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.
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
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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