Feb. 2016: Kate Braestrup
The 2015-2016 Zerby Lecture Series in Contemporary Religious Thought presents:
Sacred Responses to Grief
Monday, February 15, 2016
Followed by a dessert Question and Answer session from 7:50-8:30 p.m.
The daughter of a foreign correspondent, Kate Braestrup spent her childhood in Algiers, New York City, Paris, Bangkok,
Washington, DC and Sabillasville, Maryland. She married James Andrew “Drew” Griffith in 1985. Shortly after the birth of their first child in 1986, Griffith joined the Maine State Police, and the family moved to midcoast Maine.
Educated at the Parsons School of Design/The New School and Georgetown University, Braestrup originally thought of herself primarily as a writer. She had published a novel, Onion, in 1990, after all, and occasional essays in national publications. More children arrived, but she expected to be able to continue combining motherhood and the writing of fiction and non-fiction for the foreseeable future.
Trooper Griffith was killed in a car accident while on duty in 1996. Kate Braestrup was left a widowed mother of four children between the ages of 3 and 9. Life would not and could not ever be the same as it had been.
As it happened, Drew Griffith had spent the last year of his life thinking about, researching and finally committing himself to becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, a plan that was naturally discussed extensively with his wife. In this way, unwittingly, he had prepared the way for Kate Braestrup to recognize and develop her own vocation. She entered the Bangor Theological Seminary in 1997, and was ordained in 2004. Since 2001, she has served as chaplain to the Maine Warden Service, joining the wardens as they search the wild lands and fresh waters of Maine for those who have lost their way, and offering comfort to those who wait for the ones they love to be rescued, or for their bodies to be recovered.
She is the author of a novel, Onion, and several bestselling memoirs. She has written for O, the Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, More Magazine and the Huffington Post. She lives in Maine with her husband, Simon van der Ven, and their six children.