In this meditative spiritual memoir, celebrated PBS religion journalist and poet Judith Valente invites readers along on her transformative pilgrimages to a monastery in Atchison, Kansas.
A monastery is like a mirror we hold up to the soul. It reflects back to us our weaknesses, struggles, flaws. But by looking deeply into that mirror, we can come face-to-face with an answer.
"Seldom is 'spiritual' reading so readable as it is here! There will be very few who would not find her journey helpful to their own." Read what Richard Rohr and others are saying about the new book, Atchison Blue.
When religion journalist Judith Valente traveled from her home in Chicago to the sleepy town of Atchison, Kansas to lead a retreat for busy professionals at a 150-year Benedictine monastery, she never expected she'd become the student.
Award winning Journalist, Poet, Author and Producer Judith Valente offers intervals of silence, contemplation and contemporary spirituality to busy professionals all over the world.
I used to think monasteries were hopeless throwbacks to the past. Now I see them as windows to the future, a future our world desperately needs.
Valente details her Benedictine companions in affection and a bit of awe, and the reader begins to feel like an intimate, as well. The book sucks you in like that. It is like a lighted candle placed between two friends, illuminating each so one may better appreciate and know them.
In the final analysis, Atchison Blue is a love story between one woman and monasticism. It is the tale of her homecoming to wholeness in the contemplative life at a Benedictine monastery.
Atchison Blue is a story of struggle, of questioning, of seeking. It's a tale of lost and found, with a Benedictine monastery at the center.
The healing and guidance we need, Valente aptly notes, may come from "simply listening to the voice of God." In opening to this voice, we don't retreat from the world but experience what Valente calls "the mysticism of everyday life."
As I read this deliciously peaceful book, it occurs to me that one of the great gifts Christianity has given the world is that of self-reflection and humility.
I am struck once again with the multitude of ways, times and styles of God's seeking and finding us, whether or not we know we are looking. Valente's narrative offers a perspective full of hope and promise.
When we observe the spiritual lives of others who are ahead of us in certain areas, it casts an inspiring light on our own spiritual life.This is why reading spiritual biographies are so important. Women and men need mentors . . . we need spiritual heroes. This is what we find in Atchinson Blue.
Valente's candor about her sinfulness was something I found refreshing in this book. As a result, her slow, halting steps toward conversatio feel hard-earned and real and not just spiritual idealism.