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Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna House Classics Vol.1) Paperback – January 1, 2000


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Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna House Classics Vol.1) + Strannik: The Call to the Pilgrimage of the Heart (Madonna House Classics) + Molchanie: Experiencing the Silence of God (Madonna House Classics) (Vol 4)
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Product Details

  • Series: Madonna House Classics
  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Madonna House Pubns; Third edition (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0921440545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0921440543
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Of the many books on prayer that have been published in recent years, this is simply the best. --Richard K. Weber, OP

I believe anyone who starts this book will get caught up in the fascinating style and personality of the author. She is a great Christian who has immersed herself in a long life-time synthesis of the unique Russian spirituality that becomes purified and made extremely applicable for our modern times. --George A. Maloney, SJ

Classics are rarer than precious gems, so it is a delight to discover a new one... One finds a refreshing and startling Christian authenticity in Doherty's writing. --Christian Century

About the Author

Catherine de Hueck Doherty was born in Russia on August 15, 1896. Her parents, Theodore and Emma Kolyschkine, who belonged to the minor nobility, were devout members of the Orthodox Church and had their child baptized in St. Petersburg on September 15.

Schooled abroad because of her father's job, she and her family returned to St. Petersburg in 1910, where she was enrolled in the prestigious Princess Obolensky Academy. In 1912, aged 15, she made what turned out to be a disastrous marriage with her first cousin, Boris de Hueck. At the outbreak of World War I, Catherine became a Red Cross nurse at the front, experiencing the horrors of battle firsthand. On her return to St. Petersburg, she and Boris barely escaped the turmoil of the Russian Revolution with their lives, nearly starving to death as refugees in Finland. Together they made their way to England, where Catherine was received into the Catholic Church on November 27, 1919.

Emigrating to Canada with Boris, Catherine gave birth to their only child, George, in Toronto in 1921. Soon she and Boris became more and more painfully estranged from one another, as he pursued extramarital affairs. To make ends meet, Catherine took various jobs and eventually became a lecturer, travelling a circuit that took her across North America. Prosperous now, but deeply dissatisfied with a life of material comfort, her marriage in ruins, she began to feel the promptings of a deeper call through a passage that leaped to her eyes every time she opened the Scriptures: "Arise, go... sell all you possess... take up your cross and follow me." Consulting with various priests and the bishop of the diocese, she began her lay apostolate among the poor in Toronto in the early 1930's, calling it Friendship House.

Because her approach was so different from what was being done at the time, she encountered much persecution and resistance, and Friendship House was forced to close in 1936. Catherine then went to Europe and spent a year investigating Catholic Action. On her return, she was given the chance to revive Friendship House in New York City among the poor in Harlem. After that she was invited to open another Friendship House in Chicago. In 1943, having received an annulment of her first marriage, she married Eddie Doherty, one of America's foremost reporters, who had fallen in love with her while writing a story about her apostolate.

Meanwhile, serious disagreements had arisen between the staff of Friendship House and its foundress. When these could not be resolved, Catherine and Eddie moved to Combermere, Ontario, Canada on May 17, 1947, naming their new rural apostolate Madonna House. This was to be the seedbed of an apostolate that now numbers more than 200 staff workers and over 125 associate priests, deacons, and bishops, with 22 field-houses throughout the world. Catherine Doherty died on December 14, 1985 in Combermere at the age of 89. Since then, the cause for Catherine's beatification has been officially opened.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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It is timeless and very thought provoking.
Andi Horn
She offers very practical advice on how to incorporate prayer into one's everyday life.
Barbara
I read this book many years ago and lost my copy.
Gerard S. Zabik

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Catherine Doherty's book, 'Poustinia', is one of those one-in-a-million books which will change the way you look at life. This book has had a profound influnce on me -- my life as a Catholic Christian has blossomed, and my relationship with God has been profoundly deepened. I heartily recommend this book to all who seek peace.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
This wonderful guide to the spirituality of the East has new meaning since the reopening of Russia and the rebirth of religious expression there. I bought this book several years ago and found the message both practical and uplifting. I just read the book again and have been amazed at the new level of meaning that has surfaced, a result of my life experience since the first read in the mid-1970's. If you seek peace and a method to share peace with those around you, this text will become a reference and guide.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JCH on June 3, 2009
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This was my introduction to Catherine Dougherty - a real, joyful and sober saint of our times. Poustinia is an excellent reflection on prayer from the Eastern, Catholic tradition. There are many spiritual treasures and insights found within these pages, the Church is so rich! Anyone thirsting for contemplation and intimacy with the Lord would most certainly like this book. In Poustinia lies a pearl of great price.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Olga R. Rasmussen on November 13, 2009
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I read this book for the first time in my twenties, and loved it. It found me again, at 54, and I found that I reaped even more from it this time. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys spiritual reading. It is a classic. As a result, I am now reading the rest of Catherine Doherty's writings.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Borden VINE VOICE on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Poustinia is not a familiar word to Westerners; at least it was not familiar to me and I don't think I am alone. My first encounter with Poustinia was from a recommended reading list for an assignment in a School for Spiritual Direction. I'm thankful for the recommendation; there is no doubt that my life has been enriched by the gift of what I have found in this book by Catherine Doherty.
So, what is poustinia? Definitions online provide the following explanation for this word:

A poustinia (Russian) is a small sparsely furnished cabin or room where one goes to pray and fast alone in the presence of God. The word poustinia has its origin in the Russian word for desert. One called to live permanently in a poustinia is called a poustinik (plural: poustiniki).

When I first read the definition for poustinia, I thought of a hermitage and the experience that comes with a spiritual retreat to a hermitage. Now that I have read this book and the philosophy behind poustinia, I think the poustinia experience and vocation encompass so much more.

Catherine divides the book into four main sections while gently walking the reader through understanding the basic tenets and history of poustinia (part one) from the east to the west. Part two explains the poustinik, the person called to experience poustinia or to live vocationally the poustinia. Personally, I found this (and part three) to be my favorite parts of the book. I learned some things and I identified myself in some ways. I found elements of freedom and liberation directly related to the poustinia life.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sheila M. Ryan on October 25, 2009
Format: Paperback
Poustinia is a book that makes you fly. I was in a body cast for three and a half years back in the 70's and a Priest friend gave me Poustinia. I found my Poustinia easily. Just plain suffering, something that most human beings shy away from. I didn't have a choice. The author doesn't say to ask for suffering but she really teaches you what to do with it. Offer it to Jesus in union with His Cross. Yet, her thoughts are Eastern so you won't feel like A Nun is yelling, "OFFER IT UP!"

BUY POUSTINIA AND LEARN TO MEDITATE WITH THE BOOK. It will change your life as IT DID MINE. After eleven spinal fusions, I started to get bitter and Pousinita got me out of that fast. It all boils down to Confidence in God's love and mercy. If you don't buy it, you are passing up a great oportunity to find your Poustinia. Reading her words, makes you thirst for more.
Sheila
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By brother bruno on September 25, 2008
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If you have made it this far in looking for spiritual books, buy this book. God wants you to read it! Catherine Doherty's writing style is conversational and makes this most difficult of subjects (how we are called to respond to Jesus' call to sell all and follow Him) very approachable, even doable. She gives we in the West a way to integrate Eastern Orthodox mysticism into our, very different, value system and lifestyle. Again, if you have come this far, buy this book, you won't regret it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pytel on September 19, 2012
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After reading A Fathers Tale by Michael O'Brien I became curious about the experience of Poustinia. It became obvious as I read this book Poustinia that Mr. O'brien must have gone on this deeper journey Ms. Dolerty writes about. It's kind of a how to become a Poustiniac or if you are called to this experience to deepen your faith. Although this is not a book with many pages it takes a while to read and digest what Poustinia can mean to you or "are you ready for this journey"?

Catherine really explains the Russian experience. A very personal encounter with our Lord.
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