Uncommon Sense
The Podcast of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, where we talk about everything under the sun with a Chestertonian perspective, as well as the writings and legacy of G.K. Chesterton himself. The podcast is hosted by Grettelyn Darkey and Joe Grabowski. Want to give us feedback? Email podcast@chesterton.org.

The Frances Chesterton Rosary League invites you to pray along with Nancy Brown, Dale Ahlquist and the many others around the world, and join your intentions with ours as we pray together.


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Chesterton remained active right up to his death, giving speeches, talks on the BBC radio, opening libraries, garden parties and nursing homes. He was present at a fund raiser at the end of May, and died two weeks later on June 14, 1936.


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A Celebration of G.K. Chesterton compiled by Michael Ffinch, found on englishwordplay.com/chesterton please check it out as they also have the full script on line.

This overview of Chesterton's life goes over the major highlights, and is a quick and easy way to learn of Chesterton's life, but in an interesting way as a radio play with multiple voices and sound effects. It is excellent. Please enjoy.


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Ethics and Culture Cast from 10/17/19, Ken Hallenius interviews Dale Ahlquist on Chesterton's connection to the University of Notre Dame, the Chesterton collection at the Notre Dame London campus, the book My Name is Lazarus, the Apostle of Common Sense, and the potential for sainthood in G.K. Chesterton.



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This is a rebroadcast of Faith and Culture with Joseph Pearce from October 29, 2019.


Following John Henry Newman's canonization, Christopher Blum and Joseph Pearce consider whether that other great English apologist G. K. Chesterton should be considered a saint.

With commentary afterwards by Nancy Brown


Please request your prayer cards at https://www.chesterton.org/prayer/

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Podcast #124 Gilbert ages 50-60 The Years 1924-1934

 Chesterton Decade by Decade Series

In this decade, Chesterton started GK’s Weekly, the Everlasting Man is published. The Distributist League is born, Frances converts, they hire their last secretary, Dorothy Collins.

They travel to Poland and Rome and America/Canada, where Chesterton gives a series of classes at Notre Dame. They travel to Dublin and France. Gilbert becomes a regular on the BBC. He’s starting to spend more time sick than healthy. He writes St. Thomas Aquinas. His mother dies, he becomes a Knight. Hitler rises to power.

Sign up for our 60 days with GKC email series, you can get them daily or weekly, and this will help you dive deeper into Chesterton. chesterton.org

If you live near Dover New Hampshire, on November 22 and 23 there will be a new play, Gilbert’s Guide to Elfland Excursions: A Fairy Tale Stage Show, here is the description:

G.K. Chesterton plays host to three fairy tales: from France, Beauty and the Beast, from Sweden, The Werewolf, a Cinderella Story and from Scotland, Little Daylight. November 22 and 23rd at the Strand Theater, 10:30 am and 6:30 PM on the 22, and 1:30 matinee on the 23rd, tickets in advance or at the door. It will be a family friendly show. Weebsite is chestertonSP.com (Chesterton Stage Productions) by our very own Christopher Oulette, whom you’ve heard on occasion on this very show.

anyone interested in Chesterton’s war writing to know that there is a book called Chesterton on War and Peace which culls the war pieces from the ILN from 1905 till his death, so they’re all in one place for your reading pleasure.

Unfortunatly Chesterton on War and Peace is currently out of stock on the Chesterton.org website, but my second book site I go to, AbeBooks.com, which usually has a great selection of used books, does have it for only 9 or 10 bucks right now if you’re interested.

In addition, Collected Works volume 21 at the back has newspaper reports of some of Chesterton’s speeches, which is interesting reading.

If you enjoy these podcasts, know that I am a volunteer, and I donate the cost of storage for these podcasts which I consider a donation to the Society. I podcast because I love doing it and enjoy creating these shows. If you’d like to show your appreciation, please consider making a donation to the Chesterton Society by going to Chesterton.org/donate

Thank you

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In 1914 Chesterton is stricken by a mysterious illness that puts him in a weakened state and mostly in a coma for almost five months. When he reawakens, the world is still at war, and he begins writing about the war and in support of the war effort, and in criticism of the war too. His brother Cecil goes off to war, and unfortunately dies, crushing Gilbert.


Gilbert goes on lecture tours to Ireland, Jerusalem and then America, giving a huge number of speeches. His father dies, another blow for Gilbert. He finally decides to convert, even without Frances, proving, to Father O’Connor, that he was really doing God’s will. For the first time, the BBC broadcasts a speech Gilbert makes at a restaurant. His book St. Francis of Asissi is published to great acclaim and becomes a best seller. He begins publishing his own paper, G.K.’s Weekly, and we’ll talk more about that next time as we get into the Distributist League.


There were six works—one book and five pamphlets— specifically written as propaganda for the war and they are:


The Barbarism of Berlin (free on Project Gutenberg)

Prussian v. Belgian Culture (pamphlet)

Letters to an Old Garibaldian (CW 5)

The Crimes of England (CW 5) (book)

The Martyrdom of Belgium (pamphlet) 9 pages

How to Help Annexation (CW 5)


His volumes of ILN columns during the war years are in Collected Works Volume 30 which covers 1914-1916

Volume 31 covers 1917-1919

Wade Center: https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/wadecenter/



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Chesterton ages 30-40; 1904-1914--At 30 years of age, Chesterton’s popularity is growing by leaps and bounds. Suddenly, he’s in demand as a writer and a speaker. He meets Father O’Connor, the priest who’s the inspiration behind the Father Brown mysteries. Chesterton’s brother-in-law’s mental illness will affect this decade. Chesterton’s first novel, The Napolean of Notting Hill is published. His most respected work of literary criticism is published, his book on Charles Dickens, for which he is credited as creating a resurgence of interest in Dickens. His two books The Man Who Was Thursday and Orthodoxy are published, both well received. Orthodoxy will entice many an unsuspecting reader into the sunny country of Christianity.


His brother-in-law commits suicide, his wife has a nervous breakdown, and the Chestertons need a change of scenery and move 20 minutes outside of London to Beaconsfield. Chesterton and Shaw begin their great rivalry and friendship, the first Father Brown story is published. The Ballad of the White Horse is published, Lepanto is published, Chesterton’s great autobiographical novel Manalive is published. The Marconi Scandal happens, his first play Magic is performed. As the world hovers on the brink of war, Chesterton is forty years old, severely overweight, and he collapses into what will become a very long illness. And that, my friends, is a very busy ten years, and we can perhaps see why Chesterton was overworked and exhausted.


So next episode will pick up here, ages 40 to 50, the years 1914 to 1924. Until then, thanks for listening, and God bless you.


Gilbert and Frances Chesterton, pray for us!


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This episode responds to certain arguments put forth by Catholic podcasters Dr. Taylor Marshall and Timothy Gordon (“TnT”) along with their guest, Dr. Jay Richards of Catholic University, against the Distributist thesis. The arguments presented and responded to are taken as typical, in tone and substance, of many of the critiques Distributism receives from within the Catholic intellectual world by those committed to a different (namely, pro-Capitalist) interpretation of the Tradition and the Catholic Social Magisterium.

Specifically, the episode delves into how Distributists differ in their understanding of the rights associated with private property, pointing out that Distributists do not simply treat property ownership and use as coextensive or coterminous, but rather make important distinctions especially vis a vie certain particular questions such as the right of contract; the episode also treats of the fundamentals of the question of what role the State has in principle in assuring equitable distribution and achieving distributive justice. And we also discuss why the Wizard Saruman was not a Distributist. 

Show notes and references available at Joe Grabowski's web site joegrabowski.com/distributism

Please email Joe directly with questions or comments at jlg@joegrabowski.com



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Summary of today’s episode: Chesterton from age 20 to 30, Chesterton had a dark night of the soul, ending in a glorious vision of God where he talked to God face to face. His vision resulted in a new gratitude towards life, a sense of wonder and joy that would essentially never leave him again. He began his writing career, met the love of his life and married her, and began writing notable columns in the papers that made him a household name. He was commissioned to write a biography of Robert Browning (poet and playright, husband of Elizabeth Barret Browning) and then wrote a book on painter and sculptor G.F. Watts. He is a rising star in the firmament of London.

If you have questions or comments, write me at uncommonsensepodcast@gmail.com  Obviously, I’m skimming over and trying to pick highlights. There’s much, much more in the biographies about each stage of Chesterton’s life. I recommend reading a biography or two, I’ve used six biographies to write this, including:

Maisie Ward’s G.K. Chesterton and Return to Chesterton

Joseph Pearce’s book: Wisdom and Innocence.

Denis Conlon’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Reappraisal

William Oddie’s book: Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy

Ian Ker’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Biography


Fr. Ker’s talk in London: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/chesterton-and-humour-a-talk-by-fr-ian-ker-tickets-69985936821


Instagram @chestertonsociety

Reddit  r/GKChesterton



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We follow Chesterton from grade school through high school, and the founding of the Junior Debating Club, which was to serve such an important role in his youth, to his college years when he became severely depressed.


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This series begins by taking Chesterton's life decade by decade to discover the highlights of his life.

This episode contains highlights from the first ten years of Chesterton's life.



Biographies used:

Maisie Wards G.K. Chesterton and Return to Chesterton

Joseph Pearce’s book: Wisdom and Innocence.

Denis Conlon’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A reappraisal

William Oddie’s book: Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy

Ian Ker’s book: G.K. Chesterton: A Biography

Free Course on St. Thomas Aquinas: https://aquinas101.thomisticinstitute.org

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Edward and Marie Louise Chesterton are important to understand as the parents of G.K. Chesterton. Their lives and the warm and loving household in which they brought up their children influenced GKC and so let's find out more about his parents.



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Conference highlights:

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Rod Dreher, Harry Potter Panel, Brandon Vogt's talk on Chesterton as Husband and Father. Legendary Afterglows. Meeting new friends. Book Signings. Used book sales. Kevin O'Brien's Adam and Even go to Marriage Counseling. Chuck Chalberg as GKC.

Audio and Video available at ncrsusa.com/conference/chesterton

Light Your Candle at chesterton.org/candles

Sign up for daily quotes at chesterton.org

September 9th, 2019 at 7PM CST will be the next Virtual Society Meeting with Dale Ahlquist, hosted by Brandon Vogt.

Next Conference in Chicago, July 30, 31 and August 1st, 2020

Instagram @chestertonsociety

Twitter @chestertsoc

Facebook @ChestertonSociety

Pinterest @SocietyofGKC




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From the Pints with Jack blog post:


It has been my desire for a while to introduce the listeners to other members of the Inklings, as well as authors who greatly influenced Lewis. Today we look at G.K. Chesterton and our special guest who will be introducing us to this great man is renowned Chesterton scholar and champion, Dale Ahlquist.


Show Notes


  • I explained my desire to introduce the listeners to the rest of the Inklings, as well as those other writings who made a profound influence on C.S. Lewis.


  • When our reading group was working through Surprised By Joy, Chesterton’s name appeared eleven times. Lewis read a collection of Chesterton’s essays and, although he was still an atheist, he immediately fell in love with Chesterton’s writings.


It was here that I first read a volume of Chesterton’s essays. I had never heard of him and had no idea of what he stood for; nor can I quite understand why he made such an immediate conquest of me… Liking an author may be as involuntary and improbable as falling in love. I was by now a sufficiently experienced reader to distinguish liking from agreement. I did not need to accept what Chesterton said in order to enjoy it. His humour was of the kind which I like best… Moreover, strange as it may seem, I liked him for his goodness…


In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading…


Then I read Chesterton’s Everlasting Man and for the first time saw the whole Christian outline of history set out in a form that seemed to me to make sense. Somehow I contrived not to be too badly shaken. You will remember that I already thought Chesterton the most sensible man alive “apart from his Christianity”.


C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy

  • I introduced Dale Ahlquist. He is a husband and father of six and one of the most respected Chesterton scholars in the world. He’s President of the American Chesterton Society and was the creator of the popular EWTN series The Apostle of Common Sense. He has also written and edited a number of books on Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense, Common Sense 101, and more recently Knight of the Holy Ghost. He is also the co-founder of a classical high school in Minneapolis, The Chesterton Academy, and is the chairman of the Chesterton Schools Network.


Not only that, in 2013, he came and talked to the Chesterton class at Notre Dame on “Wonder and Gratitude”, and one of the students in the class that day was our very own Matt Bush.


  • The drink-of-the-week was a Newcastle Brown Ale, a drink I hoped Chesterton would appreciate. I asked Dale about Chesterton’s favourite beverages. He said that Chesterton preferred red wine, particularly Claret/Bordeaux, which he would drink out of a tumbler. He said that he also enjoyed beer when he was very thirsty on a hot day. He didn’t like cocktails at all, saying “I have no objection to vodka expect that I once tasted it”.


The quote-of-the-week was from Chesterton himself:


Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable…. Never drink because you need it, for this is rational drinking, and the way to death and hell. But drink because you do not need it, for this is irrational drinking, and the ancient health of the world


Heretics, G.K. Chesterton

  • Dale spoke about how C.S. Lewis was his path into discovering Chesterton. He was reading Mere Christianity during College and working for his brother-in-law, the Christian recording artist, Larry Norman. Larry said that, if he loved Lewis, he’d love Chesterton and even uttered the blasphemy that, if you read Chesterton, you don’t need to read Lewis!


Later, Dale would encounter Lewis’ recommendation of Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man in one of the letters published in A Severe Mercy. He eventually read it on his honeymoon, prompting his wife to comment that Dale has been married to Chesterton as long as he has been married to her!


  • Dale shared his favourite Chesterton aphorisms:


The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.


Truth must necessarily be stranger than fiction; for fiction is the creation of the human mind and therefore congenial to it.


Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.


G.K. Chesterton

  • We heard a short biography of Chesterton. He was not an Inkling and, being twenty-five years older than Jack, never even met him. He was a journalist, a prolific writer and, like Lewis, covered a large number of genres.


  • He was raised in a non-creedal faith, similar to Unitarian. He began exploring Spiritualism, but had a traumatic experience with something very evil and was near to the point of suicide, but saved by clinging to the basic idea that existence is better than non-existence. This, and the criticisms of the Faith, eventually lead him to Christianity. This story is found in his book Orthodoxy.


  • I mentioned that I gave my girlfriend a copy of The Woman Who Was Chestertonand she loved it. Dale spoke about how he fell in love with her and how devoted they were to each other and how she looked after him. He even once sent her a telegram which read:


Am in Market Harborough. Where ought I to be?


Telegram from G.K. Chesterton to his wife, Frances

They couldn’t have children, but they filled their lives with other people’s children instead.


  • Chesterton wrote about a hundred books. Among these, Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man were probably two of his most philosophical and apologetic works. He wrote biographies of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi. He wrote books on Literary Criticism, particular his work on Charles Dickens. Since he travelled so much, he wrote several travel books, as well as books on economics such as The Outline of Sanity. Several novels are in his corpus, such as The Man Who Was Thursday and the Father Brown mysteries.


  • I asked about Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, since it had such an effect on Lewis.


  • Given his massive literary output and his popularity at the time, how is it that Chesterton is unknown to so many? Dale suggested that Wold War II broke the century in half. Also, Chesterton’s style and massive range of writings ironically had something to do with it. He was also kept in the public consciousness because he had regular newspaper columns.


  • Many people struggle with reading Chesterton, so what is the best way to go about it? Dale shamelessly promoted his own books, The Apostle of Common Sense and Common Sense 101. He also recommended the essay collection In Defense of Sanity. The Father Brown stories were my own way into Chesterton. At some point, though, you have to read Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man.


  • Our San Diego C.S. Lewis reading book will be taking a brief break from Lewis and will be talking Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, so I asked for some tips in reading it. I was reassured that we may struggle, but that’s okay. Dale recommended emailing the Chesterton Society to ask for a study guide to help track Chesterton’s arguments.


  • Marie had asked me to find out which biography would give the reader the best sense of the kind of man Chesterton was. Dale recommended his own book, Knight of the Holy Ghost, since that was the central purpose of the book. He really likes the biography Wisdom and Innocence, written by Joseph Pearce, a former guest on this podcast. He said that the authoritative biography is Gilbert Keith Chesterton by Maisie Ward, but he said that Chesterton’s personality come through more clearly in her sequel, Return to Chesterton, as it contains many more anecdotes about the man.


  • A listener, Vincent, asked about the cause for Chesterton’s canonisation. Recently in the News, Bishop Peter Doyle of the Diocese of Northampton, where Chesterton lived and died announced that after a lengthy investigation, that he has decided not to open the cause of canonisation. He offered three reasons. Firstly, he said that there was no local devotion to Chesterton (in Catholic terminology, this is called a “cult”, but don’t worry, it’s not the scary kind). Secondly, he said that he couldn’t “to tease out a pattern of personal spirituality”. Lastly, he said that there was “the issue of anti-Semitism” in Chesterton’s writings. I asked Dale to respond to this and he explained the position of the Chesterton Society.


  • I had heard that Chesterton inspired Michael Collins and Mohandas Gandhi in their respective missions to gain independence for their respective countries of Ireland and India. Dale confirmed this. Collins read The Napoleon of Notting Hilland The Man Who Was Thursday. Gandhi was inspired in his quest by an essay in The Illustrated London News.


  • I asked about the work of the The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Dale spoke about their publication, Gilbert, their work in education, as well as the cause for Chesterton’s canonisation.


  • We’re going to be giving away a copy of Knight of the Holy Ghost, you just have to post a Chesterton quotation on Social Media and tag @pintswithjack.
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Dale talks about his new book, Knight of the Holy Ghost, plus the sainthood cause, plus much, much more!

Dale Ahlquist was a guest on the Coffee and Donuts show with John and Mary on March 16, 2019


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The Chesterton Academy of Dixon, CA. Interviewed by the Bishop, find out more about the new high school in Dixon, CA and how to send your child to school there, or support the school.

Attend the wine tasting coming up on April 27th, the guest speaker at the event is Father Joseph Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press.

Chesterton Academy and the Chesterton Schools Network are projects of the Society of G.K. Chesterton.



Direct download: Chesterton_Academy_Dixon_CA.mp3
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Hands on Apologetics with Gary Machuda, guest Dale Ahlquist on March 12, 2019 talking about G.K. Chesterton as apologist.



Direct download: Dale_3_12_19_GKCApologetics.mp3
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Fr. McTeigue's Show Resources:


Joseph Grabowski is a resident of Philadelphia. He has a B.A. in Philosophy from Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary (2007) and an M.A. in English from Marquette University (2012). For several years, Joe has worked as the Director of Communications for the National Organization for Marriage. More recently, Joe became Executive Director of the International Organization for the Family and the World Congress of Families. He has appeared as an expert on traditional marriage and family in local and nationwide media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Breitbart, and elsewhere. Avocationally, Joe serves as President of the  Southeast Pennsylvania Chesterton Society. As a scholar and activist, Joe's writngs on traditional marriage and family, as well as on Catholic Social Teaching and the writings of Chesterton and Belloc, have appeared in The Stream, Gilbert Magazine, Ethika Politika, and The Distributist Review.

Direct download: Joe_Grabowski_on_Station_of_the_Cross_-_2_26_19_7.24_PM.mp3
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In the wake of the 91st Academy Awards, Taylor wanted to give out his own awards. Shaun McAfee co-hosts and the guys talk movies & the Forte Five segment is back as Taylor counts down his favorite movies of the year. Then it gets really interesting as we make up new categories for Scripture to receive some of the awards.

Our guest this week is acclaimed G.K. Chesterton mind, Dale Ahlquist. We get to know Chesterton, his conversion story and how he has helped others do the same. How is Chesterton the "prince of paradox" and the "apostle of common sense? Will he become a saint? Tune in to find out!
For more on Chesterton, check out Dale’s new book “Knight of the Holy Ghost.”

Direct download: Dale_Ahlquist_on_Forte_Catholic_-_2_27_19_3.03_PM.mp3
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Nancy talks about how she came to adapt the Father Brown stories so younger people could enjoy them, and get a good impression of G.K. Chesterton so that later on, when they need philosophy and theology from the Apostle of Common Sense, they will remember the good mysteries and learn from him.



Direct download: NCB_Father_Brown_Australia.mp3
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Gender Fluidity and Other Heresies is the title of David van Gend's talk given at the Australian Chesterton Society conference on October 20, 2018 at Campion College in Sydney, Australia.

David is a medical GP in Toowoomba, married with three adult sons. For six months, he actually lived on Grove Road in Beaconsfield, five doors down from Top Meadow, the Chesterton's old home. He's pro-life, and pro-family, using his Chestertonian common sense to battle today's heresies.



Direct download: David_Van_Gend_Australia.mp3
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Sophie York gives a talk on the family in Australia today, and Chesterton's thoughts on the subject.

Sophie is a wife and mother of four sons, a lawyer and teacher. She is the national spokeswoman for Marriage Alliance in Australia.



Direct download: Sophie_York_Australia.mp3
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Karl Schmude, President of the Australian Chesterton Society, speaks on Chesterton at the Conference in Sydney October 2018



Direct download: Karl_Schmude_Australia.mp3
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Nancy Brown gives the Australian Chesterton Society an introductory talk on Frances Chesterton, wife of G.K. Chesterton.



Direct download: Nancy_Australia.mp3
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Nancy talks about the November/December 2018 issue of Gilbert! Magazine.



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Nancy reviews the history of the American Chesterton Society from 1996 till now, covering the beginnings of the organization, Gilbert magazine, creating a national conference, the Apostle of Common Sense series on EWTN and more.



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Nancy talks about her attendance at the Board meeting of the Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. The Mission and Vision of the Society, and update on the podcast and the CDL, and a new initiative called the Frances Chesterton Rosary League.



Direct download: 113_SGKC_-_1_3_19_2.10_PM.mp3
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