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The Cloister Walk (1996)

di Kathleen Norris

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2,399304,545 (4.06)81
Why would a married woman with a thoroughly Protestant background and often more doubt than faith be drawn to the ancient practice of monasticism, to a community of celibate men whose days are centered around a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture? This is the question that Kathleen Norris herself asks as, somewhat to her own surprise, she found herself on two extended residencies at a Benedictine monastery. Yet upon leaving the monastery, she began to feel herself transformed, and the daily events of her life on the Great Plains - from her morning walk to her going to sleep at night - gradually took on new meaning. She found that in the monastery, time slowed down, offering a new perspective on community, family, and even small-town life. By coming to understand the Benedictine practice of celibacy, she felt her own marriage enriched; through the communal reading aloud of the psalms every day, her notion of the ancient oral tradition of poetry came to life; and even the mundane task of laundry took on new meaning through the lens of Benedictine ritual. Kathleen Norris here takes us through a liturgical year, as she experienced it both within the monastery and outside it. She shows us, from the rare perspective of someone who is both insider and outsider, how immersion in the cloistered world -- its liturgy, its rituals, its sense of community -- can impart meaning to everyday events and deepen our secular lives, no matter what our faith may be.… (altro)

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The Boston Globe - "This is a strange and beautiful book. Part memoir, part meditation, it is a remarkable piece of writing . . . If read with huility and attention, Kathleen Norris's book becomes lectio divina, or holy reading."
  StFrancisofAssisi | Nov 11, 2020 |
NYT Bestseller; A person of Modern Sensibility” who encounters reflection
  PAFM | Oct 19, 2019 |
A reverent study of the monastic world assesses the meaning of the cloistered life in modern times, journeying through a liturgical year to capture the relevance and spiritual significance of the religious life.
  StFrancisofAssisi | Jul 11, 2019 |
Kathleen Norris is a poet who, with her husband, move from Hawaii to rural South Dakota to take over her family farm. In the process of rooting herself in this new place, she discovers a local Benedictine monastery, and she's attracted to the rhythms and depth of life she sees there. It's a gorgeous book about being pilgrims and learning from where you are. Norris is one of a few authors who I'll read everything she produces. Some of her work is less spiritually focused, but none is better. ( )
  patl | Feb 18, 2019 |
Strange and beautiful book, memoir and meditation
  St-Johns-Episcopal | Sep 8, 2018 |
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For the children:
CHRISTINA, JACQUELINE,
LILLIAN, A. J., AND MIKEY
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Why would a married woman with a thoroughly Protestant background and often more doubt than faith be drawn to the ancient practice of monasticism, to a community of celibate men whose days are centered around a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture? This is the question that Kathleen Norris herself asks as, somewhat to her own surprise, she found herself on two extended residencies at a Benedictine monastery. Yet upon leaving the monastery, she began to feel herself transformed, and the daily events of her life on the Great Plains - from her morning walk to her going to sleep at night - gradually took on new meaning. She found that in the monastery, time slowed down, offering a new perspective on community, family, and even small-town life. By coming to understand the Benedictine practice of celibacy, she felt her own marriage enriched; through the communal reading aloud of the psalms every day, her notion of the ancient oral tradition of poetry came to life; and even the mundane task of laundry took on new meaning through the lens of Benedictine ritual. Kathleen Norris here takes us through a liturgical year, as she experienced it both within the monastery and outside it. She shows us, from the rare perspective of someone who is both insider and outsider, how immersion in the cloistered world -- its liturgy, its rituals, its sense of community -- can impart meaning to everyday events and deepen our secular lives, no matter what our faith may be.

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