The Cloister Walk
Bargain Book Copy
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. Writing with lyrical grace, 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.
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