Alice Von Hildebrand: ‘A Happy Failure’, by Claire Dwyer

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By Claire Dwyer, Catholic Exchange, Jan. 21. 2022

Claire is editor of She received her BA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and works as Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation at her parish of St. Thomas the Apostle in Phoenix, Arizona …

After reading Memoirs of a Happy Failure by Alice von Hildebrand several years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing the great Belgian-born philosopher, professor, and author.  I wanted to know more of the story behind some of the themes of the book, which began with her escape to the United States during World War II and focused on the challenging years she spent teaching—and resisting the growing relativism in academia—at Hunter College in New York City.

Von Hildebrand’s recent death had me pulling out the contents of that long email exchange from 2016 in which she generously reflected on these years of her life.

My first question: Why name your book Memoirs of a Happy Failure? ….

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