A Revival Is Organized: Daniel A. Lord and the Sodality Literary Campaign
It is always difficult to determine the precise beginnings of literary movements. The origins of the Catholic literary revival in America, however, present few problems. It began, as an organized movement, in January 1933 in the Lord Daniel A.-edited Queen's Work, the national magazine of the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin. The Sodality, with over one million members, was the nation's largest Catholic youth organization.
Lord, as part of his ongoing effort to stimulate the production of young Catholic readers and writers, commissioned Calvert Alexander, his Jesuit colleague on the English faculty at St. Louis University High School, to write a series of "Queen's Work" articles on John Henry Newman and the major figures of the English Catholic revival. Alexander himself was concurrently preparing a history of English Catholic letters since Newman; it was published in 1935 as The Catholic Literary Revival. 1
Lord used the centenary of the Oxford Movement, a Newman-led effort to renew the supernatural and ecclesiastical authority of the Church of England--ending in Newman's own conversion to Catholicism in 1845--to launch the campaign. He introduced Alexander's articles as follows:
The world is swinging into a great Catholic renaissance. Artists and writers are becoming Catholics in astonishing numbers. Newman's dreams are now being realized. America alone among the nations is slow to take up this new crusade of Catholic truth. 2