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Sisters: Lives of Devotion and Defiance

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Whether we grew up Catholic or not, many of us have long been fascinated by nuns. Here are women whose commitment to living a spiritual life is central to their existence. Nuns in their habits, however, have been replaced in recent years by a radically different community of women. Who are these modern nuns? How has this 1,700-year-old sisterhood responded to the challenge of feminism and other liberation movements? Where are nuns headed and what do they want? Sisters is a compelling portrait of nuns in America ...
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Overview

Whether we grew up Catholic or not, many of us have long been fascinated by nuns. Here are women whose commitment to living a spiritual life is central to their existence. Nuns in their habits, however, have been replaced in recent years by a radically different community of women. Who are these modern nuns? How has this 1,700-year-old sisterhood responded to the challenge of feminism and other liberation movements? Where are nuns headed and what do they want? Sisters is a compelling portrait of nuns in America today, their rich history and evolving vocation. Julia Lieblich focuses on the lives of four of the Catholic Church's most progressive sisters. Through their stories we come to understand some of the strongest voices of devotion and defiance in the Roman Catholic Church today. Sister Darlene Nicgorski defied the U.S. government to aid men and women fleeing persecution in Central America. Convicted for her activities in a widely publicized trial, she ultimately risked her own life so that others might be saved. Sister Donna Quinn made national headlines in 1984 when she was disciplined for signing the New York Times ad calling for dialogue on abortion. Today, she continues to press for equality for women within the Church. Sister Catherine O'Reilly is a contemplative nun. Secluded in a cloistered convent, she is no less an activist: she accomplishes her important work through prayer. Sister Mary Aileen Dame, the most "traditional" nun in the book, underwent the most radical transformation, moving from obedience to activism while doctoring the poor in the barrios of Latin America. The power of Sisters resides in the storytelling, in the gradual unfolding of these lives of faith. We hear each nun talk about such intimate matters as celibacy, childlessness, abortion, and mental illness, and we listen in as each woman discusses her struggle with faith, her notions of prayer, and her changing concept of God. When Lieblich set out to write Sisters she thought,
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lieblich discovered among modern nuns not only the centrality of their spiritual lives but also ``a commitment to social justice rarely equaled in secular life,'' whether they serve God in the cloister or the barrio. Her warmly sympathetic account of four particular women chronicles what motivated them to become nuns and what shapes their evolving spirituality. One of the four contributes to the sanctuary movement, another serves as a physician among the poor in Latin America, while a third calls for reproductive freedom and equal rights for women in the Catholic church. The fourth finds in the contemplative life an opportunity to serve God and others through prayer. A sometimes surprising, always intriguing picture emerges through these luminous profiles. Sisters is recommended for public libraries.-- Cynthia Widmer, Downingtown, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345372994
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/25/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Preface
Ch. 1 Sisters: Then and Now 3
Ch. 2 Revolution of the Heart: A Missionary Comes of Age 30
Ch. 3 Take Back the Church: A Feminist Defies Rome 86
Ch. 4 House of the Spirit: A Contemplative Finds Her Voice 155
Ch. 5 Daughter of Prophecy: An Activist Takes the Lead 203
Ch. 6 Surviving the Revolution: Sisters of the Future 282
Notes 293
Index 315
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