Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life  -     By: Dennis Patrick Slattery
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Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life

John Wiley & Sons / 2004 / Hardcover

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Product Description

In this powerful book, travel along with Dennis Patrick Slattery as he sets off on a three-month pilgrimage during which he struggles with his identity, his role as a father and husband, teacher and believer, as well as the life and death of his father.

Throughout his stays at twelve monasteries and retreat centers, Slattery seeks the refuge of the monastic life where silence and solitude open an extraordinary window on the human soul. Against the backdrop of Slattery's personal story, this book offers vivid descriptions of monastic life and practice at Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and Budhist monasteries and retreat centers. Hardcover, 152 pages. From Jossey-Bass.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: John Wiley & Sons
Publication Date: 2004
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0787971049
ISBN-13: 9780787971045
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 04/30/15.

Library Journal

Slattery (mythological studies, Pacifica Graduate Inst.) has written an account of a three-month, multistage sojourn he made at 12 different religious retreat centers or monasteries, most of them Catholic, across California, Oregon, and Arizona. Through these many brief stays, Slattery writes a number of poems and comes to terms with the death of his father. While the brevity of his exposure to each of these places prevents much depth of understanding of their distinctive qualities, many readers will be moved by Slattery's journey and its spiritual results. For most collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Publisher's Weekly

In 1998, Slattery, a faculty member of Pacifica Graduate Institute, turned a professional sabbatical into a personal pilgrimage, traveling to 11 monasteries and retreat houses throughout the western United States. He dedicates one chapter to each of his destinations, which are diverse in tradition and style and include a Russian Orthodox monastery, an urban prayer center run by Benedictine sisters and a Zen center. Slattery describes the flavor of each retreat center, but spends the bulk of each chapter recounting the spiritual musings prompted by each place he visited. At times, his account is pointed and compelling, as when he shares his unfolding comprehension that his own life is re-manifesting the patterns, if not the specifics, of his alcoholic father's excessive behavior, or when he observes this personal transformation after weeks of pilgrimage: "I no longer believed in God.... Instead, I felt his presence in every corner of my life." At other times, however, his ruminations tend toward the generalized and hypothetical. Moreover, Slattery's style undermines his effectiveness: he has a fondness for stretching metaphors paper-thin, and his prose is frequently self-conscious, even affected, as when he describes monks arriving in chapel as "silent, sacred specters in white robes that whooshed." Slattery's sensitivity to spiritual matters is clear, but ultimately the book leaves the reader wanting a more satisfying, focused account of what was obviously a powerful pilgrimage journey. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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