Remembering the World’s Greatest

Doris Day, Herman Wouk, Jean Vanier—lived long lives and died this past month. We will remember the names, faces and reputations that conjure up images of great contributions to the world.

Doris Day made people laugh through her own infectious laugh. Her plethora of films support her desire to entertain. Remember her bungling self in “Roman Holiday”? She and Rock Hudson were foils for one another. She is sometimes called “America’s Sweetheart” or “the girl next door,” but for sure she portrayed laughter and innocence. Some of her romantic songs, such as “Que Sera Sera” or “Sentimental Journey,” will be long remembered and sung.

Herman Wouk, writer extraordinaire, lived to be 103 and wrote historical fiction that revealed incredible research in order to capture key historical moments related to World War II. Readers consider his blending of fictional characters into real settings of the war especially effective in creating a reality not accomplished by many other writers. Among his most memorable works are The Caine Mutiny, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

And Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche communities, leaves a legacy of love. His international communities for the intellectually disabled makes him a savior of the people on the margins. Philosopher, humanist and writer, this man lived to teach the world how to become more fully human. Two of his books, Becoming Human and Life’s Great Questions, attest to his search in discovering the gift of marginalized people.

Mary Jane Berger, OSB