Domestic Monastery

Ronald Rolheiser
ISBN: 978-0232534122
Darton, Longman & Todd 2019
Paperback 89 pp £6.99
Pastoral Review bookshop £6.30

I begin this review with a confession. I received this book just before Christmas, read it on a grey misty day, made some notes for review, and then put it aside. The Christmas festivities and work demands took up my attention from there, and then the Covid crisis hit. In many ways, this has proved providential. For if Fr Rolheiser’s new book was relevant BC (before Covid), it is essential reading AC (after Covid). His premise is simple: he hopes to persuade us that ‘monasticism’, ‘silent retreat’ and ‘spiritual seclusion’ are not just for a cloistered elite but are accessible and even essential for all, especially those with busy family and work lives. To this end, he weaves a short punchy text that is charmingly illustrated with old woodblock drawings and etchings (no references given, alas). Those familiar with Fr Rolheiser’s style already – straightforward and honest spiritual reflections founded on good learning and often delivering a punch at the end – will not be disappointed.

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