CLOISTER AND COMMUNITY: Life Within a Carmelite Monastery

Mary Jo Weaver, Author . Indiana $29.95 (128p) ISBN 978-0-253-34184-6

"If the book has a plot, it is this one," begins Weaver in this fascinating snapshot of the history of the Carmelite monastery in Indianapolis. "The community that began in 1932 as a group living in a sacred space apart from the world has changed over time into a community that sees the world itself as a sacred space." This branch of Carmelites was founded by Teresa of Avila in the mid-16th century to be small, unendowed and enclosed (literally, cloistered). Weaver's book shows how the nuns in Indianapolis have tried to balance these ideals with the challenges of living in the modern world (e.g., making a living through their typesetting business, or handling the volume of traffic on their popular Web site, www.praythenews.com). The book is imaginatively organized, with each chapter corresponding to some architectural phase of the monastery's construction; the chapter on contemplative prayer, for example, is centered around the building of the new chapel in 1961. Based on written history, in-depth interviews with the monastery's residents and a profound sense of place, Weaver's book raises important questions about change and religious community. (Oct. 4)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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