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Praying with the Desert Mothers

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Fourth- and fifth-century desert mothers in the Mediterranean region, known as ammas (spiritual mothers), were the founders of Christian community in the early church. Praying with the Desert Mothers introduces the lives, sayings, and stories of these remarkable spiritual elders. It enriches readers' lives and compels them to return in meditation and prayer. For each topic a true story is drawn from a modern persona's experience of seeking God. This tapestry of stories of the desert ammas is woven together with theological insights, discussion of genres of literature, historical views on women, and reflective approaches to the wisdom tradition. Praying with the Desert Mothers combines scholarship and reflection for praying, meditating, and living the wisdom of spiritual practices today. Chapters are Introduction to the Desert Mothers, Ammas as Midwives of Wisdom, Ammas as Scripture Scholars, Heralds in the Desert, Desert as Idyllic Garden, The Peal of Great Price, Humility and the Manifestation of Thoughts, Penthos and Tears, Signs of Conversion, The Hidden Life, Prayer and Hospitality; and concludes with The Visitation and a complete bibliography on the desert ammas. Mary Forman, OSB, PhD, (1947-2023) a Benedictine from the Monastery of Saint Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho, was an assistant professor of theology at the School of Theology, Seminary and the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

120 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2005

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Keith.
331 reviews8 followers
May 15, 2017
There isn't much out there on the Desert Mothers. Mary Forman does a great job of bringing their lives and exhortations together in a meaningful and formative way. Each chapter focuses on a different virtue, beginning with a devotional Scripture reading and prayer before getting into the teaching for that particular area. She shares the teaching and example of the desert Ammas along with a contemporary example, often from her own life as a Benedictine. Finally, it closes with a reflective prayer practice based on one's own life experience.

Forman does a great job of not only exemplifying the life and teachings of the Ammas, but also helping you to experience the reality of the practices for yourself.

Profile Image for Ali.
240 reviews6 followers
June 2, 2018
Mary Forman presents stories of the desert mothers according to themes such as Midwives of Wisdom and Heralds in the Desert, along with a contemporary example often from Forman’s own experience in monastic communities. Each chapter begins with a scripture reference and ends with an invitation the spend time in prayer and reflection on the chapter’s theme. I did not always look up the scripture reference nor did I take time to reflect after reading the chapter. Still I found it valuable and a different way to think about the sayings of the desert mothers. Forman’s writing has an amateurish quality to it which I found distracting at first. I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire this book, but I’m glad I read it. It definitely gave me a hankering for the desert fathers and mothers!
Profile Image for Julia.
146 reviews1 follower
January 7, 2017
I read this for class. I had to do a quick reading of it for an assignment, I would have liked to take my time with it and spaced it out. I like the set-up with the mix of ancient and contemporary with reflection questions and prayers
Profile Image for Sarah Yasin.
Author 8 books11 followers
March 18, 2016
This book is scholarly and more serious than others on the topic of Ammas. It contains reflection exercises which are nice, but I feel they take away from the importance of the book.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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