REVIEWS OF four volumes of scott's books

"I finished all four books!  I am a little sad, only because you have been my literary companion for several weeks as I read them.  I am sorry to be finished with such enjoyable reading.

"I am not at all a fan of murder mysteries, ghost stories or anything else scary.  For me, the drama of life is scary enough.  But because of my love of the Catholic Worker Movement, I dove into each book with anticipation.  I was not disappointed in the least.  For me, your use of the mystery formats was like an ice cream cone carrying the delectable prize of large scoops of Catholic Worker ice cream.  It was a fun framework within which to share many uncomfortable truths and realities: a little sugar to help the medicine go down.

"Your chatty style, replete with digressions and cultural references from our era (I am sixty-five), made for a comfortable setting in which to digest the horrors of racism, nuclear annihilation, the reality and disguises of evil.  I learned so much about the history and present struggles of the Catholic Worker Movement.  As a new Worker, I am grateful for the context.  Lots of facts about racism in this country and the struggle for disarmament were new for me; not the struggles themselves, but the details."

—Selby Beebe-Lawson • Portland, Maine


"Haunted was a great book! Lots of information and knowledge."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —Clifford Smithe, Avenal, California

"Just finished Haunted.... a book about racial justice over a year before George Floyd’s tragic murder. Powerful. "                                                                                                                                                   —Dr. John Howland • Southbridge, Massachusetts

"Incredible book! It's the footnotes that make it work for me. So many facts, especially around movies that I now want to see . . . Keep writing."                                                                                                                                                                               —George Kehoe Ostensen •  Hope, Maine

We loved Haunted. Who knew Worcester was so cool!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       —Charles and Lynn Browne • Pittsfield, Massachusetts

If anyone has a chance to read Scott Schaeffer-Duffy's new book, Haunted, he chases down the ghost of the black family who lived in the house that he lives in. He, in turn, gives a great history lesson on just how difficult it is and was to be black and in America. I was taken by surprise by all of the information contained in this new book. READ IT! It's more than worth it, and it also has Scott's inimitable sense of humor through the worst of times.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —Dianne Boover • Worcester, Massachusetts

I really enjoyed Haunted! I loved all the history and the scary bits, too.  It was a good fast read, and it kept me interested all the way through despite your many little side trips. It was an exciting story of discovery, and the way you wove in the urgings of the ghost and your everyday life made it very entertaining, not just a slog through historical archives. I especially liked the device of writing it as a journal. The black history was great, and I hope Worcester considers using it for part of a Black History Trail.                                                                                                                                                             —Christine Duffy Zerillo, author

I like the diary format and illustrations. It must have taken a lot of time to research Haunted!. Your ghostly apparitions are believable. I'm glad you included Claire's trip to Rome to confront the bishops. Your stories are filled with humor and insight, and yes, wackiness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —Willa Bickham, founding member of Viva House • Baltimore Catholic Worker

Haunted! takes you at once on a psychological and a sociological journey. In this ghost story of historical detail, readers will contemplate how—unless we can learn to recognize the specter of our own racism—the spirits of those who lived before us may pass damning judgment on the more privileged lives we live in their stead. Through the portals of very real and problematic race records of Worcester, Massachusetts, Schaeffer-Duffy brings back to life questions that once drove our city’s vibrant abolition movement: who in our society has no choice but to fear the frightening specter of racial inequality and who, therefore, is not daily haunted by the ongoing and irrepressible legacies of racism?                                                                                                                                                                                        —Selina Gallo-Cruz, associate professor of sociology • College of the Holy Cross


I thought the book was wonderful!                                                                                                                                                                                        —Bob Brady • Worcester, Massachusetts

I thoroughly enjoyed your book. You all have had quite a lot of adventures.                                                                                                                         —Gretchen Bradley • Richmond, Virginia

I loved your book! It's wonderful. You have to write another.                                                                                                                                              —Brother Jude Corden • Saint Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts

I really enjoyed The Man Who Cannot Be Killed. I think Aiden's drawings are wonderful! The classic haunted house, and the Harringay Passage are my favorite. I enjoyed Murder on Mott Street but think The Man Who Cannot Be Killed is even better. Scott is such a wonderful character—I missed him in Murder on Mott Street. His humor and easy adherence to the rigors of the Catholic Worker life are both inspiring. I can't wait to read/see what you two do next!                                                                                                                                                                                                  —Lauren Kenworthy • Takoma Park, Maryland

Aiden's illustrations are marvelous.                                                                                                                                                                                    —Joan Thomas • Phoenix, Arizona

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy’s quick-witted humor fuels a narrative that deftly moves through memoir, mystery, and dreamy recall. Lightheartedly poking fun at his own shortcomings and phobias helps him encourage others to go easy on themselves. And yet, Schaeffer-Duffy grapples with the terrors of global warming and the challenges of living in a permanent warfare state. An ultimate dialogue helps him make the case for persistent optimism. These are stories to enjoy and share, trusting the navigator’s unusual blend of what Ammon Hennacy called for: courage, wisdom, and love.                                                                                                                                                                                  —Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence • Chicago, Illinois

I was immediately drawn into the world of the narrator: Worcester, pacifists, fascinating characters. The humor is marvelous. I love the ease and flow of the language. A delight to read.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                —Jay O’Callahan, storyteller • Marshfield, Massachusetts

 The Man Who Cannot Be Killed is a great book, an inspiration.                                                                                                                                                                             —Marlou MacIver • Westchester, Pennsylvania

I thoroughly enjoyed your book. It certainly is quirky and of uncertain genre, but that makes it even more of an interesting reading experience. And it sure is funny.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           —Thomas F. Lee, author • Goffstown, New Hampshire

                                                                  a review by Rosalie Riegle

I’ve known and loved Scott Schaeffer-Duffy for far too long, probably since the Catholic Worker anniversary at the nuclear testing grounds in the Nevada desert, way back in 1987. I interviewed him about the Worcester Saints Francis and Thérèse CW a year later for Voices from the Catholic Worker. From the get-go, I knew he was creative. For instance, he didn’t mail the house of hospitality newsletter to supporters of the house but distributed it on the streets and in grocery stores. And their house was certainly among the first to support itself by baking and selling bread, a craft that figures prominently in his latest book The Man Who Cannot Be Killed.

No, that man isn’t Scott—he’s not that miraculous—but this book is a really fun read, and also one where you can learn a lot about what keeps a Catholic Worker going through the years, as Scott and his wife Claire have. One secret to his longevity in the work of the Worker is his insistence that God’s plea in Psalm 46 to “Be still and know that I am God” means that we can “take a break, sleep late. . . dance. . . and enjoy a million other things now and then without feeling guilty.” I encourage you to do the same thing by picking up this delightful book.

Scott is a writer, a runner, a bread baker, a sometime meditator, a husband and father and grandfather, a sometime paranoid dreamer of vivid nightmares. Both his nightmares and his meditations fill me with envy. Did Jesus ever give you a remote? Scott and Claire also take “Catholic Worker vacations” by going to CW retreats and, along with marathons and bread-baking, this book details his adventures while attending the 2018 CW Euro Retreat in beautiful Dülmen, Germany.

It’s tied together by a fictional mystery but outside of that, everything happened, as it was written in real time, that is, as it was lived by Scott and Claire and their colleagues and friends circling the Worcester house and others.

Scott may not know it, but he’s invented another literary genre. After all, who footnotes a diary?! Scott does; his sometimes hilarious endnotes crown him as a pop culture trivia king. Much of the rest of the book is funny too, but the spiritual insights about the Catholic Worker life are what I’ll remember. What most resonates is his conclusion that, in the Catholic Worker, “You’re in control of your own life in an incredible way” and that the “freedom is enormously exhilarating and a lot of fun.”

Give yourself some fun in these awful times—read The Man Who Cannot be Killed. Then go out and find some of that freedom yourself.

Rosalie Riegle is an oral historian, author, and activist from Evanston, Illinois. Among her works are: Voices from the CatholicWorker, Dorothy Day: Portraits by Those Who Knew Her; Doing Time for Peace: Peace, Resistance, Family, and Community; and Crossing the Line: Nonviolent Resisters Speak Out for Peace.


WOW! I thoroughly enjoyed reading Murder on Mott Street. Thank you for writing this beautiful work. I also learned so much in your Afterword about the people that made the Catholic Worker the beautiful masterpiece that it is.                                                                                                                                                                                    —Arthur Brien • Lawrence, Massachuestts

I love your murder mystery.                                                                                                                                                                                            —John Howland, MD • Southbridge, Massachusetts

Dear Scott,                                                                                                                                                                                      I finished reading Murder on Mott Street and thoroughly enjoyed it! You really gave a great sense of what it was like to be in St. Joseph’s Catholic Worker tenement, right down to the smells!  And thanks for mentioning Kate Hennessey’s memoir of her grandmother; I will try to get hold of a copy in the near future.                                                                                                                               —Laura E. Wasowicz, curator of children’s literature • American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts

Scott, I finished your novel, great! What a good way to combine suspense with Catholic Worker agitating!                                                                                                                                                                               —Bernd Büscher • Dortmund, Germany

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy has written a lively mystery novella involving real people and a fictional villain with a little science fiction tossed in. Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy and his wife Claire run the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker house at 52 Mason Street, Worcester, Masssachusetts, and have been part of the Catholic Worker movement for many years.

His book Murder on Mott Street, a Catholic Worker mystery, is set in and around the area where the first Catholic Worker house was established in New York City’s lower East Side. The real people include Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, founders of the Catholic Worker movement, Ms. Day’s daughter Tamar, and some other Catholic Worker personalities. Short biographies on each of them appear in the back of the book.

And there is of course, this being a murder mystery, a bad guy who goes by a few different names as the story progresses. In his preface, the author says that, though the story is historical fiction, “virtually every line of Dorothy’s and many of Peter’s are citations of the actual words.” Real incidents in their lives become part of the story.

And Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy is also able to tell the reader what the Catholic Worker movement is all about and make all of it fit seamlessly into the story without losing any of the suspense. He writes with tension, humor, and excitement in equal measure in a straightforward, journalistic style that holds the reader’s interest. For example, early in the story Tamar, a real person, spots the villain, a fictional one, acting in a strange manner. “That made her at once curious and suspicious,” he writes. “If she had not been so, more people would have been murdered.” No one with an ounce of curiosity is going to put the book down at that point. Murder on Mott Street is entertaining and informative and well worth the short time it takes to read.                                                                                                                                                                                   —William Clew • The Catholic Free Press

 Full of philosophy and history in a way murder mysteries are not. Fun, educational, and inspiring.                                                                                                                                                                   —Meg Brodhead, former editor •  The Catholic Worker

 . . . an achievement, particularly its value as a record of the early CW years, personnel, and more. Your including the marvelous photographs and drawings is inspiring in communicating a sense of the CW and activists. I am so happy that you wrote the book. I found the book more nonfiction than fiction.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  —Michael True, professor emeritus of English • Assumption College

I am finished reading Scott’s book, and I absolutely love it! It is uniquely him. I also think it has quite a bit of his humor. I can’t wait till the next one. I wish I had bought ten of them so that I could pass them on to folks whom I know would love it. Write more in this wonderful series. I see PBS in the future. I do believe that this book could be used in high school theology classes. I love the vignettes of Catholic Worker history, moral theology, and practical applications of such lessons and the interesting twist to the end that brings it all together. I think we have the same kind of brain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —Diane Boover • Worcester, Massachusetts

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy’s new historical novel, sub-titled a Catholic Worker mystery, is better read for the mystery of the Catholic Worker movement’s foundation, operation, and survival than as a who-done-it. Dorothy Day’s life as a single mom of her daughter Tamar and her mission of food and shelter for New York’s indigent comprise a thriller. She did get support from like-minded volunteers and spiritual/philosophical support from Peter Maurin, but Scott makes it clear that the energy was hers. The 81- page novella is prefaced by Scott’s story of personal involvement and has an interestingly illustrated afterword of Catholic Worker Personalities for a total of 120 pages, so it is a nice afternoon’s read. Oh, yes: the murders—there are three and a threat to Dorothy Day. Tamar and Peter resolve them, but that story and the story of the perpetrator’s escape would be revealed by the merest hint.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    —Clarence Burley • Worcester Friends Meeting

Thoroughly enjoyed the book and pictures.                                                                                                                                                                                             —David O’Brien, professor emeritus of Catholic American history • College of the Holy Cross

Enjoyed the book immensely. You captured the atmosphere of the time period. At certain parts, I laughed out loud. It was so well written it reminded me of an old radio program. I could see the entire story while reading as if I was watching it. I hope the numerous Catholic Worker houses around the country are ordering copies.                                                                                                                                                                                                          Richard N. Douglass • Northampton, Massachusetts


observations imputed to MURDER ON MOTT STREET

History tells us what people did; historical fiction helps us imagine how they felt.                                                                                                                                                                  —Guy Vanderhaeghe • The Last Crossing

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.                                                                                                                                                                      —Arthur Conan Doyle • The Hound of the Baskervilles

It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.                                                                                                                                        —Agatha Christie • Murder on the Orient Express


The book is a delight! It provokes the mind, heart, and spirit. Very healing. I love the pictures, too!                                                                                                                                                                                          —Jeanie Shaterian • Berkeley, California

I liked it so much that I ordered four more copies for my book club.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      —Jane Dewey • Worcester, Massachusetts

One of the best books I’ve read in ages. Also, it’s the best Catholic Worker book I’ve ever read, including those by Ammon Hennacy and Dorothy Day. You have a marvelous sense of comedy, and, no matter what tragedies one experiences, comedy always has the top say over tragedy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           —Joan Thomas, author, widow of Ammon Hennacy • Tucson, Arizona

I laughed and cried only eleven pages in. That’s a sign of a good book.                                                                                                                                                                —Beth Caillouet Arredondo, assistant professor of psychiatry • University of Virginia

I found Scott’s book immensely enjoyable.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Brother Jude Corden, OCSO, Saint Joseph’s Abbey • Spencer, Massachusetts

A most memorable memoir. Teachers take notice. Your students will love you for it.                                                                                                                               —Jo Massarelli, director, Social Role Valorization Implementation •Worcester, Massachusetts

 Here is a book about peace and social justice, about truthfulness and most of all love. It is hard to think of a book by an activist about things that matter that will make readers smile as well as think.                                                                                                                                                                                    —David O’Brien, professor emeritus, history • College of the Holy Cross

A splendid book. Wonderful. A treasure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Michael True, professor emeritus, English • Assumption College 

 In the Roman Catholic tradition, most memoirs describing lives dedicated to the love of God come from the pens of celibates. It is thrilling to read of a life dedicated to Christ and the Gospels from a married man with children. Scott has written a beautiful love story; he demonstrates a love of God big enough to encompass the seeking of justice and peace, the service of the poorest of the poor, along with his passionate love of his partner Claire, and his deep love of his children. He brings us with him to Catholic Worker houses, inside prisons, through war zones, up mountains, across marathon routes, into an apartment that might be a portal to hell, and even to Chuck E Cheese. His humor, faith and determination are infectious and tremendously inspiring. I am honored to have been a part of Scott and Claire’s lives, and grateful for this book. Dorothy Day, in describing the Catholic Worker movement she co-founded, famously quoted Dostoyevsky saying that love in action is a “harsh and dreadful thing.” Scott’s wonderful book doesn’t deny the harsh and dreadful part, but adds a great deal of joyfulness to the equation.                                                                                                               —Carl Siciliano, founder/executive director, Ali Forney Center • New York City

 The division into stories is clever. A delight.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —Janet Poole • Quincy, Massachusetts

Really enjoying Nothing is Impossible. It is wise and funny—the best combination! It is also original, which makes it exciting to read. Thank you for writing it, Scott.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              —Lauren Kenworthy • Takoma Park, Maryland

 This book is a unique perspective into the life and worldview of Scott Schaeffer-Duffy who has constantly broken the mold throughout his varied and rich life. Scott provides amazing detail and anecdotes on his life adventures starting from his grappling with a vocation to the Franciscan priesthood, his keen intellect and desire to find a way to live out his Catholic faith in an impactful way to his determination to work for social justice and finally finding a home in the Catholic Worker movement. He provides humorous and self-deprecating insights into his romantic journey ending with finding a true soul mate named Claire. This is not a holy roller book by any stretch. Scott provides many frank insights on his adventures from the Franciscan religious life to working at a Catholic Worker in a dangerous neighborhood in DC to his fanatical dedication to running to managing a Catholic worker house while raising four children (along with wife Claire) who all go on to the nation’s top Ivy league and liberal arts colleges. Scott does appear to have captured the true spirit of St Francis with a decidedly irreverent flair and very human failings. This is a book you will have trouble putting down and one you will not soon forget.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Timothy McCaffrey • McLean, Virginia

 Scott Schaeffer-Duffy comes full circle from a teen with dreams of being a millionaire by the age of twenty-one to a lifelong pacifist dedicated to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and Dorothy Day. His book Nothing Is Impossible alternates between inner monologue and entertaining narrative as he shares how he successfully melded his role as a loving husband and father of four with his passion to bear witness to the teachings of Christ in a volatile world. His compassion, love, and humor resound as he challenges readers to examine their values about war, peace, humanity, and humility. This thought-provoking read is a testament that a life lived in the conviction of peace, poverty, and love, while fraught with self-reflection, complexity, and danger, can also be filled with deep happiness, fulfillment, and joy.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       —Christine Duffy Zerillo • Concord, New Hampshire

 Nothing Is Impossible is an inspiring book: funny, scary, and a must-read for everyone.                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Robert Curnow • Santa Barbara, California

 Every chapter should be a book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —Dianne Boover • Worcester, Massachusetts

 I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed reading about your life as a student, friar, father, husband, teacher, Catholic Worker, runner, peaceful protestor, and a man of faith. I have the sense you have had all these experiences because of your faith, and your humor must have surely helped. Both shine through your writing. Reading your work felt like I was sitting with an old friend around a kitchen table. Keep writing . . . and mailing.                                                                                                                                                                               —Louise Nixon, US Postal worker • Worcester, Massachusetts

 Usually, I find personal histories boring, but this wasn’t. It was very interesting, very well-written, a page-turner. I read it in three days.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        —Dianne Sliwoski • Worcester, Massachusetts

 I’m totally loving your book! I read a little every morning while I pray. It is funny, moving, and inspirational.                                                                                                    —Maria Rodriguez, associate professor of political science • College of the Holy Cross

 Interesting and enjoyable. I liked the format of the book, with each chapter’s focus on a topic, rather than sequential.                                                                                                                                                    —Anne Lyczak • Portsmouth, New Hampshire

 Fascinating and funny.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Barbara Roberts • Worcester, Massachusetts

 Laugh out loud funny.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      —Eric Schaeffer, executive director, Environmental Integrity Project • Washington, DC

 I heard wonderful oral versions of some of these stories sitting four feet away from Scott. The sparkle in his eyes and palpable joy in his story-telling were so great that I wanted to see if he captured all of that on the printed page, and he has in equal measure.                                                                            —Art Wortman, author • Words from the Wise: Centuries of Proverbs to Live By

 I laughed out loud reading his memories.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             —Anne Marie Kaune, former editor, Catholic Worker

 It’s just fantastic. I spent much of my early twenties volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, and got to meet Catholic, Mennonite, and Jesuit missionaries and workers, and this book just brought back so many wonderful memories. I’ve been talking about it to our staff and customers here, too.                                                                                                                                                                                                             —Libby Walker, manager, Barnes & Noble bookstore • Worcester, Massachusetts

 Hilarious and wise.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —Teresa Grady, Catholic Worker • Ithaca, New York

 I bought your book at the Paulist Center in Boston this weekend and, boy, am I glad I did! It gets me happy and goin’ when I enjoy a private morning moment with you in the confines of our home privy every day. Keep on keepin’ on, brother. I feel like joining up with you all! Thanks for the light and the love.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         —Margaret Ris • Boston, Massachusetts

 This remarkable memoir is an unembarrassed tell-all by a college student, Franciscan novice, husband, father, and runner. It is also by human service worker, welcoming host to otherwise unwelcome guests, baker, war front clown, peace activist, war protester, jailbird and court room advocate for the jailbird’s defense. All of these persons are blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the most important gifts: a thick skin and a sense of humor.                                                                                                                                                                                                                —Clarence Burley • Worcester Friends Meeting

 Magical. A delightful read. The author speaks joyfully, descriptively, with no holding back. We sit on the edge of the chair as we read this book that can be started at any chapter. His contagious sense of humor and his vulnerability bring us closer to understanding and loving this unusual man who has run marathons and also danced between warring armies in a clown suit.                                                                                                                               —Katie Green, storyteller • Princeton, Massachusetts

 It was so awesome that I think it should be required reading for every college student (and possibly high school seniors). One strange thing though, partway through the middle of Chapter Two (the [haunted] apartment story), I realized I was freezing like I have never been before. I was wearing a shirt, a sweatshirt, sitting under a quilt, and the pellet stove was on. Nothing I did got me warm, and I finally stopped reading and jumped in the hot tub. It was the only thing I could do to stop the freezing, especially in my wrists. I’m not saying it’s connected to the chapter – I just think it’s weird.                                                                                                                                                                                           —Melissa Mercon Smith, teacher • Hopedale, Massachusetts

Scott’s book describes his incredible journey through life so far. Some chapters were fun to read, humorous and entertaining; other chapters were difficult to read, and in a few places so intense that I had to put it down and take a walk. There are few books that have affected me that way. I like especially that the chapters were by topics or sections of his life rather than in order by years as most biographies are. The chapters about his family - helping his young “detectives” or mountain climbing were fun to read and his enjoyment of those times came through in your writing. The chapters about jail, protests, and his decision to become a monk and then deciding against it were emotionally difficult to read; he has stepped into some very difficult and dangerous situations for his beliefs, and I admire that. Parts of the running chapter really hit home with me because I have run with some of the same people, some of the same races, and never ran a step until I was thirty-five. Unfortunately my knees do not let me run any more, but walking is fine. Scott and Claire clearly have a commitment and devotion to justice and helping right some social wrongs; and his decision to be part of the Catholic Worker program, and some of the protest movements Scott have been part of shows that. I admire his courage to live that sort of life and take happiness and gratitude for his ability to do that. It also has left me questioning to some degree if I am giving enough of myself to others. That is perhaps the most important gift his book can give me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Laura Beckwith, high school teacher • Holden, Massachusetts

 A wonderful book. It is both a joy and inspiration filled with truth and hope. What a rich and blessed life.                                                                                                                                                                                           —Joe Osburn • Danville, Indiana

 The sections that we especially appreciated are the ones in which Scott speaks of his days in jail - that is, we see the courage needed to confront the evil of the day and risking, knowing that the civil disobedience will most probably land you in jail. Also,the trust and willingness to demonstrate elsewhere ("Peacemaking and War") for the cause of peace and civil rights puts deep faith and courage in action. The story regarding the "birth" of the Saints Francis and Thérèse Catholic Worker especially held our interest and shows respect for the people they serve as well as the love and patience that this ministry demands. A very special calling indeed! May the Lord continue to bless Scott and Claire and their beautiful family.                                                                                                —Sister Rena Mae Gagnon and Sister Hilda Chasse • Little Franciscans of Mary • Worcester, Massachusetts

 To excel in running one needs to embrace the hard/easy principle so that the body can become more fit. This is a foreign concept to Scott who in his activism(both locally and globally) as well as in his family life Scott is always sprinting, which is why, as a runner, he's uncoachable.                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Richard Larsen, 2015 USATF National 5K Champion, Master's Division • Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

 Here is a unique book! Throughout history, deeply religious people have been the focal point of many biographies and memoirs. With their tireless works of nonviolent political activism, peace and justice education, and direct care of the poor, author Scott Schaeffer-Duffy and his wife, Claire, have earned their place among such holy people whose lives inspire emulation. But the thing that makes this memoir so special is Scott’s inimitable personality, which shines through each hilarious, warm, deeply honest, compelling, and sometimes hair-raising story. And tucked gently between the lines is Scott’s unmistakably firm dedication to the challenging teachings of Jesus — to radically love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself — with the message that such a life is not only possible and fulfilling but maybe even a little fun, too. I found myself repeatedly laughing out loud and then feeling moved to tears at the outcomes of his wide-ranging escapades and endeavors. How do we show fidelity to the Gospel, live in poverty, serve the poor, raise a family, run marathons, mount court defenses, navigate through war zones, and commit absolutely to one’s beliefs — all while maintaining a certain joie de vivre? Scott Schaeffer-Duffy has written the book on it!                                                                                                             —Elsie Uffelmann Boucher, PhD, MA • Worcester, Massachusetts

 Scott's stories are inspiring, uplifting, often funny, heartwarming, poignant, and always fascinating, It is refreshing to read the life experiences of someone who has dedicated himself to the good in humankind, has raised an amazing family, and contributed selflessly both to his community, and the whole world in need of love, peace, and compassion.                                                                                                                                                                  —Yael London, physical therapist • Worcester, Massachusetts

 I lived at the Boston Catholic Worker for many years. When I first heard of your plans to come to Worcester and start a Catholic Worker Community — live in the house and raise a family there, I thought, “That’s Impossible”! My harsh premature judgement was proven wrong! Reading Nothing is Impossible was an intriguing view into how faith, determination, love, and a little craziness helped to make so many wonderful things possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Annie Doyle, parish outreach coordinator • Worcester, Massachusetts

 It's always awkward when friends offer a book for review. That's why it has taken me so long to respond. I wanted to tell you how LOUSY it was, but find a way to tell you "nicely". What really pisses me off is that it is not at all LOUSY. It's fantastic! I'm sorry to have to say that. I so much wanted to pan it. Now I am irate. This point goes to you, Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy! p.s. Now the only thing is for me to re-read your book page by page for any mention of my name and then decide if it is actionable. I, or my legal team, will be in touch.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Bill Tower, Vietnam Veterans for Peace • Worcester, Massachusetts

 Your generosity reflects the kindness that binds us all together, and hearing from people like you inspires us as we continue working toward a brighter future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                —Barack and Michelle Obama • Washington, DC

 Nothing Is Impossible provides history, anecdotes, and humorous asides to Scott and his wife Claire's lives and the remarkable work they do. I am humbled and inpsired by them.                                                                                                                                                                                                            —David Maher, environmentalist, USMC veteran • Brookfield, Massachusetts

Insightful, clever, provocative, and inspirational. An authentic picture of a pilgrim's life for our day.                                                                                                                                                —Valerie Taylor, Central Mass Strider • Worcester, Massachusetts

 I thoroughly enjoyed reading this compilation of inspiring and quite often humorous biographical tales of nonviolent action, jails, war zones, family, hospitality and more from an arachnophobic marathon runner and Catholic Worker. Apparent throughout is Scott’s unwavering commitment to making the world a better and more peaceful place. Thanks to his gifts of storytelling and writing, and accompanied by beautiful photos, it all comes to life in this wonderful book. Even the title offers us hope - nothing is impossible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Felice Cohen-Joppa, editor, The Nuclear Resister • Tucson, Arizona

This is not a book to be rushed through. I pick it up and then set it down for a while. It's a book to be savored, a book you don't want to ever end.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    —Joseph Finneral, actor • Worcester, Massachusetts

E. B. White writes "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." This line has always spoken to me, but Scott's book is a testament to the idea that one does not have to choose. In working to improve the world, Scott has found deep joy in some of its darkest places, and this gives me inspiration and hope.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Libby Westie, Center for Nonviolent Solutions • Worcester, Massachusetts

 What struck me the most about this humorous and thought-provoking autobiography was the raw honesty and the gritty realism that paints a picture of anything but a holier-than-thou, halo-polishing Catholic Worker. I was completely unprepared to laugh out loud, stay up way past my bedtime to read one more chapter, and to feel inspired to urge anyone who would listen to me that they should read this book. What I want to know is, where is Volume Two? I want to know more!                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —anonymous Google reviewer

 Scott Schaeffer-Duffy has a wonderful story-telling style that pulls the reader in from the first chapter. The chapters don't need to be read in order, and you can choose to re-read based on your mood. If you're feeling adventurous, read the chapters on mountain climbing and mystery solving; if you prefer to delve into peace and justice work, read those; if you need a reminder of the importance of family and joy, you can find that, too. Scott has lived a many-storied life, and his book inspire others to believe that, truly, nothing is impossible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               —anonymous Google reviewer

Nothing Is Impossible is an extraordinary book. I am proud that is written by an American for it speaks to a spirit in this country that must never be lost. That is the spirit of people like
Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Jesus.Scott Schaeffer-Duffy and his wife, Claire, are true pacifists and as we read this book we realize that pacifism is a quality of the soul; it is a spiritual quality demanding compassion, commitment, love of the poor and not surprisingly, a sense of humor. True pacifism also requires great courage. The courage to try to bring peace in a war zone in Bosnia, knowing that at any moment you may be shot. The same courage is required to protest for civil rights and protest the building of bombs. These protests result in Scott and his wife Claire being arrested, brought to court and being jailed. It takes courage to raise a family and at the same time open your home to immigrants feeling tyranny and to people who have lost everything. This is one of those rare books you read in a lifetime.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Jay O’Callahan, storyteller • Marshfield, Massachusetts

 I loved this book. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It helped me understand the souls and courage of people who have so devotedly lived out the Christian message.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   —Paul Audette, deacon • Rutland, Massachusetts

Very good memoir writing. Scott's natural style of storytelling and humor are a natural page turner plus the power of his life choices, choice of mate!, and wonderful family makes for a very beautiful narrative indeed.                                                                                                                                                               —Brayton Shanley, Agape Community • Hardwick, Massachusetts

 I never laughed so hard reading a book. It was beautiful.                                                                                                                                                                                           —Arthur Brien • Lawrence, Massachusetts

Nothing Is Impossible is a funhouse ride peppered with surprises and thrills. Scott Schaeffer-Duffy has been a peace activist since 1978, and a Catholic Worker since 1982. Nothing Is Impossible compiles fifteen chapters of his adventures and musings, on the theme that “all of us have invitations in life to take risks, invitations that we usually refuse. I hope that this book will inspire readers to say yes to their personal invitations to make themselves and the world better.” Schaeffer-Duffy is an engaging story teller. There’s a surprising amount of action, often involving physical danger: “I slept on the floor at that time and woke up one night with a rat sitting on my chest,” “Claire gave me strict orders not to get arrested,” and in county jail, “Jake slid into a seat next to me and asked, ‘You know Paul Hood?’ ‘Yeah,’ I replied. ‘He’s a friend of mine.’ ‘Well,’ Jake continued, ‘I guess I won’t kill you after all.’” And Schaeffer-Duffy relates acts of courage in the face of fear, e.g. while serving with human rights observers in Nicaragua, the Gaza Strip, and Bosnia. He recounts instances where hearts and minds, often of those in a position of power, become opened after witnessing the transformative power of nonviolence. Schaeffer-Duffy is most endearing when he writes about his role as husband, father, and coach. You’ll marvel as The Thrilling Three junior detective agency solves actual mysteries, featuring chase scenes on foot, car, and taxi. The reader is left entertained and inspired. “I am frank with new runners, activists, and Catholic Workers that victories do not come cheap. But, at the same time, I assure neophytes that, if they persist, rewards dwarf the sacrifices. If they give their heart and soul to any worthy venture, they too will experience miracles.”                                                                                                               —Joe Alfano, math professor • Assumption College • Holden, Massachusetts

I loved reading your book. I could not put it down once I started. Having known you and Claire and your kids for years, it was particularly engaging to read about your experiences, insights and adventures. I appreciate the candor with which you shared all the highs and lows, and the fullness of your humanity, giving the book the ring of authenticity. Huge congratulations on reinventing yourself as a marathon man through your amazing dedication and perseverance!                                                                                                                                              —Jim Heffernan, musician, long distance runner •Worcester, Massachusetts

It was so heart-warming to read of your Catholic Worker experiences (a particular brand of a wild life not to be found anywhere else!) and creative parenting. I’m so glad you put pen to paper and did this – we could relate to so much of it – we have even had our own ghostly experience, though not as malevolent as yours! I loved the stories from the Saint Benedict’s Catholic Worker, and jail – and your romancing Claire (she’s a rock!).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Anne Rampa, Catholic Worker, parent • Ocean View, Australia

I loved Nothing is Impossible. Scott brings you right there to the places he was and captures the true essence of life. He uses humor and wit to get through what he believes in. His wife Claire is right along beside him doing God's work. I was laughing so hard at times. This is a great read!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Carol Hurley, Central Mass Strider • Spencer, Massachusetts

Despite the fact that I put down Nothing Is Impossible many times, I must say that your book is one of the few I’ve read recently that made me laugh aloud. With an easy willingness to laugh at yourself, you weaved readers through time in a tale of surviving your Uncle Bob’s “candy ass” taunts to becoming a hopelessly lovesick teenager turned home-wrecker to marching as a sad clown in war zones to basically LARPING (live actions role play) with your firstborn on Worcester’s streets. Even with great playfulness and ludicrous risk-taking, it is clear that you live with compassion and act always to please the God of peace. For being a semi-ordinary dude who likes to talk trash before 5Ks and exhibits more ridiculous antics than a hungry child, your story is amazing. You gave credit to others where credit was due and showed the beauty of following one’s moral conscience even in great danger. As a kid in college trying to figure it out, I am glad that I spent time at the table of Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker. I will not forget the guests I met, the food I helped cook, or the conversations that I shared with you and Claire. This book will stay with me in times where I have doubt that things will work out. You inspire me to embrace the call for peace and justice in this wild world and leave my candy ass fears behind. Thank you for the service of penning your adventures!                                                                                                                                    —Louisa Pavlik, student • Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa

Fun read about some serious issues. Author ties together lessons of life in biography. Encouraging and sobering.                                                                                                                          —Karen M. Lajoie, public school nurse • Worcester, Massachusetts

Catholic Workers often have the problem of what to say when someone asks: so, what is the Catholic Worker all about? We might mumble something about personalism (and try to explain what that means), then we might mention voluntary poverty (and try to explain what that means), then we’d have to make sure we covered hospitality, low-tech farming, peace activism, round table discussions and publications. And lastly, make it clear that there really is no set of rules for what Catholic Workers have to do, except follow what Jesus shows us to do! A far better way to explain is through stories. And Scott’s book is full of great stories of some of the things that Catholic Workers do. Scott is a natural and funny storyteller, and through living the Catholic Worker life with his wife Claire and family in Worcester, he has some amazing experiences to relate. In describing the gallery of colorful characters who have come through their Catholic Worker house over the past thirty years, Scott shows how we can be enriched by helping those in need. The description of his peace activism and reflections on the meaning of his time in jail shows the transformative power of these experiences. As the book is essentially autobiographical, certain chapters are not always relevant to CW themes, but they simply show that he is a rounded person with a life that is not confined to serving soup and bread. Our daughters particularly enjoyed his chapter on the haunted house—which is indeed very strange and creepy, the more so, because it sits alongside his other chapters of straight documentation of CW life. A great book, told with a great sense of humur (including Monty Python references) and the best way to explain to someone what the Catholic Worker is all about. Inspiring.                                       —Forrest Chambers, reviewer • The Common Good, spring, 2016 • Christchurch Catholic Worker, Otaki, New Zealand

I finished the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. You have an easygoing writing style that makes this collection of stories very relatable. I purchased this book on the strength of the review I read in the Catholic Worker newspaper and was not disappointed. I was mainly interested in the stories about you becoming a Catholic Worker and how you developed your house of hospitality as I find myself on a similar path and
am gathering as much practical knowledge and experience from others as I can. I hope there is a second book.                                                                                             —Pete Antos-Ketcham • New England Sustainable Living Center • Starksboro, Vermont

I so enjoyed reading your book, Nothing Is Impossible. It truly reflects the important work that you do and the labour, difficulties, joy and celebration that is so much a part of your everyday life. Your faith is a guiding light to all who know of you and Claire and your community. Such vital work, making sense of and pointing to the way forward in a rather chaotic time in US history. It is a gift to all who read it. It knocks the sentimentality out of the CW lifestyle but replaces it with genuine insight bounded with courage, commitment and joy. It had me laughing and crying at different times as you retold the stories of your thirty years of CW life with Claire. A great read. Well done, mate.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          —Reverend Jim Consedine • Christchurch, New Zealand

The writing is very HUMAN, FUNNY, SERIOUS, TRUTHFUL, SENSITIVE, DOWN TO EARTH. The one sentence that sums it all up is on Page 216, as follows,“In fact, if any individual gives her or himself fully to a worthy venture, I am confident that they will experience a miracle.” Those words speak to me and will continue through my life. Thanks, Scott, for this wonderful experience in my life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 —Roger Stanley • Berlin, Massachusetts

This book was a total surprise and truly a remarkable book. I’ve often wondered how family life would be held together in a household dedicated to caring for the poor. Your honest account was a real treasure to read. Thank you for the wonderful work you do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  —Charlotte Stanley • Berlin, Massachusetts

 I LOVED your book! I am a wasp from the New York suburbs, and grew up privileged. "Hanging out" (not to mention living with) the people you describe in your book is far removed from my life experiences. You have presented a remarkable window into an unpredictable, joy-filled and liberating life. Your humor in even the most difficult times is inspiring and I didn’t want to put your book down. I hope I can meet you and Claire one day. I admire you both!! Thank you again, Scott, for writing such an unforgettable and remarkable book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            —Penny Schultz • New York