Two recent alumni, retired prof release new books this fall

Tom Canuel, Culture Editor

Saint Anselm College professors release many papers and books, but so have the alumni and retired professors. This fall, two alumni members, Michael O’Loughlin and Jeffrey Aubuchon, and retired professor Thomas Lee wrote and are now watching the publications of their new books. 

Jeffrey Aubuchon is an alumni member of the college. Aubuchon attended Oakmont Regional High School, Saint Anselm College for his undergrad, and Harvard University. Aubuchon is now a writer and author. Aubuchon graduated in 2002.

Aubuchon has released a new book entitled, Put Your Toe in the Pacific: A Friend’s Wisdom. The book features the late Fr. Michael H. Custer, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Anselm College who passed away in 2006. The book details Aubuchon’s interactions with Custer, including letters and email communications right before Custer’s passing. Custer taught chemistry at the college and passed away at 95 years old. According to Aubuchon, “Put Your Toe in the Pacific collects Father Michael’s humorous wisdom as well as memories from our unlikely seven-year friendship at the end of his life.” 

Thomas Lee, a retired professor of biology at Saint Anselm College, has written a new novel entitled The Warning: A Novel for the Nuclear Age. According to Lee, this novel was the result of a “growing interest in pacifism and in nonviolence as a moral and effective way to solve disputes, rather than military action.” Although the novel is a work of fiction, the story is Lee’s attempt “to apply the moral principles of nonviolence to the current situation in this country and elsewhere regarding nuclear weapons.”

The story takes place in New Hampshire. A Benedictine monk and two Sisters of Mercy act out of civil disobedience against nuclear weapons, particularly a Trident missile submarine. According to Lee, in the story, “they pay the price for their opposition.”

Lee’s new book is inspired by the Ploughshares Movement, a movement created during the 1980s to peacefully resolve conflicts. A similar group called the Trident Ploughshares sought to disarm the British Trident Nuclear system.

Michael O’Loughlin is also an alumnus of Saint Anselm College who graduated in 2007. O’Loughlin was a theology major and was a former editor for the Saint Anselm Crier. In 2016, O’Loughlin began to work for America magazine, a Jesuit Catholic news source for the country. O’Loughlin has had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis multiple times and has worked with many Catholics globally.

O’Loughlin is releasing a new book set to be published at the end of November entitled Hidden Mercy: AIDS, Catholics, and Untold Stories of Compassion in the Face of Fear. O’Loughlin stated, “Hidden Mercy chronicles the priests, sisters and lay Catholics who responded with love and compassion during the height of the HIV and AIDS crisis in the United States, often at great personal risk to their vocations and reputations because of the shame and stigma associated with HIV. The book is also a reflection on how LGBT people of faith have fought to make the church more welcoming and exploresmy own journey as a gay Catholic.” 

O’Loughlin hopes that readers “are inspired by the stories of individuals stepping up to do the right thing when it would have been far easier to do nothing and see how Catholicism can inspire such radical acts of love. I also hope readers consider how the church might be more welcoming to LGBT people and reflect on how grappling with history can help make this a reality.”

O’Loughlin wants the Saint Anselm community to know that, “My experiences at Saint A’s taught me the importance of living out the Gospel commandment of loving your neighbor and the stories in Hidden Mercy are radical examples of otherwise ordinary people doing just that. I also learned the importance of challenging institutions to live up to their best ideals, and I hope readers will consider how we all might strive to create communities in which all people feel fully welcome.”

Hidden Mercy has been recognized by Fr. James Martin, S.J., a New York Times bestselling author of the book Building a Bridge. Martin stated that O’Loughlin’s book is, “a superbly researched, beautifully written and vividly presented portrait of an overlooked time in modern history. An important book about a key part of Catholic and American history that had to be written.”

Anyone who is interested in buying the books can buy them off of the Internet. Put Your Toe in the Pacific  is available on for $6. Aubuchon has stated that all profits will be donated to the Fr. Michael Custer Scholarship Fund at Saint Anselm College “to help future chemistry students benefit from Fr. Michael’s legacy.” The Warning: A Novel for the Nuclear Age is available as a paperback on and as a Kindle book. A preview of the first couple of chapters is available on Amazon as well. Finally, Hidden Mercy is available for pre-order wherever books are sold for November 30. For more information on Hidden Mercy, head to


Correction: An earlier version of this story claimed Michael O’Loughlin graduated in 2006, he graduated in 2007; in addition, O’Loughlin did not interview Pope Francis but has met him and did not start working for America magazine until 2016.