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Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  97 ratings  ·  22 reviews
“A lively memoir mixed with short biographies of appealing religious outcasts.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLYWith untested ideals and a thirst for adventure, Christiana Peterson and her family moved to an intentional Christian farming community in the rural Midwest. It sounded like a simple and faithful way to follow Jesus, not to mention a great place to raise kids. In Mystics and M ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 1st 2018 by Herald Press
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 ·  97 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I must start off with an apology because there are no words to clearly share how incredibly special this book was to me and how fantastically written it is. I needed this book. Thank you, Christiana Peterson, for writing Mystics and Misfits.


When I first read the synopsis for Mystics and Misfits, I was immediately intrigued. But beyond back cover overviews and enticing cover art, this book seemed to come to me at a time when I really needed it. I’ve been looking for that “more” and “deeper” in
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think what I liked most about this book is that it makes no attempt to hide the pain and disappointment that accompany one who follows Christ. Yes, of course, there are seasons of spring, full of blossoming hope and laughter. But there is the summer of backbreaking work, fall of anxiety, and interminable winters where loved ones get cancer and hopes grow brittle. There’s no “Jesus loves me so I live happily ever after.”

I can’t quite put my finger on what was lacking in the book. Perhaps it wa
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I began reading the material about St. Francis, I felt like Christiana was spot on. She took what I have read about St. Francis to a whole new level with a much greater depth of intrigue bringing thoughts to current living in intentional community. Christiana's thoughts about ministry and intentional community gripped me from the first page to the last. I confess that I internalized her stories and compared them to my own. The early years with small children and the challenges of community ...more
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I was expecting more history of mystics, and instead got a kind of memoir/autobiography of a portion of the author's life interspersed with snippets of info about some of the biggest names in Christian mysticism.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Powerful writing on saints, faith, motherhood, and the difficulty of intentional community.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite books of the year. Christiana’s story about living in community and the inspiration she finds from Christian mystics, as well as her graceful vulnerability in sharing the difficult aspects of her experience, made this an unputdownable read for me. Her writing is compelling, lyrical, and informative, and I appreciated the style of this book and how it blends theology & memoir so well.

I didn’t grow up in a tradition that introduced me to saints, and it certainly didn’t celebra
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First, I will explain my star rating system for books. A 1 is a book that I don't finish. 2 is one that I finish but wish I hadn't. A 3 is an ok book. A 4 is a book that I would recommend to others. And a 5 is a book that I would re-read. Very few books are ones that I would re-read.

I give Peterson's book a 5 because the phrases are so beautifully crafted, and the call to examine our own lives through the lives of the mystics is one that I want to and plan to revisit at various times in my own s
Keith Beasley-Topliffe
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: church-related, book
In this memoir, Christiana N Peterson weaves together three main narrative strands. The first is the story of her family's move to an intentional farming community (Mennonite inspired) and their life there. The second follows her coping with the deaths of her grandmother, her father, and several members of her community. The third is about her growing acquaintance with the stories/writings of several saints, especially Francis and Claire of Assisi, Dorothy Day, Margery Kempe, and Simone Weil and ...more
Deb Holloway
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been aware of this author’s writing for a while now through her blog, some of her articles, etc., so I’m already aware of her talents as a writer. As I started reading the book, I wondered if the unusual format of first telling a story from the life of St. Francis or another saint, then follow that narrative with one of the author’s own stories, and then ending that section with a letter to the saint would continue to work, and it did! All the way through the format worked, and I looked for ...more
Brenda Torres
Mar 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The premise of the book drew me in, but it wasn't everything I hoped it would be. Drawing on her experiences of living in intentional community and paralleling her challenges and spiritual journey to saints and mystics, Peterson provides one part memoir and one part biography, with some splashes of Christian living. But it lacked the depth I was hoping for. She got close in speaking of her struggle with anxiety, and close when pulling back the curtain on the challenges of living in close communi ...more
Annie Rim
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't often say this about a memoir, but when I finished Mystics and Misfits, I wanted to go for a walk with Christiana Peterson to get to know her more. Peterson has a gift for letting the story rest - she draws the reader into the journey but there are no neat bows at the end. She lives in the tension of being on a journey and she invites her reader generously into that space. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone on the journey of life, spirituality, and mystery.
Rachel Pieh
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book gives a good overview of the lives of the saints, through Christiana’s personal life and family journey. I skimmed some parts, but still found it an uplifting book. I especially appreciated her reflections on being a “stayer” while people came and went from their intentional living community. We feel that, as long-term expatriates, and the fulfillment and losses that are inherent in staying resonated with me.
Tim Otto
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those of us who pursue distraction, Peterson’s book is a gentle call to face the difficulty of the real. Her book invites us to a conversation between her and her crew of Mystics and Misfits as she goes through a period of loss, trouble, and failure. Peterson perseveres, and she does, her difficult curriculum leads us with her into a graced communion with the Christ.
Erin Lehman
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will be honest: I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Peterson was an unknown author to me when I picked this up on a whim in a local bookstore. I’m a huge fan of memoir, and I’d classify this as “Memoir Plus.” :) The language is rich and vibrant, and the story is powerful. It’s a short read, but a great one, and I highly recommend it!
Stefanni Lynch
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Christiana Peterson is one of the authors that has led me to read more about Christian mystics. We share a spiritual background and are graduates of the same university. She speaks of longing to immerse herself in the mysterious ways of God. This is an important book—you will be glad you read it!
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It's a really interesting interweaving of the author's personal story with her imagined conversations with various mystics. I found it to be original, moving and absorbing. I couldn't put it down.
Joy Matteson
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So glad I read this one. A beautiful, vulnerable, difficult memoir about living in community when it's good, hard, and filled with joy and suffering. Gorgeous writing. I will read anything this woman writes!
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, honest and an enjoyable read.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Only okay and probably my fault for not reading intro material. I bought as a book for bio of mystics and it is a memoir of woman occasionally mentioning misfits.
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Memoir with beautiful longings for faith and truth ... loved the interactions with the saints.
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shelved
I’m glad that many people enjoyed this as much as I have enjoyed other works by and about the saints, but this style simply did not work for me. Too many unexplained oddities slipped into journal entries as if they were normal.

Read as a memoir, not as a book about the saints.
Charlotte Donlon
rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2019
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Dec 28, 2019
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Feb 12, 2019
David Cattell
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Jul 22, 2019
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Dec 29, 2018
Idelette McVicker
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Nov 01, 2018
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Oct 23, 2018
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Jan 02, 2019
Lindsey Sullivan
rated it it was amazing
Apr 16, 2018
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