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The Chosen Shell

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"The Chosen Shell opens at a time of profound change in the nation and the Catholic Church. Its young heroine, Celie O’Rourke, is caught between a desire to live a life of divine purpose and a yearning for human love and connection. Author Katherine Sartori, once a nun herself, follows Celie’s journey from vulnerable adolescent to empowered adult with sensitive and poignan ...more
Paperback, 316 pages
Published December 14th 2012 by Dream Traveler Press (first published January 19th 2012)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Mary Gottschalk
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Chosen Shell follows a naïve young Catholic girl who puts her future in the hands of her God when she decides not only to enter the nunnery but also to join an Augustinian order of nuns that lived (in the 1960’s) largely in solitude and silence when they were not teaching.

It is a beautifully written novel that takes us through Celia O’Rourke’s initial doubts about her “calling”, her gradual disillusionment with convent life, and her struggle to define the path that will allow her to use her
...more
Janie
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Janie by: Kas
In the summer of 1963, a recent high school graduate, says good bye to her family, boyfriend, and secular life, determined "to make a difference, to help those in need" by entering the convent. Over the next few years she manages to accomplish those goals, making a meaningful difference in the lives of new immigrant families, helping to teach children struggling with language and learning challenges, creating a teaching guide for the benefit of her peers. But while these successes mount, she is ...more
Craig
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed “The Choosen Shell” and find in it a story of a young women coming to terms with her own identity. Raised in a large religious Catholic family, Celie, the main character serves what she believes is her calling.
The author’s insights into the inner workings and culture of a covenant life are fascinating and intriguing.
Her relationship with her fellow sister, Lupe, is deeply touching and heartfelt.
Celie’s passion for her writing and teaching come through in a genuine way.
This book
...more
Diane
Apr 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Chosen Shell is a very tender story of a young nun conflicted by the changes in the church from Vatican II & other personal issues. The reader gets drawn into the story of how Celie becomes a nun, her friends in the convent, her work with children & immigrants. This is not a Church-bashing story, but it does confront some realities of the religious life that some people would rather ignore. This is the story of a girl who was braver than she knew, a girl who faced down her superiors, a girl ...more
Sonia Marsh
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Chosen Shell" opens our eyes to what life is like for a young woman who has chosen to become a nun. All the emotions and struggles Celie O'Rourke goes through, answers the questions women, both young and older, may ask themselves.
Katherine Sartori makes us feel like we are next to Celie O'Rourke, throughout the entire story. There are times when I want to tell Celie, come on, share more of yourself, be more open, and that tension makes the reader want to continue reading, and find out what
...more
Marsha
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a story about a young woman who hears the call of God on her life and wants to make a difference. She joins a convent but after a while the turmoil in the church makes her question her calling. I highly recommend this book. It is one I found hard to put down and was actually upset when I finished it. I wanted to to keep going on. I am hoping the author writes another one soon. I will be keeping an eye out for more from Katherine Satori.
Ron
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Sartori takes us into a little known world and lets us feel the passion of her characters. Yes, every catholic should read this novel and every woman contemplating entering the convent. I will long remember the lessons Celie O'Rourke learned the hard way and love that Katherine had the courage to tell us how it really is behind those secret doors. ...more
Heidi
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

An interesting story about a girl feeling the need to fulfill her calling to God by becoming a nun after she graduates high school. We follow her through her struggles and joys of being a nun and find out in the end if she continues to do God's work or if she leaves to pursue other interests she has.
...more
Jasmine
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, "The Chosen Shell" by Katherine Sartori. This story is about a woman who receives an inner call from God to serve mankind by becoming a nun in an Augustinian convent. After several years, however, she feels she has another purpose in life. Highly recommended! ...more
Don Westenhaver
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Chosen Shell is a thought-provoking mix of at least four genres: memoir, romance, spirituality, and historical. Celie O’Rourke enters a convent of nuns immersed in silent spirituality. Her love of God gives her strength to endure the loneliness of a meditative life. She’s torn by doubts about her decision to become a nun.

I usually read thrillers, but after the first few pages I was hooked by this novel. For one thing the story resonated with my own Catholic upbringing in 1960’s California. M
...more
Penelope
I often wondered what happened to nuns after they took temporary vows. Being Catholic, I had a brief fling with the Church and some of my closest friends decided to become nuns. That was in the ‘50s, just before Vatican II and the loosening of the Catholic Church. The nuns I met during my 8 years of education by them were very human and my biggest complaint was the emphasis on religion vs. other studies. This book gave me the opportunity to see, through the eyes of Celia O’Rourke what indeed hap ...more
Aurora
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Name of Book: The Chosen Shell

Author: Katherine Sartori

ISBN: 9780988374607

Publisher: Dream Traveler Press

Type of book: Nuns, monastery, Catholicism, friendship, be true to self, religion, 1963-1968, family, sisterhood, hidden self

Year it was published: 2012

Summary:

"The Chosen Shell opens at a time of profound change in the nation and the Catholic Church. Its young heroine, Celie O’Rourke, is caught between a desire to live a life of divine purpose and a yearning for human love and connection. A
...more
Sherrey
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Sartori opens a cache of experiences and shares them with her readers through the fictional story of Celie O'Rourke, a young girl who enters a convent in the tumultuous 1960s. Celie's eyes become our eyes as we live her day-by-day existence inside the walls of the convent.

Sartori brings to the page characters so vivid and alive the reader feels as if he or she is living with them. One can feel pulses race, hearts beat, tears fill eyes. An example of her gift of character development is
...more
Christy
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Chosen Shell is a beautifully written novel about a young girl in the 1960s who enters a convent after feeling God calling her to the life of a nun. Her life in the church and the influence of several nuns cause her to believe that she has been called to give her life to serving others. Whether God was calling her to be a nun or whether it was the recruiting by the sisters that led Celie to believe she should be a nun is explored in the novel.

I think that while it's fine for those in religi
...more
S.L. Berry
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
After the onslaught from a vocal and sometimes impertinent media about the troubled state of the Vatican and Catholicism, Katherine Sartori’s The Chosen Shell is a nice surprise. It is not as in-your-face flashy as some books and television series like the Borgia’s are, though that is not to say that there are not a few gritty scenes. The sincerity and genuineness of Satori’s voice comes through the narrative in a way that does not cover up what so many non-believers (and some believers) find hy ...more
Kathleen Pooler
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Sartori’s coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s search for herself within the confines of a convent in the 60s was so compelling and well-written that I read it on two sittings. Actually, I felt like I devoured it.

Since I grew up as a Catholic in the 60s I could easily relate to the pressures and struggles of her protagonist, Celia O’Rourke as the Church experienced massive changes in protocol subsequent to Vatican II. Though I never felt the calling to become a nun, I was always c
...more
Susan Weidener
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story of Celia O'Rourke is the story of an idealistic naive girl who by her own admission finds her decision to become a nun "impossible to comprehend." Yet, follow the calling she does despite the attention of a young man who hands her a dozen long-stemmed red roses before she leaves for the convent, pulling at her heartstrings.

This sets the pattern of much of what follows in the book - Celia's desire to help others and serve God, contrasted with her love of romance, poetry, and, yes, long
...more
Kathy Pratt
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Celia O’Rourke, a young woman just out of high school, feels she is called to serve God by becoming a nun, like the nuns who’d taught her all through school. In reality, Celie is just a girl. A girl who doesn’t recognize the warnings going off inside telling her this may not be what she’s meant to do with her life. Celie’s first love is writing, but that isn’t the focus in the Covent. She also struggles with thoughts of having a romantic relationship with a man, and having a “real” family. In ad ...more
Leslie Manning
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Celie O'Rourke has found what she believes to be her true calling. But at what cost?

The 1960's play an important backdrop as Celie moves through the strict and papal rules of the Augustinian Order where she has made her vows with Christ. And Celie is a superior nun. She is respected by the other Sisters. She is awe-inspiring to the children she teaches. She offers advice to those in need while quelling her own uncertainties.

But things aren't what they seem, as Celie soon discovers. A handsome st
...more
Kailey
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a first reads book. I enjoyed it very much. It was way different than anything I have ever read before. Katherine Sartori did an amazing job writing this. I really felt for Celie.
Celie O’Rourke became a nun because she believed it was her calling. After facing many obstacles, she realizes that it may not be her true calling. She feels like something is missing. She has to come to terms with whether or not the lifestyle of being a nun is what she really wants or if she is
...more
Dolores Else
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Katherine Sartori takes us into a little known world of an Augustinian order of nuns and lets us feel the passion of her character, Celie O'Rourke, who enters the convent at a tender age. Yes, every woman should read this novel and every woman contemplating entering the convent.

I will long remember the struggles and lessons Celie O'Rourke learned the hard way and love that Katherine had the courage to tell us through her own life experiences how life really is behind those secret doors.
...more
Peggy Scheurich
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I grew up in the 60's and went to a catholic all 12 years. So many things I could relate to.
It was well written and it was a book you can't wait to pick back up and read.
I usually read one fiction and then one non fiction each month. This was a fun book for me.
But I also felt it was so close to being nonfiction. I do hope Katherine will write another book soon.
A very good read . . . Enjoy


I am lending it to many of my friends! You will too!






...more
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THE CHOSEN SHELL 5-Star Rating on Amazon!

Celie O'Rourke wants to live a life of divine purpose, yet desperately yearns for human love and connection in a convent during the 1960s. Tony, a street-smart New Yorker, and her charasmatic Superior, Sister Gerald, vie for for this young woman's attentions in a debut novel by Katherine Sartori, who was once a nun herself.

Sartori has created a fictional st
...more

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