Inside the School of Charity:
Lessons from the Monastery
ABOUT THE BOOK – 237 pages
Drawing on her journals from living inside the enclosure of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey (a community of twenty Cistercian nuns) for three months in 2003, her reflections on the unexpected challenges and insights that emerged during that time, and on her own experience as a professional woman, wife, daughter, and mother, Trisha Day delves into the questions of how the centuries-old wisdom of monastic life can challenge, inspire, and guide those living outside the monastery. Filled with stories from her own life and fascinating details of daily life in the monastery, her book is sure to strike a spark with all those seeking to live in a fully human and Christ-centered way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – a very good friend!
To review a book written by a very dear friend is a very difficult task.
These will be just a few reactions. First, it took me a while to read the book, because I enjoyed it very much and did not want to reach the last page too soon. So I read a bit every day, like a time to spend with a friend.
Having experienced both sides of the fence, if I dare use the image, I can say Trisha did a fantastic bridge work between both worlds, first as she brings her worldly – please don’t take it in the derogatory sense – concerns to the monastery, and at the end of the 3 months the other way around, trying to integrate what she learned and experienced into her daily life at home. And in between, all her observations and reflections as she seeks to adapt herself authentically to the daily monastic life.
This is a very rich work that points deeply to the fact that the monastic way of life and the married life are not THAT different. They have indeed a lot in common if they are both lived purposely, in union with God, following the path of Christ. If some people think this can only happen in a monastery, Trisha’s testimony shows them this is not the case.
I loved very much the part where she ponders on the parallel between the vows of the monastics and those one pronounces at the wedding service in church.
Trisha, as well as her husband, is a very spiritual and deep person. It’s a delight to gain from her life lessons in this book.
She has a great blog that I recommend.
If you are curious about the Lay Cistercians, men and women who try to live the Cistercian charism in their everyday life, there are right now officially 16 groups in the US. Here is the link to the one in Iowa: The Associates of The Iowa Cistercians – website designed by Trisha’s husband, a great web designer.
They exist worldwide: The International Association of Lay Cistercian Communities – 63 official groups to this day. Once you click on this link, click on the Communities Tab, and then on ‘Order by Country’, in the left menu.
REVIEWS BY OTHERS
Trisha’s experience is certainly not limited to her three months with the sisters from Mississippi Abbey. She, and her husband Denny, have extensive experience planning numerous retreats, as well. Her reflections are thoughtful, compassionate, and insightful. I greatly appreciated her parallel between monastic and married life. There is much to be learned from the monastic experience in learning how to have a more spiritual marriage. I found her book to be richly rewarding and highly recommend it!
HAVE YOU EVER SPENT SOME TIME OF SILENT RETREAT
IN A MONASTERY? ANY FRUIT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
DO YOU FEEL LIKE READING THIS BOOK?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN A COMMENT PLEASE
Emma, thank you so much for that wonderful review of my book! You are indeed a very dear friend and your warm and affirming words mean more to me than you’ll ever know!
You are welcome Trisha, my pleasure. I can indeed send you back the same compliment 😉
Thank you for this review, and especially for highlighting it on your “Back to School” guest post. I would love to read Trisha’s insights into attempting to live day by day with a Christ-centered focus, in both monastic and married life.
I think you would love it, it is a wonderful book indeed