Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life

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9780879464295: Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life
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Ten years ago, Wilkes published one of the seminal works on the value lessons that monastic life holds for modern, secular life: Beyond the Walls. Over the course of one year, he made monthly trips to the brothers at Mepkin Abbey. During each visit he focused on a particular aspect of monastic life, and each month s visit comprises a chapter of this book.


In this Tenth Anniversary Edition of the classic work, author Paul Wilkes has added his own original, full-color photography and a new Introduction. Each chapter opens with a description of Wilkes' physical visit to the monastery, which he uses to lead into difficult explorations of issues such as faith, prayer, community, and discernment.


Each chapter closes as Wilkes searches for the proper ways to integrate what he learned during his time at the Abbey into his life as a father, husband, teach, writer, and lay minister. He uses monastic wisdom to speak to the journey of faith itself, letting readers discover their own path "beyond the walls."

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Review:

Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life is, like Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk, a memoir of monastophilia. Paul Wilkes, a writer whose articles on spirituality have appeared in The New Yorker and other magazines, has long been interested in the monastic way of life. When he reached middle age, however, he made a serious commitment to spend a portion of each month with the brothers of Mepkin Abbey, a Roman Catholic community in South Carolina. He left his wife and two teenage sons during his visits to the Abbey, in hopes of bringing the peace of cloistered life back to his home and work. "Monasticism is spirituality laid bare," Wilkes writes. "[I]t is the human yearning to open one's self to the divine spirit within"--a yearning that, he points out, insinuates itself into most aspects of everyday life. Wilkes's attempts to practice poverty, chastity, detachment, and other monastic virtues in his secular life are related with humor and thoughtfulness. Beyond the Walls is one to put on your bookshelf right next to Norris's explorations of the same territory. --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Paul Wilke's writing on religious belief and spirituality has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines both in the United States and abroad. He wrote and directed the acclaimed PBS documentary on Thomas Merton, "Merton: A Film Biography," and is the author of many books, most recently The Good Enough Catholic. He lives with his wife and family in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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Paul Wilkes
Published by ACTA Publications (2010)
ISBN 10: 0879464291 ISBN 13: 9780879464295
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