- Series: Oxford Oral History Series
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 7, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199947937
- ISBN-13: 978-0199947935
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns (Oxford Oral History Series) 1st Edition
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Reese is not Catholic. But that did not stop her from spending seven years documenting the devotion of the Poor Clare Colettine Order nuns of the Corpus Christi Monastery in Rockford, Illinois. Personal accounts and black-and-white photos reveal a restricted existence that is both unsettling and rewarding beyond measure. From behind steel grillwork that one young visitor describes as “the Jesus cage,” the nuns open up, revealing ordinary and sometimes privileged past lives. As novitiates, they must commit to living in a 25,000-square-foot enclosure and accepting only limited contact with family members. Reese portrays their difficult path: while the rest of the world sleeps, these women keep watch on the world, awakening at midnight for the first of seven daily prayers. A fascinating read, this book lifts the veil of mystery surrounding women who forsake contact with the outside world to become brides of Christ. --Susan DeGrane
"That is another one of monasticism's surprises: where the world expects sorrow, the cloistered feel joy. Reese's attentiveness and patience allows that joy to reveal itself."--The New Yorker
"A fascinating read, this book lifts the veil of mystery surrounding women who forsake contact with the outside world to become brides of Christ."--Booklist
"[A] fascinating peek into a life that is often misunderstood and rarely subject to this type of scrutiny"--Library Journal
"Through Reese's narrative and photographs, and the nuns' oral histories, we are allowed a rare opportunity to encounter the members of this enclosed order of contemplative nuns, glimpsing their individual pasts and observing their collective and individual present...[T]his book tells important stories that explain experiences and lend meaning to the diversity of religious life."--Oral History Journal
"Reese does do an excellent job of presenting the nuns as individuals. They are not fetishized or turned into fringe caricatures with clichéd beliefs. Even when she has a chance to poke a hole in their convictions with contradicting opinions held by fellow nuns, she does not dispel their faith. Instead she withholds judgment, allowing room for the flexibility of their personal beliefs. Each nun gets the chance to express herself as she continues to explore and understand herself in her journey inwards and towards God."--Bookslut
"Reese's narrative, based on six years of meticulous interviews, allows us to hear cloistered nuns' own voices and see their (interior and exterior) lives in all of their complexity. Reese explores the Poor Clare Colettines' resolve not to be 'erased from the landscape' but instead to serve as the 'agents of change' that they are. This is a new and fresh view of the cloistered life, a welcome contribution to the growing body of literature on the lives of women religious."--Debra Campbell, author of Graceful Exits: Catholic Women and the Art of Departure
"The interviews in this book are informative, revealing, and thought provoking...Those who are truly fascinated with American nuns...will find much to like about this book."--The Historian
"In the monastic world of secrecy, silence, and submission, the oral histories of the Poor Clare nuns in the cloistered contemplative order at the Corpus Christi Monastery offer us a look at a small group of women who embrace countercultural values at great personal cost for the benefit of others. In so doing, they live day to day as brides of Christ, bringing before God, the needs of others in their own community and around the world. It is a sacrifice that few understand and even fewer appreciate...And Reese helps the reader to see clearly what that cost looks like and feels like from the perspective of the women themselves."--Oral
History Forum d'histoire orale
Top customer reviews
I will say that the book 1) talks in circles. It would be better organized if you talked about each sister once and got her entire story out before jumping to the next. There's a lot of bouncing back and forth here 2) repeats a lot of information a lot (see what I did there?). You don't need to reiterate the fact that the nuns are allowed to talk only during the recreation hour. You've said that once. I read it. I understood it. By the fourth repetition of that info, I start to get mad (not really).
But I'm so glad that Reese undertook this exploration and then shared it with the rest of us. I have truly been blessed by their stories. God Bless the Poor Clares!
I particularly liked the fact that Abbie, despite the fact that she is not Catholic, came across as respectful and appreciative of what must have seemed completely foreign to her. I loved the photos & would have liked to have seen some of the Sisters at prayer & other liturgical celebrations.
My only complaint was frequent repetition of material in different areas of the book--especially material from the prioress and Sr Deo Gratias.