Heidi's Reviews > The Cloister Walk

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
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's review
Nov 07, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, religion, religion-discipleship, from-library-umrl
Read in February, 2009

The Cloister Walk is not a linear book, although it has some organisation by date. In many ways it is like an incredibly reflective journal: not a diary or a daybook, but the journal of someone who sits down to write and simply lets their thoughts go.

I felt an initial connection to this book because of its major setting: the Benedictine Community of St John's Collegeville, Minnesota. It's a town I've driven through; I've seen their belltower from the car. I've read stories set in the University in Collegeville, and each September 11 I re-post a prayer written by one of the monks at St John's.

St John's also hosted a short-lived experimental Methodist monastic community, one whose Short-lived-ness was a huge disappointment to me. In some ways, Norris has managed to do what I wish I could do: have close links with a Benedictine community, and yet still remain a Protestant.

Despite the immediate ties I felt to this book from when I first picked it up, it took me two goes to read it. I kept getting hung up on various things, sometimes the author's attitudes (for example, a chapter I read as being an attack on the teaching profession), sometimes by the subject matter (a chapter on the Virgin Martyrs, for example).

But ultimately, I've both enjoyed it and *appreciated* it. It is now on my "want my own copy" list, because I think this is the sort of book that I could re-read frequently, and get a lot from each time.


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Reading Progress

01/19/2009 page 103
01/31/2009 page 209 "and have run up against the chapter on the Virgin Martyrs. Ugh."
02/14/2009 page 264 "and want to have it done by Ash Wednesday."
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