Joan Chittister

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“Sister Joan Chittister is one of the most powerful women I know. Her power does not come from wealth, celebrity, or office. It is the power that comes from her presence, from values, from beliefs, from within. In this biography, Tom Roberts reveals the long journey she took to find that power. It is a must-read for anyone expanding their faith.” —Maria Shriver

“With keen journalistic acumen, Tom Roberts chronicles the life of one of the most beloved spiritual leaders of our times. Along the way, we learn not only about Sr. Joan Chittister’s graced journey but also about the evolution of the Erie Benedictines, post-Vatican II religious life, and the struggle for women’s equality in the Catholic Church. Beautifully wrought, Roberts has the biographer’s gift of invisibly shaping his material, allowing Chittister’s piercing, prophetic life to illuminate – and inspire. A wonderful book!” —Christine Schenk, CSJ founding director, Future Church

“I love the stellar witness of this woman! A more faithful, authentic, sustained voice calling for full inclusion of women in the Catholic Church cannot be found. And what a fascinating bud-to-flower woman's life story lies within these pages. I read it deep into the night, long after good sense told me to go to sleep. That's Chittister for you—waking us up and keeping us awake to the radical call of the Gospel.” —Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ author, Dead Man Walking

From prize-winning journalist Tom Roberts, an intimate biography of Joan Chittister— Benedictine nun and writer, a leading voice for spiritual renewal, a prophetic champion of peace and justice, a champion of the role of women in the church and the world.

Journalist Tom Roberts is editor-at-large for the National Catholic Reporter, where he has worked for the past twenty years. Previously he worked for ten years as news editor at the Religion News Service. His previous Orbis book, The Emerging Catholic Church: A Community’s Search for Itself, won the Religious Newswriters’ Association Book Award, as well as two Catholic Press Association awards. He lives in metropolitan Washington, DC.

Book Details

Joan Chittister
Her Journey from Certainty to Faith
Tom Roberts
Photos, index
Whoever is cognisant of how structures have been giving way to networks, conformity to individual initiative, institutional allegiance to deep spirituality, will find the story of Joan Chittister and the Erie Benedictine community deeply absorbing.
One of the pleasures of this book is appreciating Sister Chittister's evolution into the remarkably gifted leader she is. . . . a satisfying biography of a Benedictine woman, her community and her church.
A definitive biography....This book serves as a useful introduction to an important spiritual figure. It also works to deepen her readers' perspectives on her life, and to whet the appetite for seeing how the octogenarian feminist religious leader and her cohort continue to shape the monastic tradition in postmodern relief.
This biography will appeal to a wide range of readers. Older readers will be able to identify with historical aspects of the story and others will find support in seeking to understand controversies of the present age.
Tom Roberts has gone deep into the life story of Joan Chittister to illuminate some of the whys and wherefores of her choices. This is an engaging read, a definitive biography, facilitated by Joan’s cooperation in the telling.
Many know Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister as a prophetic spiritual writer and an engaging speaker . . . What Tom Roberts' startling new biography uncovers are the horrors of a childhood filled with violence and poverty and the vivid details of her growth as a spokesperson for women's equality in the Catholic Church.
Roberts has painted a portrait of a Vatican II, socially-aware, feminist Benedictine nun who is passionately committed to the Church. Thank you, Tom!
Readers of all stripes can find encouragement in this story of someone whose commitment to building a better world for the whole of humanity has enabled her to not only survive but grow through her confrontation with real life issues such as a difficult childhood in a dysfunctional family, a life-threatening childhood illness and its lingering effects, real conflicts with those closest to her in life and ministry, and betrayal by some of the highest authorities in the church she has served so well. . . . [This] is a story of real challenges faced and surmounted in the name of truth and justice, real sufferings borne from a motive of love of God and one's fellow human beings, and real joy in shared life and mission within a contemporary religious community in a renewing church.
In a time that demands an enlightened response to devastating crises like mass inequality, ecological collapse and mass migration due to impoverishment, war and climate change, let us drink deeply from the well of Chittister's wisdom.
In a time that demands an enlightened response to devastating crises like mass inequality, ecological collapse and mass migration due to impoverishment, war and climate change, let us drink deeply from the well of Chittister's wisdom.
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