Catholic author Joseph Benevento Ph.D., author of a novel about St. Joseph and the Holy Family, is donating 100 percent of the royalties from the book in perpetuity to Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri (CCCNMO).
“We were overjoyed when he wrote us to offer the proceeds of his book,” said Ashley Wiskirchen, senior director of communications for CCCNMO. “It’s a wonderful way for him to use his talent to help the people we serve.”
Dr. Benevento will read from the book, titled My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect Son, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 903 Bernadette Drive near Stadium Boulevard and I-70 in Columbia. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
Dr. Benevento, a member of Mary Immaculate Parish in Kirksville and a recently retired professor of English at Truman State University, believes this novel makes a good Advent read or Christmas gift, since more than a third of the story covers the traditional Biblical Christmas narrative.
He is also writing a four-part series of Advent Reflections for Catholic Charities that dovetail with the novel. People can sign up to receive the weekly reflections by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and putting “Advent Reflection” in the subject line.
“We’re really excited about that, too,” said Mrs. Wiskirchen. “We love having this opportunity to provide people with a genuine way to enter into prayer and reflection as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Our Savior.”
Dr. Benevento released My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect Son near St. Joseph’s feastday in March of this year, while preparing to retire after 40 years of teaching at Truman State.
He wanted to donate the proceeds from the book to a worthy cause. He knew about Catholic Charities because his father worked for a Catholic Charities affiliate on the East Coast.
To create this, his 16th book, Dr. Benevento drew upon humor, pathos, decades of literary prowess and a lifetime of being Catholic to give voice to a man who loves, doubts, obeys, laughs and occasionally weeps.
“St. Joseph is the only man in the history of the world to live with two perfect people,” the author told The Catholic Missourian in an interview this past March.
“It had to be complicated,” he asserted. “Jesus is divine, and Mary was conceived without sin. Joseph was just a regular guy. It couldn’t have been easy.”
He also is not quoted in Scripture.
“So, the main idea of the book is that St. Joseph finally gets to speak,” said Dr. Benevento. “It’s just Joseph telling his story of how he did the things he needed to do.”
The story begins with the Annunciation and continues to the moment of Joseph’s death — “which is a little bit before Jesus’s ministry, so it covers essentially 30 years,” said Dr. Benevento.
The reader follows Joseph from frustration, doubt and confusion to a deeper, more complete relationship with Mary, along with clear determination that he hasn’t lived in vain.
The novel, written with respect to Scripture and the Deposit of Faith upheld by the Catholic Church, has found strong support from members of the Catholic community.
It recently received a five-star review on Amazon from Jesuit Father Patrick Gilger of Loyola University of Chicago.
Fr. Gilger old Dr. Benevento that it “feels like an experience of Ignatian prayer at times” — which includes immersing oneself in the stories of the Bible as an active participant.
Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College, plans to dedicate the March installment of his syndicated column to a review of the novel.
Gary Jansen at Loyola Press has also spoken highly about the book, which he concludes is a “rich, majestic and relevant read.”
Two chapters from the novel have been accepted for publication as stand-alone stories in the Catholic magazine New Oxford Review and the Christian magazine Foreshadow.
“Though the novel has some comic elements, it is never irreverent and actually follows through completely and consistently with Catholic doctrine,” Dr. Benevento noted.
My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect Son is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target and other online outlets and at Dr. Benevento’s book-signing events.