Waiting for the Apocalypse

Waiting for the Apocalypse

A Memoir of Faith and Family

By Veronica Chater

W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393066036, 336pp.

Publication Date: February 2009


It is 1972, and Veronica Chater's parents believe that Vatican II's liberalization has corrupted the Catholic Church, inviting the Holy Chastisement an apocalypse prophesied by three shepherds in Fatima, Portugal. To spare his family this horror, Veronica's father quits the highway patrol, sells everything, and moves the family of eight from California to an isolated village near Fatima.

But Portugal is no Catholic utopia, and the family schleps home penniless to join the nascent Catholic counterrevolution: attending the Latin Mass in truck garages and abandoned buildings, serving meals to religious soldiers, breeding a new member of the faithful every year. As Veronica comes of age on the fringes of the American Dream, she rebels against a fanaticism that forbids anything modern clothes, movies, or music. This is the story, both sad and funny, of a family torn apart by religion and brought back together in spite of the injuries it inflicted on itself.

About the Author
Veronica Chater has written for national women's magazines and This American Life. Her stories have also appeared in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Guardian (London), and various anthologies. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.