LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH by Cynthia Bourgeault

LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH

The Mystical Union of Two Souls
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Can love between two persons continue after one of them has died? This book argues that it can, based on the author’s own experience of “mystical” love with her soulmate, a Trappist monk 20 years her senior who died in late 1995. Bourgeault met Brother Raphael Robin at a Colorado monastery in 1990, when she, an Episcopal priest, was attending a prayer workshop there. When her marriage fell apart shortly thereafter, she returned to the monastery to center herself and developed a unique spiritual relationship with Rafe. The book recounts their instant soul attraction, which, while sometimes syrupy, seems genuine enough. After Rafe died of a heart attack, Bourgeault spent the night sitting beside the corpse and holding his hand. She had the profound impression that she was called to continue their relationship, to not let go—a conviction that only grew stronger as the months passed and her grief did not diminish. Bourgeault recounts experiences—in her cabin, on a beach—where she clearly heard Rafe’s voice guiding her. The book describes such “mystical unions” by drawing upon Rafe’s own wisdom (invariably dispensed while logging or fixing a snowmobile), as well as the writings of Rilke, Nouwen, the Desert Fathers, and some more recent Christian mystics. An explanatory afterword highlights the books Bourgeault used to understand mystical union, but readers might be forgiven for remaining skeptical that such unions take place.

Pub Date: Sept. 29th, 1999
ISBN: 0-609-60473-2
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Bell Tower/Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999