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Many centuries ago the ancient Desert Fathers and Mothers moved into the wilderness, leaving behind the compulsions of the world in order to draw near to God. For Mary Lou Kownacki, a Benedictine nun and long-time peacemaker, her wilderness is the inner city of Erie, Pennsylvania, surrounded by poor families trying to survive and keep hope alive amidst drugs, violence, and despair. From this outpost on the margins, she observes the world in poetic meditations, written with the passion of a prophet and the heart of a mystic. "I write about days when spiritual security, not fear, was a neighborhood's gift to children. It is one way of trying to stretch my monks robe until it embraces the suffering world."
Mary Lou Kownacki, a Benedictine nun in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the former executive director of the Alliance for International Monasticism USA. In 2006 she was honored by Pax Christi USA as their Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace. Her books include Between Two Souls: Conversations with Ryokan, named by Spirituality & Health as one of the best books of 2004.