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Exile Ends in Glory: The Life of a Trappistine Mother M. Berchmans, O.C.S.O.

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Exile Ends in Glory: The Life of a Trappistine Mother M. Berchmans, O.C.S.O..pdf | Language: ENGLISH

In 1948, at about the same year Merton published his great work, The Seven Storey Mountain, his biography of Mother Berchmans (1876-1915), a French Trappistine, was also published. He had been inspired by her strength of spirit that enabled her to leave behind her beloved home in France in order to help grow the struggling Our Lady of the Angels Abbey in Hakodate, Japan. Though plagued by physical frailty and illness, she nonetheless maintained great exuberance and happiness for life that would enable her to build a thriving community independent of Europe. During World War II, when all Europeans were expelled from the monastery, it was still one of the largest Cistercian communities in the world. Of Mother Berchmans, Merton writes, It is necessary to explain that exile is something that must necessarily be endowed with a special poignancy for Cistercians who all make vows of Stability, at their professions. With us, it is a virtue to get attached to a single monastery, to sink our roots deep in the soil with the intention of never going away....Mother Berchmans had a gentle, tender, and affectionate heart, one that readily attached itself to persons and to places. It was a heart that loved all the most beautiful things in life, and which delighted above all in solitude and prayer. Mother Berchman s life was not unlike that of Thérèse of Lisieux, to whom she had a special devotion.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was born in France and came to live in the United States at the age of twenty-four. One of the most influential Catholic authors of the twentieth century, he received several awards for his contribution to religious study and contemplation. He was a tireless advocate for social justice and wrote more than 70 books. Merton was also a proponent of interreligious dialogue, engaging in spiritual dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and D. T. Suzuki. His life and career were suddenly cut short at age fifty-three when he died in 1968.

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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Paulist Press (December 1, 2015)
  • English
  • 2
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By R. Palmer on July 25, 2008

    Mother Berchmans was a trappestine nun who was instrumental in the success of the first Japanese monestary of her order. While I generally like Merton, this is nothing like Merton's typical style. It is in the literary format of a "life of a holy person" or hagiography. It emphasizes the holy and selfless behavior of the nun and the religious effect on the community. I read it as part of academic work on Merton.It tells you a lot that even Merton did not particularly like this book (but Merton disliked much of his own work).If you have a specific reason for buying this, it's a good example both of early Merton (just after his admission to the Abbey of Gethsemani) or of religious biography. If not, try one of Merton's other works. If you're new to Merton, I'd recommmend New Seeds of Contemplation (New Directions Paperbook).


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