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The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully [Paperback]

Joan, Osb Chittister
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2010
Not only accepting but also celebrating getting old, this inspirational and illuminating book looks at the many facets of the aging process, from purposes and challenges to struggles and surprises. Central throughout is a call to cherish the blessing of aging as a natural part of life that is active, productive, and deeply rewarding. Perhaps the most important dimension revealed lies in the awareness that there is a purpose to aging and intention built into every stage of life. Chittister reflects on many key issues, including the temptation towards isolation, the need to stay involved, the importance of health and well-being, what happens when old relationships end or shift, the fear of tomorrow, and the mystery of forever. Readers are encouraged to surmount their fears of getting older and find beauty in aging well.

Frequently Bought Together

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully + The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer + The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Well-known in Catholic circles for her willingness to take on anybody-even the pope-in defense of women's rights, Chittister, now in her 70s, examines how it feels "to be facing that time of life for which there is no career plan." Clearly, getting older has not diminished the controversial nun, activist, lecturer and author of nearly 40 books on feminism, nonviolence and Benedictine wisdom. This collection of inspirational reflections, "not meant to be read in one sitting, or even in order, but one topic at a time," abounds in gentle insights and arresting aphorisms: "'Act your age' can be useful advice when you're seventeen; it's a mistake when you're seventy-seven." Beginning each short chapter with a trenchant quotation ("'It takes a long time,' Pablo Picasso wrote, 'to become young'"), she ponders topics such as fear, mystery, forgiveness and legacy. Old age is rich for those who choose to thrive, not wither: "We can recreate ourselves in order to be creative in the world in a different way than the boundaries of our previous life allowed."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Chittister beautifully downplays regrets and accents the rewards of a mature life."  —Library Journal, starred review

"This collection of inspirational reflections . . . abounds in gentle insights and arresting aphorisms."  —Publishers Weekly

“We can all draw strength from Chittister’s essays on regret, nostalgia, and forgiveness. She reminds readers of all generations that aging doesn’t have to be a depressing series of losses.” —School Library Journal

"Perhaps you have to be in the second half of life to know how truthfully and helpfully Joan Chittister speaks. We live in a first-half-of-life culture, which makes this wisdom all the more necessary—and all the more wonderful."  —Richard Rohr, author, The Naked Now

"A prophetic voice that is desperately needed in our troubled time."  —Karen Armstrong, author, The Great Transformation

"It's the best book I have read on the subject of aging, a dazzling work radiant with gems of insight on every page. It will be my spiritual reading in the days ahead."  —Andrew Greeley, author, The Great Mysteries

"Brims with insight, pluck, verve and courage. . . . It shows us both the joys and the challenges of growing older, and encourages us to discover the deep spiritual meaning that can come with older age."  —Helen Prejean, author, Dead Man Walking

"An amazing compendium of wisdom not only for people facing aging or providing support, but for everyone who wants to live a spiritually centered and balanced life."  —Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun Magazine

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspirational July 24 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A friend recommended this book to me as I have now reached "my youth of old age (64)". It is more philiposhical than practical, but definitely offers some insights and understandings of the aging process. What it does, is give more hope for the future to an aging population. There is life after 60!!! The author does include lots of aging stats, and offsets the current "burdens" of getting older with the "blessings" of maturing, inspirational suggestions, ideas of future possibilities. Although the book does look at individual spirituality, it does not focus entirely on our Christian God, but does impress the importance of believing in a greater power, whomever or whatever that might be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reflections on maturing in this wonderful world Jan. 20 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
A great message to hear in your retirement or before, Joan Chittister beautifully reflects on the "Harvest Years" giving them value. Inspiring, encouraging and thoughtful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem July 2 2011
By Prairie Gal TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book reflects the quality I have come to expect from any of Joan Chittister's work. Thoughtful, gentle, sensible, easy to understand, deeply spiritual.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and insightful book Oct. 19 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As we are an aging society, this is a must read for all dealing with complexities of our senior citizens.
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