The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles

The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles

by Mary Swander


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The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles by Mary Swander

Mary Swander was a lapsed Catholic content with the solitude and tenuous spirituality of a life tied to the Iowa prairie and its seasons. But when a car accident left her paralyzed and in chronic pain with no medical cure in sight, she was forced to look inside herself for strength and for meaning. In The Desert Pilgrim she chronicles her miraculous physical recovery and her even more astonishing restoration of faith in the modern world.
It is when she arrives to teach at the University of New Mexico that Mary's journey begins in earnest. In Albuquerque she encounters Father Sergei, a Russian Orthodox monk whose barrio church is hidden away on the once-proud Route 66, now the terrain of crack dealers and the homeless. She meets a curandera, "Lu," an herbal healer whose little pharmacy's first owner rode with Pancho Villa. Together these two will lead her to confront her growing distrust of medical and spiritual authority, and her own dark night of the soul. Evocatively and reflectively written, The Desert Pilgrim weaves together history, herbal medicine, physical healing, and what it means-in this modern age-to believe

Author Biography: Mary Swander, whose eight books include Out of This World: A Journey of Healing, is a widely published poet and essayist, a Whiting Award winner, and a regular commentator on National Public Radio in Iowa and the Southwest. Swander teaches at Iowa State University and lives in Ames and Kalona, Iowa.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781888160338
Publisher: Ice Cube Press
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Pages: 295
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mary Swander is an award-winning poet and essayist and the author of eight works of nonfiction. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, New Republic, and USA Today. A regular commentator on Iowa Public Radio, Swander teaches at Iowa State University


Ames, Iowa

Date of Birth:

November 5, 1950

Place of Birth:

Carroll, Iowa


B.A., Iowa State University, 1973; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1976

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