Letters from the Last Pope

Phoebe Sisk

It’s time to talk honestly about mental health.

Historically, medical treatment for mental illness has often been harmful—though well-intentioned. Unfortunately, such history is largely ignored. This dynamic, combined with the continuing stigma against speaking openly about mental illness, only worsens the problem for those suffering from it.

In Letters from the Last PopePhoebe Sisk shares the heartbreaking story of losing her mother to suicide, along with research on factors contributing to America’s mental health crisis. By introducing readers to post-traumatic growth and epigenetics, Sisk encourages claiming the power of personal transformation to triumph over painful pasts, while also leaning into the comforting wisdom of our ancestors to help us heal.

Her story invites readers of every generation to embrace the wounds that unite and strengthen us, claim ownership of our own painful stories, and reframe the past through the lens of love and grace. For in healing ourselves, we step into the sacred space of healing others.

Phoebe Sisk grew up as the youngest of twelve children to artist parents in the 1970s. At age five, she lost her mother to suicide, causing her family to fall into poverty and hard times.

Understanding that education was key to a different future, Sisk attended Austin College, graduating as Outstanding Senior Woman. Immediately following, she was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps along with her future husband, Kevin. In a quest for stability and financial security, Sisk excelled in a left-brained male environment without compromising creativity or femininity.

Kevin and Phoebe’s thirty-seven-year union has yielded the pinnacle of her life’s work: Elijah and Sarah Katherine. This book is for them.

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