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The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy…

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" (Madeleva… (edition 1998)

by Kathleen Norris

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Title:The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" (Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality)
Authors:Kathleen Norris
Info:Paulist Press (1998), Paperback, 89 pages
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The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and "Women's Work" by Kathleen Norris



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As a nonreligious person, I'm likely not the target audience for this little book. I've greatly enjoyed other books with religious themes though and I was drawn in by the idea of this one. However, it's just not for me. I'm not faulting it for its religiosity. What I was not fond of was the flowery language, meandering thoughts, and frequent critical analysis of the author's own poetry within the text. ( )
  KimMeyer | Jul 19, 2016 |
This slim volume explores Norris' thoughts on everyday life and the inherent spirituality found in it. Most well-known for her book "Cloister Walk", Norris focuses on the idea of 'acedia' or spiritual torpor, and the way everyday tasks--doing the dishes, washing the laundry, going to work--can alleviate this ennui. In fact, Norris suggests that it is the everyday, or quotidian, that connects us more deeply to God. I found this book incredibly inspiring, but I was able to separate Norris' ruminations on Jesus and a Christian God and insert my own spiritual beliefs.

This book really arrived at an important time for me: this past year has been creatively and spiritually arid and led me to seriously consider whether I have any aptitude for creative and deeply spiritual work. I didn't even seek out this book: the minister brought it over one day, telling me she knew I needed it. I initially expected to be turned off by Norris' extreme Catholic attitude and spiritual sentiment--she doesn't attempt to make the book universal, spiritually--but I found her writing such that the real meaning came through clearly, and I was able to ignore the occasional Jesus or Bible quote.

The gist of Norris' book is that embracing and accepting the everyday is key to spiritual happiness, and I find myself agreeing. In many ways, Norris echoes what Buddhists like Thich Nhat Hanh have written: that being present is what liberates and frees us. Norris' unique spin comes from her experience with Benedictine monks: that the measured regularity of following the litany of hours allows for ultimate freedom, encouraging the creative and spiritual self to run wild. Unfortunately, the implied suggestion is to also participate in the litany of hours, but for me, that is unrealistic and unlikely. (Although I do find the idea of regular meditation very appealing). I'm still considering how to use this information, but I am finding already that having a name for what I'm suffering is helping me come up with ways to combat it. ( )
1 vote unabridgedchick | Mar 31, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809138018, Paperback)

The bestselling author of The Cloister Walk reflects on the sanctifying possibilities of everyday work and how God is present in worship and liturgy as well as in ordinary life. Definitely not "for women only."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

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