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In the tradition of Thomas Merton, Kathleen Norris gives us an intimate look at how religious life fills a gap in the soul. Her poetic sensibilities internalize the monastery as a symbol of spirituality, with its sanctity and humor, questioning and uncertainty, rhythm and vigor. Beyond moral precepts and Bible stories, Cloister Walk is a very personal account of religion lived fully. It depicts a depth and beauty of spirituality in monastic life that has survived the vicissitudes of Roman Catholic politics and pomp.
The allure of the monastic life baffles most lay people, but in her second book Norris (Dakota) goes far in explaining it. The author, raised Protestant, has been a Benedictine oblate, or lay associate, for 10 years, and has lived at a Benedictine monastery in Minnesota for two. Here, she compresses these years of experience into the diary of one liturgical year, offering observations on subjects ranging from celibacy to dealing with emotions to Christmas music. Like the liturgy she loves, this meandering, often repetitive book is perhaps best approached through the lectio divina practiced by the Benedictines, in which one tries to "surrender to whatever word or phrase captures the attention." There is a certain nervous facility to some of Norris's jabs at academics, and she is sometimes sanctimonious. But there is no doubting her conviction, exemplified in her defense of the much-maligned Catholic "virgin martyrs," whose relevance and heroism she wants to redeem for feminists. What emerges, finally, is an affecting portrait?one of the most vibrant since Merton's?of the misunderstood, often invisible world of monastics, as seen by a restless, generous intelligence.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book received excellent reviews; I had to satisfy my curiosity and read it. I slowly read, hoping to discover some great truths I may have missed these past 6 decades. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2004 by V. L. Wilson
I was expecting this to be a book about the monastic experience, but instead, it is a book mostly about Kathleen Norris and her social theories. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2004
The Cloister Walk
by Kathleen Norris
Calling to mind the writings of Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen, Kathleen Norris writes a deeply personal journal of spiritual... Read more
Although Ms. Norris book describes much of the beauty of the Catholic faith, it ultimately is spoiled by conceit and self-promotion. Read morePublished on Oct. 21 2002 by Deedee
It would be difficult for me to say a harsh thing about this book or the companion audio tapes read by Debra Winger. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2002 by Dave Tropeano
Norris' book was so highly praised that some disappointment was inevitable. There are some good insights, but they're mixed in with pompous, snobblish, quirky, cranky, and... Read morePublished on Dec 5 2001 by Kathleen Griffin
This book is a singular resource for writers and, I presume, other artists and those "non-artists" who perceive their work as a vocation. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2001 by Barbara R. Saunders
Kathleen Norris takes her readers on a splendid journey into the monastic life and hence into the self. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2001 by R. OConnor