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The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from…

The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from the Women of the Wilderness

by Mary C. Earle

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This book was given to me by a friar friend who found it a little to o New-Agey. It has eleven chapters with minimal information about the women who left their lives for the deserts of the 4th century which information the author ties into worship today with the desert both as a physical place that offers its own insights and a metaphor for when times are hard.
Chapters include "Where are the Mothers?" -- an introduction; "Desert Spirituality"-- with exercises on living in and with nature; "The Little World of Ourselves" -- creating, adorning, and praying in a specially created place, a room, a closet, a stair, etc.; "Go to Your Cell" -- the adventure of spending time with God in the same place day after day; "Learning the Art of Discernment" -- one of my favorite chapters with great activities; and plenty more.
Each time I think I'm through with this book, that I can pass it on to someone else, I pick it up "one last time" and end out getting drawn back in, seeing new things.
Although the book is clearly written from the Christian perspective, the writer is an Episcopal priest, I would highly recommend it for anyone who wishes to deepen their spirituality, simplicity, or connections with nature -- regardless of whatever name(s) you call God.
My favorite quote is about growing spirituality in contrast with what the world says, like a bird sitting on its eggs until they hatch -- "we are encouraged not to sit, not to persevere, not to struggle with boredom. We are enticed by a variety of means to leave our 'eggs' and simply move continually from one interest to another. . . . The 'eggs' die because they are not tended." (22) The other major comparison throughout the book is to an athlete.
Very, very good.
F ( )
  medievalmama | May 1, 2009 |
Mary C. Earle writes persuasively about the "Desert Mothers", their setting and their wisdom. I particularly appreciated Earle's application of the desert wisdom to contemporary urban life. ( )
  TedWitham | Oct 25, 2007 |
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