I’ve just finished Fr Joe by Tony Hendra. It’s a brilliant book, one I’ve been meaning to read for some time, as I knew Fr Joe Warrilow and know Quarr Abbey so well.

From what I’d heard, I thought Tony Hendra’s book would be a shallow, “Well, I was once a drugged up Hollywood drop out, but I met this sweet old guy once and he sort of you know got me straightened out…”
I was wrong. Hendra is first of all, a brilliant man, and a fine writer. He was smart enough to win a scholarship to Cambridge where mixed with John Cleese and other pythons. He went on to work for National Lampoon and other satirical outlets in USA and the UK.
But as a boy of fourteen he first met Fr Joe Warrilow when he was in a spot of trouble. The kindly and saintly monk remained his friend for the rest of his life, and was a fixed point in a turning and troubled world.
Hendra chronicles his wayward path with constant reference back to Fr Joe, and the story is alternately funny, touching, and illuminating. I think it ranks as one of the best ‘confessions’ in recent times, and it’s great to know that it got such rave reviews and became a best seller.