Monastic life and its counter-cultural wisdom come alive in the stories and lessons of Br. Paul Quenon, O.C.S.O., during his more than five decades as a Trappist at the Abbey of Gethsemani. He served as a novice under Thomas Merton and he also welcomed some of the monastery's more well-known visitors, including Sr. Helen Prejean and Seamus Heaney, to Merton's hermitage. In Praise of the Useless Life includes Quenon's quiet reflections on what it means to live each day with careful attentiveness.
The humble peace and simplicity of the monastery and of Quenon's daily life are beautifully portrayed in this memoir. Whether it be through the daily routine of the monastery, his love of the outdoors no matter the season, or his lively and interesting conversations with visitors (reciting Emily Dickinson with Pico Iyer, discussing Merton and poetry with Czeslaw Milosz), Quenon's gentle musings display his love for the beauty in his vocation and the people he’s encountered along the way.
Inspired by his novice master Merton, the poet and photographer’s stories remind us that the beauty of life can best be seen in the "uselessness" of daily life—having a quiet chat with a friend, spending time in contemplation—in our vocations, and in the memories we make along the way.
|Publisher:||Ave Maria Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Pico Iyer is a British author and Time magazine essayist who lives in Japan.
Table of Contents
Foreword Pico Iyer xi
Introduction to the Circle Dance 1
A Life of Song and Music 10
Thomas Merton, Novice Master 23
Nature, My Guru 41
A Week at the Hermitage 53
Our Golden Age of Hermitages 61
Prayer Nurtures Poetry 79
Battle of Wits with a Mockingbird 84
Emily Dickinson, Soul Sister 90
Contemplation and the Camera 99
Merton's Death as Seen from the Home Grounds 109
Unexpected Visitors 119
Final Judgment 130