Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

154—To Muck We Shall Return—Jane Clark Scharl

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Feb 27, 2023 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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Jane Clark Scharl discusses her play Sonnez les Matines, in which a young Ignatius of Loyola, Jean Calvin, and Francois Rabelais, together in 1520s Paris, find themselves implicated in a murder.

Publisher’s description (from Wiseblood Books):

One Mardi Gras night in 1520s Paris, college students Jean Calvin (founder of Calvinism and autocratic ruler of Geneva), Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Counter-Reformation Catholic religious order, the Jesuits), and their bawdy friend Francois Rabelais (the humanist novelist) find themselves mixed up in a gruesome murder—and any one of them might be guilty. The ensuing investigation sparks a battle of wits and weapons, plunging them into questions of justice and mercy, grace and sin, innocence, guilt, love, and contempt. Before the bells ring in the start of Lent, they must confront the darkest parts of their souls and find the courage to pursue truth in a world that seems intent on obscuring it.

Sonnez Les Matines imagines what might have happened if these three brilliant, volatile men had to put their convictions to the test while navigating a brutal crime and their own involvement in it. When left to his own devices, each character speaks in his own verse form, giving the play the feeling of a fierce sparring match between masters. Calvin’s blank verse toys with despair as he wrestles with doubts about the goodness of God and the possibility of freedom; Ignatius commands situations in clipped iambic tetrameter, revealing his background as a disciplined soldier, while his passion for order shows through in frequent alliteration; and Rabelais dances around with iambic rhyming couplets, cracking profane, bawdy jokes that unexpectedly become profound meditations on the mysteries of God, creation, and grace.


Tickets for March 8th performance of the play in NYC

Buy the text of the play

“The Dream of the Rood: A New Translation” by Tessa Carman and J.C. Scharl

Jane’s website

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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