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From the Publisher
This little gem of a book delivers all that it promises, and considerably more. . . . The author writes clearly and concisely, making it easy to concentrate on the text and ideas. This little volume would serve nicely both for spiritual reading and for an introduction to the spirituality of Early Christian women ascetics.
American Benedictine Review
This book is a very interesting and stimulating source not only for learning about a part of the history of the church which has been little emphasized, but also as a source for promoting the continuing value of the work of the ancient ammas for spiritual guidance in a modern world.
. . . many will find this resource a valuable source of inspiration and prayerful reflection on women’s faithful lives, both ancient and modern. It is a text that could well be used for classroom use in Christian spirituality, in the history of early Christianity, and in the dynamics of Christian prayer. The faith, especially of these ancient and courageous desert women, inspires admiration and at times awe. That Forman has provided a way for ordinary Christians to reclaim their stories and to embrace them in prayer is a great service.
New Theology Review
Mary Forman is an outstanding teacher. She has honed the skill she exhibits in this precious book by teaching both undergraduate and graduate students for many years.
The author interprets for us both what is said and what is hidden in layers of patriarchal and cultural perspectives. She has an outstanding command of the language of story and the anecdotes of desert spirituality. She gets to the heart of the meanings for us today and invites us to enter into these stories, letting them stand in their authenticity without imposing on them our contemporary overlays of psychology, sociology, theology, and spirituality.
Modern readers will enjoy getting acquainted with wise and holy ammas such as Sarah, Theodora, Syncletica, Melania, and others. An extensive bibliography is included for those interested in further exploration of this fascinating and largely neglected part of our spiritual heritage.
This book is an excellent read for all pastors, male or female, because it invites us into the desert with the ammas, into their Wisdom, and to explore our own faith by daring to be contemplative.
Prudence T. Wood, Trinity Seminary Review
One thing that I especially like about this book is its profound reflection on lived experience. Mary Forman is able to go back into her long experience in her monastery (Saint Gertrude’s, Idaho) and pull up fascinating and moving examples of modern ammas in out Benedictine convents. I think she shows clearly enough that the days of the Desert Mothers are by no means over.
Cistercian Studies Quarterly