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Discernment is a different animal than decision. Decision is to make a choice. Discernment is the process of making that choice. Sometimes the process is quick and simple; others it is protracted and painful. Jane Christmas’ takes the reader on the road with her when at age 57 she tries to discern if she is called to a religious life.
Jane is born and raised in Canada to a Roman Catholic mother and Anglican father. She is raised with a foot in both faiths. Her father, light years ahead of his generation, exposes her to many different faiths and teaches her to respect all people’s beliefs. As she grows up she chooses the Anglican Church as her home and raises her children Anglican.
There is a very interesting discussion about the weakness of the Anglican Church. It was started as the Church of England by Henry VIII when he broke away from Rome in his quest to marry Anne Boleyn. In England and its former territories it is known as the Anglican Church. In the United States it is the Episcopal Church. The weakness that the author points out is it is a religion governed by committee. There is not one central figure. The church’s beliefs have evolved to different principles in different areas. She also talks about how decisions are debated for decades before a vague statement is released which in turn is debated further. I found this peek into the Anglican world fascinating.
Jane visits several different groups, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, to try to discern whether she is being called to be a nun. I found it interested that she did not feel called to the priesthood since the Anglican Church does ordain women. Her discernment process involves cloistered groups and groups that work directly with the public.
All this would be a very straight forward story of “will she or will she not” become a nun except her life has anything but straightforward. She has been divorced twice, has grown children and accepted a marriage proposal shortly before embarking on her spiritual journey. The main challenge Jane deals with is not the obedience or poverty or even chastity expected of a nun. It is that the discernment process sheds light on a long buried traumatic event and Jane must deal with it in order to move forward.
Elizabeth Wiley does a fantastic job narrating. Her voice is clear and pleasant to listen to. She does a wonderful job of conveying Jane’s fear, uncertainty and curiosity. She also does a great job with the many accents involved, men and women both. The best part of Ms. Wiley’s narrating is that I really got a sense of who Jane is as a person. She seemed to have a little bit of mischievousness to her. I think I would enjoy having coffee and chocolate biscuits with her. The production quality was very good.
Audiobook was provided for review by the publisher.
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7 of 9 people found this review helpful
Loved it. I myself plan to join an Orthodox Women's Monastery next year. This book helped me to think deeply about the monastic life and life in the world. Since befriending a couple of sisterhood's a few years ago, I should think many more women would take this path if they were aware of it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful