THE GENESEE DIARY: Report from a Trappist Monastery by Henri J. M. Nouwen

THE GENESEE DIARY: Report from a Trappist Monastery

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A well-known writer, lecturer, and teacher on Christian spirituality, Fr. Nouwen discovered his cluttered life lacking in the intimacy with God vital to his vocation and seized the opportunity to become a temporary Trappist. This diary of his seven-month experience sheds some light on the simple richness of the monks' lives and on the benefits and difficulties of centering a modern life in God; but it holds an equal store of trivial information and undeveloped thoughts. An interesting theme dominates: freed from the entanglements of his regular life and caught up in the sacral rhythm of monastic existence (liturgy, prayer, reading, manual labor), he finds himself increasingly emptied and exposed--quiet enough to hear God's voice, but acutely vulnerable also to his own raw feelings. The astute abbot serves as spiritual guide, suggesting how Nouwen might cultivate this contemplative vulnerability and preserve it when he returns to the world. Ultimately the diary format proves too lax to offer a compelling statement, and the volume ends up as suggestive notes for an unwritten book.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1976
Publisher: Doubleday