The Finest Traditions of My Calling, by Abraham M. Nussbaum

April 14, 2016

Nussbaum, a psychiatrist who labels himself a “bad Catholic,” delves with religious fervor into the mystery of his calling to serve people who suffer. Guided by mentors like Basil of Caesarea, Hilde­gard of Bingen, and Stanley Hauerwas, he envisions medical care as a precious craft honed by the development of virtue. Readers of various vocations are likely to find resonances in the book’s attempt to balance professionalism with human relationship; its struggle with social injustice; and its creative exploration of metaphors for the doctor, including teacher, gardener, servant, and witness. “We live in bodies that grow, love, weaken, and die.” In the face of this reality, we are called to care for one another with humility, courage, and compassion.