O'connor_calledBased on true events that span six decades, Called (JRS Books, 2021) tells the story of Dr. John Schmidt and nurse Clara Schmidt, Kansas Mennonites who relocated to South America to open a leprosy clinic. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Nazi uprisings, political unrest in Argentina and Paraguay, and the scourge of leprosy left untreated, the Schmidts’ story is that of two people called to a life of service. In their determination to save floundering communities across Paraguay, and to battle the stigma and shame of leprosy, the Schmidts faced opposition from many fronts: a medical community that rejected their unorthodox and revolutionary practices, governments that threatened imprisonment, and neighboring villagers who vowed to kill them. Called was co-written by the Schmidts’ daughter, Marlena Fiol, and her husband, Ed O’Connor, who graduated from Boston College in 1965. The co-authors drew from diary entries, letters, and interviews to tell the Schmidts’ story.

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