The Mentoris Project

The Mentoris Project is a series of novels and biographies about the lives of great Italians and Italian-Americans. It is our intention to inspire the reader in a very tangible way: To finish the book saying, “I can do something great, too.” To put it another way, these books seek to be mentors for our readers.

What is a mentor?

We tend to think of mentor as a noun (a mentor) or a verb (to mentor), but there is a very human dimension embedded in the term. A person named Mentor appears in Homer’s Odyssey, as the old friend entrusted to care for Odysseus’s household and son Telemachus during the Trojan War. When years pass and Telemachus sets out to search for his missing father, the goddess Athena assumes the form of Mentor to accompany him. The human being welcomes a human form for counsel. From its very origins, becoming a mentor is a transcendent act; it carries with it something of the holy.

Funded by The Barbera Foundation, The Mentoris Project (“mentoris” is Latin for mentor) sets out on an Athena-like mission: We hope the books that form this series will be an inspiration to all those who are seekers, to those of the twenty-first century who are on their own odyssey, trying to find enduring principles that will guide them to a spiritual home. The stories that comprise the series are all deeply human. These books dramatize the lives of great Italians and Italian-Americans, whose stories bridge the ancient and the modern, taking many forms, just as Athena did, but always holding up a light for those living today.

We also hope to capture what is deeply human about the lives depicted in this series. The power of storytelling has always been to envelop the reader in a vivid and continuous dream, and to forge a link with the subject. Our goal is for that link to remain at the reader’s side, guiding the reader home with a new inspiration.


Again, we ask: What is a mentor?

A guide, a moral compass, an inspiration. A friend who stands by your side and points you toward true North. These books chronicle the lives of people who contain the best that human beings can achieve. We hope they inspire you to transcend your daily life with something that can only be called holy.