“Fascinating profiles” of remarkable nuns, from an eighty-three-year-old Ironman champion to a crusader against human trafficking (Daily News [New York]).
“In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes,” writes Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times. “And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.”
In If Nuns Ruled the World, veteran reporter Jo Piazza overthrows the popular perception of nuns as killjoy schoolmarms, instead revealing them as the most vigorous catalysts of change in an otherwise repressive society.
Meet Sister Simone Campbell, who traversed the United States challenging a Congressional budget that threatened to severely undermine the well-being of poor Americans; Sister Megan Rice, who is willing to spend the rest of her life in prison if it helps eliminate nuclear weapons; and the inimitable Sister Jeannine Gramick, who is fighting for acceptance of gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church.
During a time when American nuns are often under attack from the very institution to which they devote their lives—and the values of the institution itself are hotly debated—these sisters offer thought-provoking and inspiring stories. As the Daily Beast put it, “Anybody looking to argue there is a place for Catholicism in the modern world should just stand on a street corner handing out Piazza’s book.”
Praise for If Nuns Ruled the World
“In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes. And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.” —Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
“Piazza writes vividly about hardworking women who devote their time and energy to making other people’s lives better. The result is a readable, informative look at how nuns, as flawed and human and real as they may be, also have a calling and a faith, and they use that to create change in the world. . . . If Nuns Ruled the World is a little bit of a crowd pleaser and a little bit subversive, and it opened up my eyes to the everyday heroism of some amazing women.” —Flavorwire
“Anybody looking to argue there is a place for Catholicism in the modern world should just stand on a street corner handing out Piazza’s book. By sharing the chills-inducing tales of the women toiling in ways most of us could never fathom, she has given oxygen to that flickering flame that is the Church's reputation in the U.S.” —The Daily Beast
“Fascinating profiles of 10 women determined to make a difference. Piazza successfully updates the image of black-garbed brides of Christ to strong, proactive and, yes, devout women intent on addressing social ills and tending to souls the Catholic church seems to shun, like gays and lesbians. Piazza delivers a controversial and important book.” —Daily News (New York)
“This affecting collection of journalistic pieces by Piazza . . . goes a very long way toward dispelling any notion of nuns as conformist knuckle-whackers. . . . Accessibly written, these ten portraits should speak to many students and church groups.” —Library Journal
Jo Piazza is the author of the acclaimed Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money and a novel, Love Rehab. She is a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and her work has appeared in the New York Times, New York magazine, Glamour, Gotham, the Daily Beast, and Slate. She has also appeared as a commentator on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR.
Piazza holds an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a master’s in religious studies from New York University. She lives in New York City with her giant dog.