Buy Used
$3.98
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

For the Love of God: The Faith and Future of the American Nun Paperback – November 13, 2001


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, November 13, 2001
$2.48 $0.01

Interested in religious studies?
Explore Messages from Heaven: What Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and Moses Would Say Today by Ryuho Okawa. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The American nun population reached its peak of more than 181,000 in 1965. Now, at the turn of the millennium, there are only about 84,000 American nuns, according to author Lucy Kaylin, who set out to investigative this dwindling clan. As most environmental activists know, one of the best ways to protect an endangered species is to help humans appreciate its place in the world. And this is exactly what Kaylin does for this unique order of women.

Using her strong narrative skills, Kaylin takes us inside the altruistic world of nuns. We learn of the true grit involved--the tough inner-city service jobs as well as the rugged rural chores. We witness vulnerable moments, such as the time when Vatican II allowed nuns to shed their habits and women were faced with learning to style their hair for the first time in adulthood. One of her most tender chapters speaks to the myths and realities of a nun's sexuality, where sisters speak of the struggles and comfort that come from their profound vow to chastity. By the time Kaylin addresses the future of nuns, readers of all denominations are wholeheartedly rooting for their survival. This is where Kaylin hits the hardest--challenging the church to accept women in the ranks of the clergy, "thus ensuring them full participation in the faith to which they have devoted themselves utterly." Ultimately, this is a feminist, spiritual, and heartrending piece of investigative writing that captures the importance of nuns' ongoing existence, hopefully before it's too late. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Most books on Catholic nuns fall into two categoriesAthere are the anti-Catholic habit-ripping expos?s and, at the other extreme, the romantic hagiographies that paint nuns as ethereal beings. Refreshingly, Kaylin's approach is remarkably balanced, though she does occasionally lean in the direction of idealizing these brides of Christ. As she portrays them, they are courageous and plucky women, having weathered their own dwindling ranks, the cataclysmic changes of Vatican II and the challenges of careers outside the convent and the parochial school. Kaylin, a senior writer at GQ, positions herself as a complete neophyte-agnostic, anxious about the sisters' reaction to her. During her research, she was forced to rethink many of her stereotypes about nuns, some of whom perform in the circus (in order to establish "a prayerful presence" there), live alone in urban apartments or lead protests at the Pentagon. Far from just reporting, Kaylin expresses candid opinions at times, as when she chides the Catholic Church for its "insultingly specious" arguments against women's ordination. She is gravely concerned about the future, since the new opportunities available for women have meant that fewer are choosing a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. (Out of 135 sisters in one convent Kaylin profiles, 78 live full-time in the infirmary, "a de facto nursing home.") Kaylin provides an opinionated but warm investigation into the changing fortunes of the American convent. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (November 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937072
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,792,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
58%
4 star
25%
3 star
17%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
To me, it is rare that you won't want to put down a non-fiction book.
M. Bledsoe
This is an amazing book -- and I have to applaud Lucy Kaylin for not only her clear writing style but the thoughtful way she approached a complex topic.
Ning Wiebmer
For The Love of God gave me some insight into the nuns and what they were experiencing at the very time I was at St. Agatha, 1965-1968.
Nancy Canfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Kennedy on February 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
"For the Love of God" is written from the perspective of social liberal who, raised without religion, provides a perspective on Catholic nuns that makes this book truly unique. Much of this book defends views (pro-abortion, pro-birth control) out of sync with orthodox Catholicism. But, who but orthodox Catholics cares about the future of the nun? It is an interesting paradox, and leads one to wonder what sort of people will buy this book. The answer is probably Catholics who hold liberal views. However, this population is in decline--much like the religious communities that Ms. Kaylin investigates.
What Ms. Kaylin failed to recognize in her otherwise expert research is that religious orders that have renewed their commitment to traditional Catholic views (i.e. views that would be categorized as politically conservative) are actually growing in number. I think this book would have been enriched by an examination of this phenomenon, and of the reasons for why religious communities on the whole are in decline.
Despite this oversight, the book is very good, very readable and quite compelling. It is fascinating to look into the view of religious communities for whom public relations is not generally a strong-suit. Ms. Kaylin's ignorance of religious orders, Catholicism, and religion in general gives a fresh and unique perspective. Furthermore, her socially liberal perspective allows for "forbidden" topics to be discussed. A book written by an orthodox Catholic could never have treated these subjects as directly and honestly.
Nevertheless, after finishing the book, my overriding question was: "Do these people realize they are contributing to their own demise?" This book tells of nuns who actively campaign for abortion rights.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Ning Wiebmer on December 31, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an amazing book -- and I have to applaud Lucy Kaylin for not only her clear writing style but the thoughtful way she approached a complex topic. I believe that she was touched by these surprising modern nuns that she met and wrote about -- and I learned a lot, too. If you enjoy the work of Kathleen Norris, you'll love this book, too. I read this book in a day -- could not put it down.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth G. Melillo VINE VOICE on April 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, "For the Love of God" is an interesting exposition of various Sisters' approaches to their vocations, and Lucy Kaylin illustrates a surprising respect and recognition for the religious life for one who is not a believer (much beyond many who are!) Perhaps because Lucy is totally new to "the topic," and not a Christian, she cannot be faulted for taking at face value some Sisters' impressions which are far from a univeral picture of the attitudes of religious women.
Though Lucy obviously has interviewed many Sisters, and indeed attempts to include comments from a cross section, the majority of in depth space is given to two extremes of the spectrum: a cloistered, very traditional Benedictine, and radical feminist nuns who are intensely bitter towards the clergy. Many Sisters (and I know hundreds) have much experience in extremely fruitful, enriching contact and work with priests, and Lucy's depiction of a nun's motherly attitude as one of protecting children from (supposedly) clergy who are a mass of paedophiles is beyond inaccurate - it is slanderous.
Though Lucy seems to have respect for the Sisters' dedication and conviction (even if sarcasm intrudes now and then), there are times when one must shake one's head at her attitudes. For example, the specific mention of her wondering whether some nuns (who are overweight... a condition that I had thought existed in all classes of society) found shelter in religious life from the abuse that society gives heavy women indicated a confused and condescending stereotype.
I'm sure many readers will find this material fascinating or enlightening, but it is far from a comprehensive look at the attitudes of religious women.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Monica Cory on June 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a "cradle Catholic" who is often embarrassed by the goofy portrayal of religious women in our media (From the Flying Nun to Sister Act with Whoopie), I found this dignified, fair and revealing portrayal of American nuns very interesting and affirming. These are wonderful women among us; kind, intelligent, spiritual and generous in service to others. Sure, we've all heard about Mother Theresa, but the more common nuns who serve communities through self-less effort and prayer are also to be respected and admired. Kaylin's view of these women in some ways seems to surprise herself...a person raised without religion. She is a curious outsider who seeks to understand, explain and demystify American nuns and the lives they lead. She does it with intelligence and respect, and an amazing understanding of the faith based traditions they follow. I was very surprised and often enlightened by her observations and understanding.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Monica K. Van Ness on November 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the things that I liked about Lucy Kaylin's look at this subject was how she was able to say that she thought that having grown up without religion, she was free of all preconceived notions about nuns. And then admits that she was in for a few surprises. The book is a bit uneven in spots, but tries to take a look at conservative nuns, radical nuns, and just about everything in between. Kaylin tries to show the great diversity of women who are striving to live spiritual lives. I found some of the stories more moving than others. And some of the women came across as more - I guess you could say more appealing than others. But, then, isn't this how it is with everyone you meet or read about? Some speak to you, and some just annoy you.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews