Born To Be Different By Camille Lewis Essay


In the early days in northern Africa, the Church was a stronghold of Christianity for some centuries, until the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. Some of the major heresies of the early Church were started and fought out in North Africa, such as the Arian and Donatist heresies. Some of the major Church Fathers were from North Africa - St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Cyrpian, St. Athanasius, and St. Cyril of Alexandria. Monasticism is believed to have started in Egypt, which is in northern Africa. North Africa made major contributions to the Church in the early days; Christianity came to the other parts of Africa when Europeans began colonizing the continent.

Dr. Camille Lewis Brown put this book to together in the beginning as part of her course at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia to teach seminarians and others about African or black Catholics. Some of the early African saints, like St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica, may or may not have been black-skinned. Many of the Christians from northern Africa, like St. Cyprian and St. Athanasius, were of Roman heritage - which means most likely they were white-skinned. Dr. Brown mentions some of these saints but also notes that they might have been white-skinned Africans.

Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, provides the foreword, and Dr. Brown provides the introduction which sets the stage and reasoning as to why she set about researching black saints and holy people. Most of the book deals with people who have been declared by the Church to be saints, blessed, or venerable; the remainder focuses on people whom Dr. Brown and others consider candidates for sainthood.

Some of the saints and other personages she presents are St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Benedict the Moor, Pope St. Gelasius I, St. Charles Lwanga and his Companions, St. Antony, St. Martin de Porres, St. Moses the Black, Bl. Marie Clementine Anuarite Negapeta, Blesseds Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa, and others. Those she includes in the second part (whom she considers worthy of canonization) are Mother Mathilda Beasley, Dr. Lena Edwards, Mother Emma Lewis, Fr. Augustus Tolton, and others. Three appendices include a calendar of selected saints, a litany of African saints, and a map of modern-day Africa. Brown’s bibliography includes not only books but also websites and other sources, notes, and an index.

Each of the forty entries includes

  • the name or names of the holy person(s), dates, and feast day on a sidebar
  • a short biography of the saint(s) (they vary in length
  • quotes from the saint(s) when available
  • a quote from scripture that connects with the saint
  • a prayer to the saint(s)
She concludes the entry with a short reflection for the reader to ponder - this book is meant not only for informational purposes but also to provide material to meditate or pray with the holy person(s). She has done a great job in all these areas. The cover of the book with its African motif to is quite colorful - oranges, tans, blacks and browns. The entries are very readable for both scholars and general readers. This book is highly recommended to those who may want to use this book as an introduction to the study of black or African saints and holy people. It is also recommended to those interested more generally in saints and holy people.

Dr. Camille Lewis Brown is the education coordinator of the diocese of Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a B.A. in history from Franklin and Marshall College, an M.A. in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Boston College. She founded the Bakhita Fund, a nonprofit organization designed to provide educational assistance to children around the world. She is the author of Recipe for Change: Consolidation and Restructuring (2005).

Men and Women

In Camille Lewis essay "Born to be Different?" she writes about how at first she believes her boys and girl are born psychologically the same. As her children become older she notices different characteristics that make her believe they are born psychologically different. Lewis' point is clear; she believes that men and women are born psychologically different, as oppose to the environment playing a role as an influence. In Lewis' essay she describes three main ideas about how men and women have different brain development, ways of thinking, and resolving problems.

The first important point that Lewis states is the difference in brain development. According to Lewis' essay, women have around 15 percent more "gray matter" than men. Lewis says, "high concentration of gray matter helps explain women's ability to look at many sides of an argument at once, and to do several tasks simultaneously" (Lewis 299). As oppose to women, men have a larger portion of "white mater." Lewis says, "It allows men to concentrate very narrowly on a specific task, without being distracted by thoughts that might conflict with the job at hand" (Lewis 299).

Lewis also believes that both men and women a have a different way of thinking. She says that women are empathizers. Lewis explains that empathizers usually talks about a place she has been to with emotion content; for example empathizers won't remember the address of a

particular place, but instead they remember as "where we had our anniversary." In the other hand, Lewis says males are systemizers. "A systemizer is less interested in how people feel than in how things work" (Lewis 300). When systemizers talks about a place they've been to, they typically give street address.

Lewis' essay says that men and women different ways of resolving problems. She says the anatomy of a woman's brain, as well as well as her accompanying empathetic mindset, makes her want to consider all the sides of a question and to explore various possible solutions. As oppose to women, Lewis mentions that men's mental mind are set to identify the main problems, resolve them, and to get it out of their way. She says that when a man listens to his female partner problem, his first impulse is to listen briefly and then tell her what to do about it.

Camille Lewis makes important points in her essay, "Born to be different?" She believes men and women are born psychologically different. "Experts have discovered that there are actually differences in the way women's and men's brains are structured and in the way they react to events and stimuli" (10 Big Differences). Lewis makes three important points brain development, ways of thinking, and resolving problems help support her idea.

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