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Father Jón Sveinsson, SJ
(1857-1944)
Nonni

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Scott 528
ICELAND, 1980, Scott 528

Jón Stefán Sveinsson was born at Modruvellir, Iceland, just a few degrees south of the polar circle, close to the Eyjafjord. He and his brother were raised there and in Akureyri. He was popularly known as Nonni, and was so famous as a writer of children's stories that his childhood home has been turned into a museum, Nonni House. At the age of twelve he moved to Denmark and France. He received a scholarship to study in France from a French aristocrat, a lover of Iceland. The momentous decision to study in France was made on July 31, 1870, the feast of St. Ignatius. But his journey was delayed because of the French-German War in 1870. He waited in the residence of the Catholic Bishop of Copenhagen, and became a Catholic at the age of thirteen. He attended the Jesuit School in Amiens and, at the age of 21 he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1890 and taught French, Norse, sport, and drawing at the Andreas College in Denmark. It was serious gout that forced him to give up teaching and turn to writing at the age of 55. He had a wonderful gift for story-telling, and a longing to see the wide world. His first book, Islandblomster [Iceland Flowers], published in 1906, was a cultural and literature study of Iceland and its sagas that Sveinsson regarded as "flowers." His first "Nonni" book was Nonni. Erlebnisse eines jungen Isländers, von ihm selbst erzählt [Nonni: Experiences of a Young Icelander, Told by Himself] published in German in 1913. His portrait became known throughout the world. Crystal-clear, light blue eyes shone from a bright, contented face, framed by white hair with a white pointed beard. He answered personal enquiries with great simplicity. His twelfth and last book, Nonni's Voyage Around the Globe, appeared posthumously in 1949. More - More

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