Both My Houses: From Politics to Priesthood


235 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 1-55013-002-1





Rosalie I. Tennison is Editor of Communicator Magazine.


In an often repeated quotation, Sean O’Sullivan calls himself “the fighter, not the boxer.” Both My Houses, subtitled “From Politics to Priesthood,” is the devout O’Sullivan’s story of his years as a fighting Tory, his inner conflict resulting in his decision to enter the priesthood, and his battle with leukemia.

Sean O’Sullivan met John Diefenbaker when he was 11 years old, and so began an association that continued to “the Chief’s” death in 1979. His hero worship was the cause of many rifts in the Conservative party and helped fuel the fires of disharmony that plagued the Tories for 20 years.

The lure of power can be very seductive but O’Sullivan was not content; after much prayer, he resigned his seat in the House of Commons and began studying for the priesthood. As a newly ordained priest, he was placed in charge of recruitment, which led to the award-winning and controversial “Dare to be a priest like me” billboard campaign in Toronto. When O’Sullivan reached what he saw as the height of his service to God, he was struck with leukemia.

This is a deeply personal book that spares no one, not even the author. The accounts of Tory infighting offer an inside look at the halls of power that would be interesting to avid Commons-watchers and to nonpolitically minded readers alike. The most moving portion of the book is the last few chapters in which O’Sullivan describes his discovery of his desire to serve and his confusion at God’s desire for him to suffer. His search for renewed trust and understanding is a powerful testimonial. As a political story, Both My Houses is insightful; as a Christian book, it is powerful. But it is as a human story that it touches the heart.


O'Sullivan, Sean, with Rod McQueen, “Both My Houses: From Politics to Priesthood,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,