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Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) Paperback – February, 2003


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Mother Maria Skobtsova: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) + Pearl of Great Price: The Life of Mother Maria Skobtsova, 1891-1945 + Silent as a Stone: Mother Maria of Paris and the Trash Can Rescue
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Spiritual Masters Series
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Orbis Books (February 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570754365
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570754364
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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*Starred Review* The new Modern Spiritual Masters volume is surely the first introduction for most English-language readers to its subject. Born to a prominent, devoutly Russian Orthodox family, Elizaveta Pilenko (1891-1945) renounced her belief at 14 when her father died. In St. Petersburg with her mother, she then joined the circle of symbolist poet Alexander Blok and later the Bolsheviks. But come the Revolution, she was regaining her faith. Twice married, she had three children, with whom she fled to Paris. Always a community activist, she turned to explicitly Christian charity to express solidarity with the needy, especially fellow Russian exiles in Depression-era Paris. Eventually, her second husband, Daniel Skobtsov, released her so she could become an Orthodox nun. Taking the name Maria, she realized a "new monasticism" that merged the spiritual life with service to the oppressed. Her subsequent career, as Jim Forest observes in his excellent introduction, resembled Dorothy Day's; however, circumstances didn't allow her Day's longevity. After the Nazis took Paris and persecution of the Jews began, she stood with them, was sent to the camps, and perished in Ravensbruck. Besides her inspiring life, her legacy includes much writing on the religious life. The 11 selections here, concerned primarily with living out Jesus' commandment to love your neighbor, are often literature of a very high order, none more so than the dazzling metaphoric masterpiece "The Poor in Spirit." Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French, Russian

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Morris on May 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To any who think that Orthodox Christians do not have the social conscience of Catholics, here is Mother Maria (now St. Maria)clearly stating that Christ will not ask us how many prostrations we have made, but whether or not we have loved our neighbor. This is a moving and perhaps jarring collection of writings by an Orthodox martyr of modern times, which serves to illustrate that words and gilded Gospel books are not enough. She was known to leave a liturgy to answer the door when someone in need came for help to the "house of hospitality" she established in Paris. She would roam Paris in search of aid, puffing a cigarette. She spoke of the sword which pierced the heart of the Virgin Mary and which should pierce ours as well, that of love. This is not a self-consumed religion Mother speaks of, but one of ultimate self-denial in acts of love for the other, even when the other steals from us. We can only hope more of her works appear in English.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dr. John Laughlin on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
Modern Spiritual Masters Series, Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY

In 1998 Orbis Books launched its Modern Spiritual Masters Series, a collection of the writings of important spiritual masters of our age. Each "Master" is made available in readable and inexpensive formats. Each is edited with an introduction about the master's legacy, along with relevant biographical information and commentary. To date there are some 36 volumes as diverse as Albert Schweitzer, theologian, doctor, Nobel Peace Prize winner; Caryll Houselander, English Catholic laywoman, artist, and visionary; Eberhard Arnold, founder of the Bruderhof; Howard Thurman, minister, philosopher, and civil rights activist; Flannery O'Connor the great southern writer whose distinctive spiritual voice covered topics on Christian Realism, the Church, the relation between faith and art, sin and grace, and the role of suffering in the life of a Christian; Rufus Jones, who won a Nobel Prize as cofounder of the American Friends Service Committee and Swami Abhishiktananda (Henri le Saux) a Breton-born Benedictine monk who hoped to Christianize India but instead became deeply influenced by Hindu spirituality.

In this brief space I can only give you a glimpse of some of the masters, editors and their thoughts.

Maria Skobtsova was a promising poet, a gifted amateur painter, a theological student in St. Petersburg, and a mayor all before becoming an Orthodox nun in 1932. She served a community of Russian expatriates in France during World War II and rescued hundreds of Jews before being captured and taken to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Jim Forest provides an illuminating overview of her unusual life and ministry. She wrote, "In our time Christ and the life-giving Holy Spirit demand the whole person.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anyone who knows the story of Mother Maria Skobtsova (St Maria of Ravensbruk/Paris) and her bravery during WWII this book of her writings will be a treasure. The translation flows well and is easy to read. It seems the essence of the woman flows through the work. Highly recommended reading
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By Ron Ward on December 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
Love St. Maria and her writings. My family thinks I'm going to be a communist now.....
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