By Sister Karol Jackowsky
I picked this book because although it tells the somewhat unique and quasi-esoteric story of a young woman becoming a nun in the sixties, its deeper theme is about the relationships between laughter and spirituality, blind obedience v.s authenticity, finding sisterhood in the face of oppression, and what it means for spiritual pilgrims -- and the church -- to both catch up with the changes in the world and find a new identity as a lover of God in this new world.
Although Forever And Ever, Amen,is the story of Sister Karol Jackowski's coming of age as a nun during the sixties, when, as a result of the second Vatican council, Catholicism and its religious orders were as scented with change as the flower children, change did not arrive *quite* in time for Karol's early training as a Postulate and a Novice.
Sister Karol writes hilariously of her party days in high school, her calling, and its consequences, the mischief common among the ranks of nuns-in-training -- and even amongst certain nuns-in-waiting --at-God's doorstep -- all amidst a quickly changing world and a church trying to catch up and then figure out its identity in the aftermath of change.
Here are some quotes to spike the discussion:
"I partied so heartily in high school that I earned the nickname "Suds" in my sophomore year because of my capacity to drink.
I loved high school because of the friends and fun I found there; it was my first taste of what I now know as sisterhood." (p8)
"...I don't have an undisciplined prayer life. I have a playful God." (p84)
"I learned to keep still in the postulate, and in the silence I began to discover my real voice, the inner voice, the writing voice, the voice of God. With everything suddenly taken away in the beginning, we reached a soulful impasse that through us back onto ourselves, stimulating the impulse for reflection and watering the seeds of consciousness.." (p 71)
1. What do these or any other ideas in the book bring up for you?
2. How does this woman's story connect with your story?
3. What do you see as spiritual interplay between rule following and (holy?) rule breaking in a healthy spiritual life?