The Calling: A Year in the Life of an Order of Nuns
ISBN 10: 1423352890 / 1-4233-5289-0
ISBN 13: 9781423352891
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: 2008
There is something vital and totally relevant about the religious life as practiced by nuns today. There is a reason why we are fascinated by these women who maintain a mysterious aura even when they are no longer cloaked in the garb of old. What draws women to this sacrificial life? What is the gratification that comes from taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience? How can a woman pursue full status in an environment that many deem misogynistic? What are the secret struggles and fears that wage battle behind the serene exterior? people are endlessly fascinated by the mystery of nuns as they walk among us in the world. In The Calling, Catherine Whitney follows the daily routine of a Dominican community for a year. She reveals a rare inside view of these lives of devotion, while answering the questions that most fascinate the lay public. The Calling is Whitney's search for answers from a community that has existed for centuries but is still evolving. The story contains elements of romance, personal heroism, suffering, existential anxiety, and boundless joy. It is a human tale cloaked in a superhuman mantle.
Like many Catholic baby boomers, Catherine Whitney left the Church in her late teens, turned off by its dogma and apparent oppression of women. And like many wayward Catholics, she returned to the Church at midlife, yearning for a deeper spiritual understanding and meaning.
It was her father's funeral that brought Whitney back to her Seattle roots as an adult journalist, and back to the doors of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of the Holy Cross--the same order of nuns that ran her childhood school. As a Catholic rebel, Whitney had dismissed her childhood teachers as archaic and out of touch with reality. But now as a seeker and wiser soul, Whitney was "completely disarmed by the women I found there.... They were smart, engaged, spiritually grounded, visionary women, remarkably at ease with uncertainty and change." Through interviews with the nuns and yearlong observations, Whitney explains how women hear this unique calling, and why they answer it. She also examines why some women break their vows and leave, becoming "Rebel Brides." Nonetheless, Whitney's writing is at its best when she tenderly explores her own heartfelt reckoning with God and Catholicism. --Gail Hudson
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