- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: Ignatius Pr (September 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0898708249
- ISBN-13: 978-0898708240
- Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.8 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Right to Be Merry Paperback – September 1, 2001
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Can life really be "merry" inside a Poor Clare cloister? This happy book reveals the challenges, cares and joys of that cloistered life from an "insiders" view. The poet's cry, "O world, I cannot hold you close enough!" is the heart's cry of the enclosed contemplative. No one who has not lived in a cloister can fully understand just how intertwined are the lives of cloistered nuns. Their hearts may be wide as the universe and bottomless as eternity, but the practical details of their living are boxed up into the small area within the enclosure walls. Cloistered nuns rub souls as well as elbows all their lives, and if they do not step out of themselves to get a true perspective, they can become small-souled and petty and remain immature children all their lives long. But, as Mother Mary Francis points out, they also have "as great a right to be merry as any lady in the world." Nor is merriment all. "Hidden away from the glare and noise of worldly living," Mother Mary Francis writes, "we are enclosed in the womb of holy Church. I walk down the cloisters, and my heart moves to a single tune: Lord, it is good, so good to be here!"
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The Monastery is a powerhouse of prayer, and Mother Mary Francis gives us a rare glimpse into the life lived there.
Mother Mary Francis writes wonderfully, with so much love for what she was given by God to do, and with so much experience on what she is talking about... She writes in a simple manner, with a witty touch that makes it impossible no to fall in love with this book and with her Poor Clare life, with her simplicity, her poverty... Her merry way to follow the Gospel in the footsteps of Saint Francis and Saint Clare! With joyful penance!
I love when she talks about poverty... To "marry lady poverty"
I can't recommend this book enough.
Though this book is about life in an enclosed order of nuns, it's not just for Catholics. I'm not a Catholic myself, but I feel like I gained about as much from it as anyone could, and I don't feel any separation or strangeness between myself and the sisters. I strongly recommend this book to seekers of God from whatever path or religion, because don't we all share the same human nature and face the same struggles? And this author kindly shares one way of gracefully navigating the difficult waters. Since the Poor Clares have been following the same path for over 750 years now, without dying out or changing their ways, we know that it is one road, no matter how unusual, that does work, and we can all take something from it.
Finally, I appreciated the prefaces that Mother Mary Francis added to this 2001 edition of her book. Since the book was written in the 1950's, don't you want to know what has happened in the Roswell monastery since then? I did! So the additonal material from the years 1973 and 2000 was most welcome. I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone, but I'm happy to report that the monastery is thriving. Lucky them: Mother Mary Francis is apparently still the Abbess, God bless her beautiful, wise heart.
Note: Feb. 2006 addition to this review from February 2005: I have just learned that Mother Mary Francis passed away this month. May she rest in eternal peace.