Sacred Trespasses

Sacred Trespasses, published to coincide with Loyola New Orleans’s Year of the Writer, is a collection of essays that explores–in many different ways, in various voices, and through diverse paths–what it is to be a reader, a seeker. In Sacred Trespasses, 21 members of Loyola’s faculty and staff each reflect on the five key books that have influenced their lives. The contributors range from departments across the university, including English, Biology, Women’s Studies, the Jesuit Center, Languages and Culture, History, and Business. Like the contributors, the selections are varied. The writers examine, among others, the work of Homer and Adam Smith, Virginia Woolf and Ignatius of Loyola, W.E.B. Du Bois, Jane Austen, Karl Marx, and Bob Dylan. Through these essays, Sacred Trespasses seeks to remind readers of the importance of what Walker Percy, in his 1962 National Book Award-winning novel, The Moviegoer, termed “the search”: “The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life… To become aware of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”

The title of the anthology comes from Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet:

“I read the way one might stroll. And it is in the classics…that I feel myself to be a sacred trespasser…”

Spanning the spectrum from funny to moving, these essays prove that a life tempered by reading is full, surprising, and challenging. They are a call to reflection and a celebration of the reading life. Like the best essays, the contributions in Sacred Trespasses compel the reader to become part of the process, and to consider her own journey through literature.

The book is available at the Loyola Book Store in paperback for $12.00.  Click here to see the Table of Contents.


Kevin Rabalais (A&S '98), co-editor of Novel Voices and author of The Landscape of Desire, is on the advisory board of the Walker Percy Center for Writing and Publishing and has taught in university programs in America, Australia and France.

Jennifer Levasseur (A&S '98) is a freelance writer and editor.

Margot Bienvenu, the designer of Sacred Trespasses, is a recent graduate of Loyola's Graphic Design program.