Soul, winner of an Eric Hoffer Book citation. The couple operates an alfalfa farm in central Illinois, where Judith is a member of the Grand Prairie Master Naturalists, a group that cares for the Illinois prairie.She is also vice president of the International Thomas Merton Society.

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What Matters Most
What Matters Most
Paul Samuel Dolman

Author, musician, and speaker Paul Samuel Dolman interviews a variety of people on creativity, the arts, relationships, and spirituality.

Read the Book That Inspires the Show

Paul Samuel Dolman, author, podcaster, and speaker, presents What Matters Most (the book!) a series of interview transcriptions from more than twenty inspirational Nashville and Tennessee residents, including special guest the journalist and author Bill Moyers.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, former Governor Don Sundquist, Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Neal, Grammy Award-winning entertainer Wynonna Judd, and many more share intimate and inspirational aspects of themselves.

This twentieth anniversary edition also features bonus material from thirty more notables from Tennessee, including local business owners, spiritual leaders, coaches, radio personalities, authors, and educators.