Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir

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Overview

Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir is Sr. Joan Chittister's most personal and intense writing to date. Centered around a series of conversations with spiritual writers featured in her private journal, Sr. Joan looks at the common questions or dimensions of life as we know them in our daily lives -- not answers as we've been given them -- in an attempt to unravel their many meanings, to give them flesh, to honor their spiritual import now and here, in our time and in our own lives. By sharing the questions, ...
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Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir

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Overview

Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir is Sr. Joan Chittister's most personal and intense writing to date. Centered around a series of conversations with spiritual writers featured in her private journal, Sr. Joan looks at the common questions or dimensions of life as we know them in our daily lives -- not answers as we've been given them -- in an attempt to unravel their many meanings, to give them flesh, to honor their spiritual import now and here, in our time and in our own lives. By sharing the questions, doubts, and convictions of her own heart, Chittister explores the heart of faith itself and nurtures a spirituality that pushes readers beyond superficial questioning and unexamined faith.

Following a moving prologue on the nature of faith, Called to Question is broken into six parts that explore key themes -- the inward life, immersion in life, resistance, feminist spirituality, ecology, dailiness. Within each theme is a wide array of topics that embody Sr. Joan's life's work as a sociologist, theologian, Benedictine nun, rights activist, and spiritual guide to countless people throughout the world. Alive with the raw energy of a journal and polished with the skill of a master storyteller, each chapter is an engaging dialogue between Sr. Joan and many different sources of wisdom about such topics as God's existence and call, experience, struggle, justice, the role of women and men in society and church, living through doubt, and celebrating life. Called to Question is a rare and powerful invitation to look into the center of our own souls, name our questions about God and life, admit the worst, and pursue the best -- even when we are unsure where that pursuit will take us.

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Editorial Reviews

USA Today
For Sister Joan Chittister, defiance is a form of obedience. And silence in the face of injustice is a sin.
Booklist
Chittister expertly and succinctly discusses the differences between religion, which she sees as an institution, and spirituality, which transcends dogma and creed, she says, and dwells in the heart. She reflects upon love and friendship, solitude and contemplation, power and evil, ecology and nature, and ultimately promotes a feminist spirituality to save the world from looming mass destruction.
Spirituality and Health
Inspiring and edifying spiritual memoir. Consider this work as an example of the growth and transformation that can come from reading and savoring the spiritual words of others.
Brother David Steindl-Rast
Some leading figures (like the Pope) never say, 'I don't know;' others (like the Dalai Lama) say it surprisingly often. Joan Chittister admirably demonstrates the sparkling wisdom which springs from befriending our uncertainty. Page after page, her spirited questioning makes us feel joyfully alive.
Eugene Kennedy
In Called to Question, Joan Chittister calls us to enter deeply into ourselves as she enters into herself in this memoir that bears the compelling marks of a spiritual classic of our time. Already one of the true voices of the post-Vatican II age, she speaks to us as Woman, as Church, as Spiritual Guide but, most of all, following the mystical poet Blake, in a voice that cleanses the doors of perception so that we may see the universe as it is, infinite. Joan understands that religion is not the work of the will but of the imagination and that the Church is the sacrament of the world, just as it is. Read this to know Joan Chittister better, to know yourself more truly, and to grasp the meaning of sacramental faith more deeply.
Karen Armstrong
This candid memoir takes us immediately back to the challenging spirit of the gospels. Sister Joan reminds us that we have a religious duty to question any authority, however august, and to overturn the idols of orthodoxy. This wise, charitable and humane book will give hope to anybody who has felt diminished by institutionalized religion.
Shirley Ragsdale
The book maps Chittister's 'conscious, perilous journey from religion to spirituality.'
Norwich Bulletin - Cathy Grossman
The powerhouse sister may come packaged like a powder puff—a powder-blue suit matching her powder-blue eyes. But her out spoken ways challenge any tired stereotypes of women religious, as catholic sisters and nuns are known.
U. S. Catholic - Heidi Schlumpf
This spiritual memoir is not only the story of how Chittister discovered that she was 'called to question,' but a prompting for all of us to discover that vocation within ourselves as well.
Messenger - Owen Phelps
Sister Joan's book is an inner journey of the soul.
Norwich Bulletin
The powerhouse sister may come packaged like a powder puff—a powder-blue suit matching her powder-blue eyes. But her out spoken ways challenge any tired stereotypes of women religious, as catholic sisters and nuns are known.
— Cathy Grossman
Messenger
Sister Joan's book is an inner journey of the soul.
— Owen Phelps
Usa Today
For Sister Joan Chittister, defiance is a form of obedience. And silence in the face of injustice is a sin.
U. S. Catholic
This spiritual memoir is not only the story of how Chittister discovered that she was 'called to question,' but a prompting for all of us to discover that vocation within ourselves as well.
— Heidi Schlumpf
Spirituality & Health
Inspiring and edifying spiritual memoir. Consider this work as an example of the growth and transformation that can come from reading and savoring the spiritual words of others.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580512190
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 434,019
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister, best-selling author, and a well-known national and international lecturer. In 2007 she was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award from The Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 Prologue: The Journey From Religion to Spirituality Chapter 2 Religion: A Finger Pointing at the Moon Chapter 3 Spirituality: Beyond the Boundaries of Religion Part 4 The Inward Life: A Discovery of the Obvious Chapter 5 The God Within: Whom Shall I Say Sent Me? Chapter 6 The Presence of God: The Truth That Sets Us Free Chapter 7 Prayer: Every Time I Do Get Time Chapter 8 The Call of God: An Echo in the Heart Chapter 9 Insight: The Alchemy of Experience Chapter 10 Solitude: The Balm of the Soul Chapter 11 The Self: The Ground of our Becoming Chapter 12 Commitment: The Place of Change in the Spiritual Life Chapter 13 Balance: Going Through Life Whole and Holy Chapter 14 Darkness: A Way to Light Part 15 Immersion in Life: The Other Side of Inwardness Chapter 16 Relationships: To Know and Be Known Chapter 17 Friendship: A Gift of Independence Chapter 18 Listening: The Beginning of Wisdom Part 19 Resistance: The Gospel Imperative Chapter 20 Justice: Passion for the Reign of God Chapter 21 Power in the Powerless: The Courage to Refuse Evil Part 22 Feminist Spirituality: The Coming of a New World Chapter 23 Society and Women: The Loss of the Soul Chapter 24 Men and Women: The Discovery of the Adult Chapter 25 The Church and Women: Speaking in the Name of God Part 26 Ecology: The Other Side of the Spiritual Life Chapter 27 Nature: The Voice of God Around Us Chapter 28 Creation: The Process That Never Ends Part 29 Dailiness: The Gifts of the Mundane Chapter 30 Struggle: The Search for God in Darkness Chapter 31 Joy: The God who Loves Laughter Chapter 32 Sanctity: The Task of Growing into God Part 33 Epilogue
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Monk Missile

    Chittister took to heart the advice to "know thyself," for all the years she spent in contemplation resulted in her being remarkably insightful, and - thankfully - she shares her insight. This is the third book of hers that I have read and each has been a gem. Her style is clean and easy. Yet, she often drops a bomb of logic through the use of a simple declarative sentence that will jolt you into a profound realization. You can't help but to occasionally put the book down, tilt your head back and consider her thoughts, and enjoy the gift of her giving.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A must read

    A wonderful memoir of what it means to be Christian in changing times and personal struggles. A must read for all women with questions of what it means to be a woman and a Christian. A call to Christians to examine our beliefs, our place, and our calling in life. Well written, very inspirational.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2014

    Highly Recommended

    Great memoir of an outspoken Nun who risked much to present her points of view, and was "call to question" by the Vatican.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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