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The Red Skirt: Memoirs of an Ex Nun Paperback – 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: StuartRose Publishing, LLC (2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0983611203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983611202
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,254,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patricia O'Donnell-Gibson is the author of The Red Skirt, Memoirs of an Ex Nun. A teacher of English and Literature for 30 years, Patricia honed her skills and knowledge with a Masters in Arts degree from Western Michigan University in 1992.

Patricia is a published poet, a member of the Author's Committee for the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival, and the advisor for the "Ladies of the Lake Book Club."

She lives in Watervliet, MI. on beautiful Paw Paw Lake with her husband and two cats. Their combined family is quite large; between them they have seven children and thirteen grandchildren.


AUTHOR'S INSIGHTS:
I left the convent after 5 years to become a wife, mother and public school teacher. But some experiences in life never go away. For years I would be stopped by the images of my convent past: my body bent over marble steps in the Motherhouse, scrubbing black spots; a sister's face whose death affected me as a young sister-in-training, a priest who supported me through every transition, and then was lost to me after I was assigned to teach in Illinois.

These memories, and the fact that my own children simply couldn't get around the idea that their mother, who seemed to be like most moms, had been a nun, led me to begin to reflect through writing about the years I lived as a nun, including why I entered the convent and why I could not stay there.






Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I liked this book! As a non-catholic, I learned so much about the process of becoming a nun. I had no idea of the extreme commitment required, at least in the 60's. This is a story of a young sensitive girl from an Irish Catholic family wanting to please her parents and then learning about herself and how to trust her own feelings. I see this book as her search to commit to a life of obedience to the Catholic Church even though she has serious doubts. She goes through several years of sacrifice and can no longer ignore the churning feelings inside. I feel her account is honest, humorous, informative and non judgmental. She shares stories of experiences that I think most people could not endure. I admire her for sharing this personal story.
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Format: Paperback
As a non-Catholic, I have always been curious about the lives of nuns. This gentle and thought- provoking memoir provided answers to questions that I never have asked. This beautifully- crafted story of Patricia Gibson's Irish Catholic childhood and her life as a young nun sings forth with the strength that the author now possesses as an adult. Since I was a teenager in the 1960's like Patricia Gibson, I marvel at her choice to give her young life to the church. There are passages the reader will want to mark (i.e. on death) to savor again. This book is not heavily religious; it is filled with humor and with the love of life. There is a lot to be learned about making life choices in The Red Skirt. An excellent first book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
How many of us act upon the inner voice that calls to us all to be more of who we are? The author of this honest memoire not only heard a rare but heartfelt calling, but also had the courage to act upon it. It was a calling that did not ask her to be more of who she was, it asked her to relinguish all of what she knew of herself at her young age. She was to learn to cleave to a higher calling; to accept a spiritual husband, God, and a life of service. Her journey led her away from the world of relationships, personal posssessions, and even away from her given name into the rarified air of the convent. Ms O'Donnell-Gibson leads us simply and honestly through this process of relinguishing all she has known. Each of her carefully laid out stories, unveils both the richness of possibilities that a spiritual life offers and also the terrible price of what it demands of those lovely young women who enter a convent. Ms O'Donnell-Gibson takes our hands and walks us through the big, intimidating doors of the convent. We can hear the young girls chanting their prayers, hear their whispered voices, scrub with them the long wooden halls, feel the loneliness and the pain of slowly giving up all that is familiar, and feel the isolation as those wooden doors close to the outside world. It is a walk remembered and book worth reading. It is a collection of stories that teach about the courage to say yes and the courage to say no. Redemption comes in many colors. Even red.

Sharon G
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Format: Paperback
I was enthralled with this beautifully written memoir about a young girl's choice to become a nun. The reader is given an intimate view of the events leading up to Patrica O'Donnell's decision to enter the Dominican Order, the difficult struggle she has in becoming a nun, and the pain and joy of her ultimate resolve to leave. Her rich details, depicting life behind the veil, are a revelation. Even though we know how the story ends,I couldn't imagine how Sister Marie Petra would manage leaving the order and found myself afraid that she was never going to get her red skirt back.
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Format: Paperback
Every part of this book is fabulous, you really get the feel for this sweet Irish family, their rosary devotional prayers to statue of mary, catholic school memories, the stern father, with more compassionate mother...and the kids all playing in the streets of Detroit. I feel as if I really can see the young patricia, tormenting herself as her sister tells her she is going to be a missionary, then sauntering away, then patty's relief as she decides she will go to, and her sister maureen's non-chalant reaction...
The time in the convent as also beautifully described, how I can picture the young women trying to change into their night gowns, by putting them over their nun clothes during silent meditation before bed, with a few of the young women cursing in frustration...and so many other delicate moments.
Truly a wonderful read for the summer, or whenever, light and airy, with enough depth to keep you quite interested, but not overloaded!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Patricia O'Donnell-Gibson gives us a beautiful and compelling description of her life in a religious community of women. Her early years in the community are essentially cloistered and marked by silence. Thus, much of the "action" of the book is the writer's own interior ruminations in response to the medeival dress and customs she encounters.

Throughout the book, the reader gets a deep sense that Pat is not "called" to be there from any natural inclination or unrelenting desire. The idea was planted from outside like kudzu she could not easily shake off. Moments of friendship, consolation and mission do occur in the book, but they are equaled by strange events and interactions. Pat is masterful at creating scenes and the characters who inhabit them.

Shocking for their absence are the events that rocked our world in Pat's convent years: the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy and King assassinations, Viet Nam and civil rights. Vatican II gets scant mention. The Adrian Pat knew seemed isolated from the outside world then. I was surprised, since they and so many communities moved from a semi-cloistered personal spirituality to deep engagement in societal transformation. I wonder what was the catalyst for some quick change: how did we get from scrubbing floors in silence to "nuns on the bus" in a few short decades? This book is a great prequel to a time of revolution.
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