April 4 issue of the Century offers Ruth Burrows's witness to her life as a
contemplative Carmelite; it also includes an homage to a community
of students shaped by their experience with Trappist monks, which in turn shaped Faith Matters writer Stephanie Paulsell in her
faith and thinking.
Yet Carmelite, Benedictine, Trappist and other
monastic communities find themselves in a precarious place these days, with many
of them closed or closing. Must we lose these Catholic (and Protestant) communities before we
realize that they are a profound presence
to those of us out wandering in the world?
Art and religion, in their different ways, seek to find the center of things, the reality at the heart of the concrete. At times, they meet. Mark Salzman explores contemplative prayer in his brief, beautifully written third novel. It's the story of Sister John of the Cross, a member of a Carmelite monastery outside Los Angeles.