Introduction by author Tamara Bundy
It had been a few weeks since Fr. Jim Willig and I turned in Lessons from the School of Suffering to the publisher. He’d been praying about our next project as he sensed we were called to do more. One day, Fr. Jim announced what he felt was an answer to that prayer. “I think we are supposed to write Retreat with Peter.”
St. Anthony Messenger Press (now Franciscan Media) had an entire line of books created as if a great saint or theologian were leading a retreat. Fr. Jim had always held great affection for St. Peter—relating so well to how he loved the Lord with all his heart and yet so humanly stumbled in his faith. Writing about St. Peter’s faith walk—in relationship to Fr. Jim’s cancer journey—seemed a perfect fit.
But the series had been around for a while. What were the chances St. Peter hadn’t already been covered?
Of course, he hadn’t been. He was waiting for Fr. Jim. And so, we began.
We ended up having to write between debilitating surgeries and painful therapies Fr. Jim would face. But he never lost his belief that he was meant to write this book connecting what he’d been learning in his cancer battle with his beloved St. Peter. His focus and faith only grew stronger.
We turned in Retreat with Peter three weeks before Fr. Jim was called home. Now, on the 20th Anniversary, I can only imagine how happy it makes Fr. Jim to have these excerpts used in a form that was only dreamed of in his time.
And what a gift for us to realize God is still calling Fr. Jim.
Of course, Fr. Jim would be quick to remind us, God is calling all of us as well.
Tamara Bundy, July 2021
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