Monday, September 16, 2013
A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith
By Judith Valente
Published by Sorin Books/Ave Maria Press, September 9th, 2013
Judith Valente first visited the Mount St Scholastica monastery in Atchison, Kansas as a tutor who was supposed to be teaching a retreat to help other busy professionals to live a more contemplative life. It did not work out quite as she intended; she found that in her increasingly frantic life, she was actually missing the point of a spiritual life and that she too needed to be entering into periods of stillness with God.
Captivated by this revelatory experience and what she had learned from her interactions with the Sisters during her visit, she found herself drawn back at regular intervals to recharge her spiritual batteries and to learn more from and about the Sisters, sharing in their daily life, their sorrows, their joys, feasts and fasts. She discovers how they view the whole gamut of life, caring for the infirm, death and dying, and in so doing, learns to overcome her own deep-rooted fears of growing older.
Judith Valente has produced a great book, thoughtful, thought-provoking and showing how desperately important the life of those who devote themselves to God is to the rest of the world, whether the world perceives it that way or not. This will have a well-deserved place on my shelf right next to Kathleen Norris' "The Cloister Walk".
My only caveat is that I did find myself wondering just how her stepchildren may feel about featuring so prominently in the book; their relationship with Valente is not always peaceful and harmonious and she does comment quite frankly on how they made her feel on occasions......