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but few are chosen...but few are chosen

A Different Path to Coming of Age
Michael Connolly, Richard Olive, and John Tuohey

● ISBN 978-0-918339-83-6● Trade Paper ● 6 x 9, 264 pages ● Acid Free Paper ● Index ● $19.95 ●

What they’re saying about …but few are chosen 

Compelling, plain-spoken account of growing up in 1950’s America.  Haunting and beautifully-written.
William Klaber, author of The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell

Connolly, Olive, and Tuohey have taken the ancient theme of coming of age and given it new and unique life…The boys’ homes are so full of loss and dysfunction that they find the rigidly austere but ordered life of the seminary a welcome safety and comfort--though in this rarefied atmosphere they are also growing up, “lending ears to a siren song calling from the outside world.”  The alternating narrators compliment each other and work as different lenses and mirrors through which the same story is seen.  Richly detailed, at times deeply dramatic, and at times humorous or darkly ironic, this memoir is immensely readable, and will fascinate not only readers with a Catholic background but any who can identify with the elusive quest for self-esteem, respect, and the ability to forgive and move on in life—which is just about everybody.
James Tipton, PhD., author of
Annette Vallon, A Novel
of the French Revolution;
SF Chronicle Bestseller

…but few are chosen is the story of three boys coming of age in the mid-1950’s. Growing up in working class Irish Catholic neighborhoods in the Northeastern United States, they are desperate to escape lives of loneliness, petty crime, and violence. At the age of thirteen, ready to enter high school they each come to the same life changing, and possibly life-saving decision–to enter a seminary and begin their journeys toward the priesthood.

The book chrchronicles Mike, John, and Ollie’s fears, frustrations, hopes, and dreams while they proceed on their very unique path to adulthood via St. John’s Atonement Seminary in Montour Falls, New York. There, the three meet, eventually become lifelong friends, and begin the transition to being successful and contributing members of society. Lives that would undoubtedly have ended poorly are turned around in the structured, orderly, caring, and predictable life of the seminary. For the first time the boys come to realize that life is more than just raised voices and clenched fists. Led by priests on the faculty they learn responsibility, restraint, patience, and concern for others. They develop determination without aggression, and apply their new-found abilities to study, sports, and relationships.

About the authors…

Mike Connolly graduated in 1965 from Lowell State College and became a high school English teacher. In 1968 Mike served as a chaplain’s assistant in Cui Chi, Vietnam. After the war he returned to the United States and became a school principal. He worked for forty-two years in middle and high schools in the United States and in international schools in Thailand, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, and Vietnam. He currently serves as a Eucharistic Minister, distributing Communion at All Saints Catholic Church in Hampstead, North Carolina and at a local nursing home.

Mike is married and has four children. He is the author of three other books: What They Never Told Me in Principal’s School; Teaching Kids to Love Learning, Not Just Endure It; and most recently, Young Enough to Change the World: Stories of Kids and Teens Who Turned Their Dreams into Action (coauthored with his wife, Brie Goolbis). 

After high school Richard (Ollie) Olive wa wandered into a Navy recruiting station. Recalling Father Owen’s encouragement about pursuing writing, he applied for and was accepted in journalism school at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, then served for forty months as a journalist aboard an aircraft carrier.

He parlayed his Navy journalism experience into a twelve-year career with daily newspapers, The Associated Press, and United Press International. The rest of his working life was divided among service as a business agent for The Newspaper Guild, public relations, and fund-raising. He retired in 2014 and is devoted to writing, family, and a nondenominational ministry on San Quentin’s Death Row. He and his wife, Ana, have seven children and six grandchildren between them. Besides family, friends, and faith, he is grateful to be playing racquetball and for his recovery from alcoholism, which began in 1986.

John Tuohey became a registered nurse, graduating from Nassau Community College in 1964. He joined the Army in 1966, and after active duty remained in the Active Reserve until 1998. In 1970 he received a BA in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; in 1977 he became a family nurse practitioner through the University of Southern Maine after receiving an MEd in counseling from Rivier College; and in 1994, he completed his Master of Science in Nursing in Critical Care from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute. Throughout his career he worked primarily in emergency rooms, cardiology, and urology clinics before retiring in 2011. He is currently a volunteer English teacher for new Americans, a participant in a French conversation group, and a member of a writing group. He has completed riding his bike in forty-nine states, with Alaska scheduled in 2018. He is a practitioner of Sayoc Kali, a Filipino martial art.

Throughout his hospital career, John never forgot Father Owen tending the sick during the flu epidemic and has tried to model that priest’s care and concern for his patients. He has three daughters from a first marriage and two stepsons from his marriage to Pam, who has made his life a delight in every way. All the children still speak to him, which he considers his major accomplishment.



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