Last month, we published a column by Brian Doyle — one of many he sent us before he was diagnosed with brain cancer. In the piece (May 5, page 26), he reflected on the last time he saw his nun-cousin. She died young.
“But I believe, as she did, that there is an Imagination far beyond our ken, in which she is alight with love,” Doyle wrote of the memory. “I believe that she is not extinguished, and that perhaps someday I will be sprawled again in some unimaginable lawn, and I will look up, and see her grin, and leap up with deep delight.”
We believe Doyle, who died May 27, is not snuffed out, that he has now gone to be with his cousin Sister Maureen, plus a rumbling army of Irish-Catholic family, dedicated friends and loyal fans. Best of all, he’s in the arms of the Lord, who gave Doyle one of the most rollicking and lovely voices for Catholicism on the planet.
He was a sweet wise guy, an insightful everyman, a serious Catholic who discerned beautiful hilarity in practitioners of faith. He was funny, but not mean. He pointed out hints of the divine in the hurly-burly of humanity, and what could be more Catholic than that?
Doyle’s writing and the way he lived changed people. One of our former staffers went in for adult confirmation in large part because of him. Only the sweet Lord knows how many pews Brian Doyle has filled.
We will miss him, as will the whole Oregon Catholic world and parts beyond. We are thankful we have a few of Doyle’s columns left to share. We will do so this summer.