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Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and…

Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son (edition 2006)

by Peter Manseau

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Title:Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son
Authors:Peter Manseau
Info:Free Press (2006), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:2012 read

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Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son by Peter Manseau



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When folks get wounded by the church the response is usually bitter resentment or chucking it all; however, for the deeply spiritually connected there's a third choice that one must go on. This is the choice of pilgrimage. On the one hand there's the wound itself, but then there's the passionate tug into the this gracefully wicked beast called the Body of Christ. This is the journey Peter Manseau takes in Vows. His father is a priest (still ordained) and his mother was a former nun both of whom still love the church in all its complexities. Peter is an excellent writer and reminds me of a less wordy Pat Conroy. The book explores the faith journey of his mother, father, and his own role as questioner to this mystical journey. This is a book that treats the church with the respect it deserves while also slinging just enough sacred cow poop to remind the church and those that preside in leadership to be very cautious with the charge they've been given. ( )
  revslick | Dec 6, 2012 |
Vows is a very touching story about love triumphing over religious tradition and religious faith triumphing over cynicism. The first half of Manseau's memoir is about his priest father and ex-nun mother who fall in love and rebel against Catholic tradition by marrying. The second half is about the author himself, who goes from being a surly agnostic to a cautious believer and finally embraces religion without becoming something he isn't. Honestly, this book did more to buoy my often tenuous relationship with my own religious beliefs than any other religious book (even the Bible) ever has. ( )
1 vote ChicGeekGirl21 | Jan 3, 2009 |
Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son by Peter Manseau was very interesting. I know people who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church following Vatican II and I've heard their stories of the shock and delight of guitar masses, priests and nuns who seemed human and caring about real life, and priests and nuns who thought they would soon marry. Peter Manseau's parents were right in the middle of this time living as people who had dedicated their lives to the church. They re-evaluated the meaning of their vows in light of the new ways of studying the Bible and theology and were married. We now know that at the same time the Roman Catholic church in the US was also hiding sexual abuse by priests and shaming their victims into silence. From the present Peter Manseau re-evaluates how both the sexual abuse scandal and Vatican II affected his parents and made his life possible and complicated.

Very interesting! ( )
1 vote sara_k | Oct 7, 2007 |
I read this for a bookgroup, so not my choice, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is not only the story of one couple, but of how their radical idea to get married fit in the context of the times (late 1960's). In fact, this is almost a pocket history of the American Catholic church over the past forty years. I really wonder how it was received by traditional Catholics. ( )
  keferunk | Sep 6, 2006 |
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For my parents:
Rev. Dr. William Joseph Manseau,
a good father in every sense of the word,
and Mary Doherty Manseau,
full of grace.
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My parents don't remember their earliest conversation. What was said when, who spoke first and why: these are details almost forty years gone.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743249089, Paperback)

Peter Manseau's deeply personal memoir is a meditation on family, church, faith and self. Oh, and God too. The story of rejecting the faith you are given, only to embrace it again in some form (or at least make peace with it) may seem familiar, but lost within the loving detail of Manseau's writing the reader discovers it anew. A spirit of tenderness and generosity permeates the pages of this story, but always leavened by unflinching honesty, the salt that keeps the flavor from the first page to the last. Manseau brings us into his sense of wonder as he traces the journey of his priest-father and his nun-mother who, if they had stayed true to their initial calling into the Catholic church, would have ensured he and his siblings never came to exist. Vows also brings us into the strong Boston Catholic culture of half a century ago, and near its end we find an unexpected left turn into the very heart of the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman church in 2005. But however intrinsic to the book these elements are, they only inform the story, and never overwhelm it. Primarily, as he traces the journey first of his parents, and then himself, we are left with a sense of joy over seeing how life itself tends unruly and writes its own story while we are busy making our plans. And though religion itself is on every page of the book, in forms both personal and institutional, the heart of the book is its humanity.--Ed Dobeas

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:23 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In an engrossing memoir, a young and talented writer limns the lives of his parents, a former nun and a priest who chose to marry but never renounced his ministerial orders. The author Manseau draws on family memories, church records and mountains of material dredged up in the wake of the clergy abuse scandals to bring to life the vibrant working-class Boston Catholic culture of a half-century ago. He describes, from the inside out, a world of ecclesiastical obedience and principled rebellion, public virtue and private vice. He also dissects the ambivalent but loving heritage of parents who found themselves, by choice and by accident, on the vanguard of a religious reform movement that, to the outsider, seems rooted more in hope than in reality. As Manseau recounts, his father's status as a "married priest" put the family in an odd no-man's land peopled by married priests and former nuns, hoping for official ecclesiastical acceptance.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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