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A Different Kind of Cell: The Story of a Murderer Who Became a Monk Paperback – September 2, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (September 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802866514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802866516
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Clayton Fountain was regarded as a ruthless killer beyond anyone's power to save. Yet in the stillness of his solitary confinement — entombed alive in a cell of concrete and steel — God was at work redeeming and remaking Clayton Fountain. I am grateful to Father Paul for ministering so compassionately to a man precious only to God — and for sharing his remarkable story with the world.
— Martin Sheen

"Bernard of Clairvaux in the twelfth century once liberated a murderer being led to execution. 'I will kill him myself,' Bernard promised; he took the man to Clairvaux and made him a monk. Bernard meant that through the process of monastic conversion the man's false self, which had expressed itself in violence, would die and his true self emerge and thrive in peace. W. Paul Jones tells a twentieth-century version of that story. Through Jones's sensitive, gripping prose the reader follows the conversion of Clayton A. Fountain from chaos to clarity."
— Fr. Mark Scott
Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky

"No one is beyond the mercy of God. No one. The message of this book is that to kill anyone on the assumption that their redemption is impossible is to take the place of God."
— Sr. Helen Prejean (from foreword)

About the Author

W. Paul Jones is a Roman Catholic priest, a Trappist brother at Assumption Abbey in the Ozarks, and founding spiritual director of the Hermitage Spiritual Retreat Center, Pittsburg, Missouri. His other books include The Art of Spiritual Direction and A Table in the Desert: Making Space Holy.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Chris K.M. on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
I sat down to look at the book and got drawn in to the story so quickly I'd finished it before I knew it. It was a powerful read. The point made by Sr. Helen Prejean in the forward that "no one is beyond the mercy of God" is clearly and irrefutably made by this story of one man's life and death. We are shown the amazing healing transformation that can be brought about by God when one surrenders fully, no matter that person's history. Thank you to W. Paul Jones for making this story, a wrenching one that is ultimately all about hope (as all stories about God and humans are) available to us. It is a much needed story in these times that can seem so hope-less. If there was anyone who might feel hopeless, it was Clayton Fountain, yet God brought love and healing to his life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kristen on February 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first got a copy of this at my local library. I liked it so much I decided I needed to buy a copy to put in our Adoration Chapel at Church for others to read. It was so interesting that I read late into the night because I just couldn't put it down. It is a true story of the conversion of a man who murdered 5 people, 1 to put him in prison and 4 after being convicted. He had no remorse and seemingly no conscience and was considered so dangerous that a special cell was built for him to keep him away from everyone. But he changed. The book is the story of his transformation. Obviously, not every murderer is going to change but this books opens a readers eye's and heart to the fact that sometimes, a person can change radically for the good. I think it is well worth reading. It gives you a positive feeling about possibilities and humanity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Oberlin on April 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a very plainly told story that is extremely well written. I chose it because I enjoy stories that reveal God's redeeming power in a person's life. I was not prepared, however, for the depth and scope of this story. This prisoner was confined to solitary confinement and while it was possible to keep people out, it was not possible to keep prayers or God out of that cell. Read it, you won't be sorry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Forth Write on April 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a quite remarkable book, one that it is hard to commend highly enough.
Amongst other things it puts before the reader, as simply as I have read anywhere, a description of The Dark Night of the Soul, but that is just one of many of the Treasures of Darkness this book contains.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R C La Gro on October 4, 2013
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Unique and captivating story of a one of a kind man. Which one of us couldn't have found ourselves in the same situation. Its a story of a brutalized and trapped man but it is the story of our penal system too. Would I have done better than the various wardens in his life. No, but I would like to understand more. I've re-read the part where he begins to come back to being human and I'll read it again and again.
Hope is an amazing thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Elliott on December 3, 2012
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Bought this book to send to an inmate in the prison system - he is sharing with others on the inside and they all find it extremely helpful!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By patriciarae on January 19, 2013
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This is a very moving story of mercy extended to a convicted murderer. It is a compelling story that I read in one sitting.
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What a truly wonderful story of transformation. It's another example of how, with the grace of God, nothing is impossible.
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