The Calling

  • by Catherine Whitney
  • Narrated by Susie Breck
  • 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

There is something vital and totally relevant about the religious life as practiced by nuns today. There is a reason why we are fascinated by these women who maintain a mysterious aura, even when they are no longer cloaked in the garb of old. What draws women to this sacrificial life? What is the gratification that comes from taking vows of poverty, chastity and obedience? How can a woman pursue full status in an environment that many deem misogynistic? What are the secret struggles and fears that wage battle behind the serene exterior?People are endlessly fascinated by the mystery of nuns as they walk among us in the world.In The Calling, Catherine Whitney follows the daily routine of a Dominican community for a year. She reveals a rare inside view of these lives of devotion, while answering the questions that most fascinate the lay public. The Calling is Whitney's search for answers from a community that has existed for centuries but is still evolving. The story contains elements of romance, personal heroism, suffering, existential anxiety, and boundless joy. It is a human tale cloaked in a superhuman mantle.

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Customer Reviews

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The Calling

The subtitle of this book is quite misleading. Halfway through the book we have yet to begin the year-long journey with the nuns. The book is more a memoir of the author's life than anything else, and that is not why I purchased this book. I purchased the book out of an interest in the lives of those who chose religious vocation as a lifestyle. I have no interest in the author's life, and she doesn't convince me that I should.
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- Aaron

Misleading title

Once I accepted the listen for what it is, it became an entertaining light read. I had expected a more academic, documentary type audiobook or a deeper spiritual meditation; however, this was a personal memoir as entry into and exploration of the subject, and as a reviewer below states, the subtitle is misleading. It's as much an overview of growing up Catholic, American style, in 60s and 70s told in a chatty magazine style as an explanation of "the call." The last hour and a half were interesting, but mostly superficial reflection. A listener looking for a deeper book on "the call" to spiritual life might do better to download Thomas Moore's "Meditations for the Monk who Dwells in Everyday Life" or James Finlay's "Meditation for Christians" or Kathleen Norris'"Cloister Walk."

I almost stopped the listen during the first hour because of the description of dreary and authoritarian 1960s Catholicism (well, much of it was dreary and authoritarian, but there was also the Vatican II wind blowing at the time, mention of which the author omits until 2 hours into her fundamentalist and parochial version of Catholicism). The author becomes a bit more comprehensive later in her narrative as she updates herself on contemporary expressions of Catholicism, but never gets beyond light weight magazine depth.

Because of the changing time frames in the narrative, a listener who doesn't know the difference between pre and post Vat II religious life might not be able to sort out when anecdotes happened and misconstrue post Vat II Catholicism and community life of nuns.
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- connie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2008
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio