The Cloister Walk
"A strange and beautiful book...Part memoir, part meditation, it is a remarkable piece of writing." -The Boston Globe
"The Cloister Walk is a new opportunity to discover a remarkable writer with a huge, wise heart...Norris resonates deeply for a lot of people: She's one of those writers who d...more
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There were a few definite mentions of Orthodox Christianity when referring to "ancient" saints, but everything else was the black-and-white Protestant/Catholic divide. I don't know about many Protestant monastic communities, but there are several Orthodox monasteries in the United States. While I stop short of insisting she be completely inclusive, I thought it odd that Orthodoxy was relegated to antiquity, ...more
It's hard to explain. You really have to read it. (Based on my experience, it helps to be a Catholic who loves books.)
Kathleen Norris is a poet and has a poet's perspective on Catholicism and the ways of Benedictine monks. But she's also a Protestant, with a refreshingly level-headed outsider's perspective on the seemingly impenetrable world inside a monastery. The monks and nuns she describes are real, honest, witty and faithful people, with great stories and a passio ...more
When I first read The Cloister Walk and Dakota (also by Kath ...more
The book is strange because of the variety of things included. Some chapters are basically journal entries from the author, diary entries of her life. Some chapters are her thoughts about the Benedictines that she has spent time with, about their beliefs, their practices, their lifestyle, etc. Some chapte ...more
Norris would usually tackle an issue concerning monastic life, such as celibacy, for example, ...more
I got the chills approximately every 5 minutes reading this book. Norris meanders through her stays in a Benedictine monastery in Minnesota, her thoughts (and Benedictine thoughts) on the scriptures and on early saints and theologians...the poetry of liturgies and the sacramental and sacred in daily life. Oh, dang, so great.
Norris has lived in DC, Illinois, Hawai'i, Vermont, and NYC, but ended up in South Dakota. There is a peaceful prairie way about her work and a great sense of curiosity ...more
For the first 200 pages, this was a solid, four star reading: thoughtful, quoting the Desert Fathers, a Presbyterian who likes hanging out with Benedictine monks, which did make me a little nervous about if she was illicitly going to Communion all those times she talks about going to M ...more
There was a passage somewhere in the book that has stayed with me. I can't remember enough of the wording to even Google it successfully. Norris was speaking to a monk, I believe, who had a view of the many and varied people walking by. She asked him, given that the ...more
“A friend who was educated by the Benedictines has told tme that she owes to them her sanity with regard to time. ‘You never really finish anything in life,’ she says, ‘and while that’s humbling, and frustrating, it’s all right. Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productiv ...more
I always find it amazing how we find our way to the right books at the right time. Though I've read most of her other works I for some reason never picked up The Cloister Walk until now. She has a ...more
The Cloister Walk is like a collection of essays; each chapter reflecting on Norris' year long stay at a Benedictine monastery and the following year outside of one. Her earthy view of spirituality illustrates how every day life can be sacred. Apparently this mes ...more
It offers insights to people like me who dismiss organized religion: "To appreciate the relevance of the virgin martyrs for our own time, we need to ask not whether or not the saint existed but why it might have been necessary to invent her; we need not get hung up o ...more
"This is my spiritual geography, the place where I have wrestled my story out of the circumstances of landscape and inheritance. The word "geography" derives from the Greek words of earth and writing."
This was so disappointing. It is not about a spiritual journey as far as I could tell. It is a dry, boring,factual account of the readings they did, why they are meaningful to her, and what being a monk means in this day and age. T ...more
i wonder if books like that have a place anyway because they affect our lives for a moment and maybe help us to become more cemented in what we believe/are... even if we can't consciously remember how we were affected later. thoughts?
As a writer, I loved this:
"Art is a lonely calling, and yet paradoxically communal. If artists invent themselves, it is in the service of others. The work of my ...more
Her sheltered upbringing left her unprepared for the world she encountered when she began attending Bennington College in Vermont. At first shocked by the unconventionality surrounding her, Norris took refuge in poetry.
After she grad ...more