Religious Life at the Crossroads

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"Those in and around religious life have known for decades that something new was coming, and we have strained the eyes of our hearts to catch a glimpse of what it might look like.  We knew that this new development was beyond our imagination, but when it finally appeared, it would do honor to the heritage of religious life.  The day is finally dawning and the new form is beginning to emerge in our spirits, imaginations and conversations.  The reinvention of religious life for today involves renewed commitment to the choice of radical Christian community that inspired, attracted and sustained the religious of every age."

This book explores the movements in religious life today and the currents that are emerging among the smaller cohorts of younger religious in mainstream communities of women religious.  Hereford traces the history of religious life, including the impact of Vatican II, and examines some of the theological sources for the reinvention of religious life today.  She explores the current situation of women religious, re-imagines the meaning of vows, community, and mission, and examines how the religious life will fit into an emerging church.

"Fresh and provocative."--Patricia Wittberg, SC

"Her view of the furture is offered through defining chracteristics that will be hallmarks of religious life in the 21st century."--Marlene Weisenbeck, FSPA

Amy Hereford is a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet from St. Louis.  She works as an attorney and canonist, consulting with many religious institutes on a wide variety of legal matters.  She has been in religious life for 25 years, part of a minority cohort of post-Vatican II women religious.  She has graduate degrees in spirituality, communication, and civil and canon law.

Book Details

Religious Life at the Crossroads
A School for Mystics and Prophets
Amy Hereford, C.S.J.
... opens with a survey of the history of monasticism and religious life in the West, arguing that the contemplative movement has reinvented itself every 500 years and is presently on the cusp of another period of transformation.
... traces religious life from its past "marked by courage and creativity in the face of adversity as well as by heroism and zeal." Hereford attempts to chart a course into the future by understanding the historical and present characteristics of religious life through the context of the time.

The strength of this book lies in Hereford's approach to the topics. Rather than just speak from present-day realities, she places religious life into context. In the last section she describes newer concepts of governance, networking and formation, describing religious life as a "school for prophets and mystics" a radical Christian community that 'inspired, attracted, and sustained the religious of every age."
" . . . important . . . a balanced and historically grounded examination of the ongoing evolution of Religious Life."
". . . From liturgy and its applications to justice and different theologies, this is a scholarly consideration suitable for any studious Christian collection."
". . . shows how religious life is part of the emerging church of today."
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