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Elizabeth Ruth Obbard

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    To Live is To Pray: an introduction to Carmelite spirituality

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    Carmelite spirituality is a way of life that spells Freedom. Rooted in the experience of the desert mothers and fathers who sought God in solitude, it can accommodate many temperaments and approaches. The primary focus is on Finding the way of prayer that will bring you closest to God. This warm and engaging book introduces six great Carmelite Figures and their individual ways of prayer. Let Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, Brother Lawrence, Therese of Lisieux and others help you discover the pathway to authentic spiritual growth.
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    My Life, My Prayer: The Autobiography of St Teresa of Avila for Everyone

    Teresa of Avila is renowned as a great saint, the foundress of the Discalced Carmelites and a Doctor of the Church.In this very accessible edition of the first volume of her autobiography, we meet a frivolous teenager, who became a frivolous nun at twenty-one, hoping thereby to avoid marriage and childbearing and attain heaven, without too much effort.She writes engagingly and honestly, allowing us to follow her struggles with not only her health, but with the conflict between her desire for a life of prayer in a real relationship with God and her attachment to the comforts and distractions of her not- at- all strict convent. She shares with us her moment of fully giving herself to God in her late thirties, after which she describes 'the four waters of prayer'. Her determined desire to help others join her in this life of prayer and complete trust in Divine Providence led her to found the first convent of Discalced Carmelites when she was forty-seven.Such is her style of writing, and Ruth Obbard's interpretation of it, that one feels as if reading a personal letter, heart speaking to heart.
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    Life in God’s Now: The Sacrament of the Present Moment: Jean Pierre De Caussade’s Self-abandonment to Divine Providence for Everyone

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    Jean Pierre de Caussade, the author of the classic which came to be known as Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence, was known as a good preacher. Between 1731 and 1749 he was directing a retreat house in Nancy. Notes were taken of his conferences but they were not published in book form for a wider readership until 1860, more than a hundred years later. They were eventually edited and published by Henri Ramiere who gave it its title. In his teaching de Caussade hones in upon the 'littleness' and 'ordinariness' of the daily routine in which God must be found. God is NOW and God is HERE, otherewise God is NOWHERE. If God is not found in the here and now, we will not find him in musings about the future or futile regrets over the past.
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    A Taste of Hildegard

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    Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) was born just as the era of the crusades was beginning. This newly declared Doctor of the Church, is a woman of such formidable accomplishments that one wonders if there was anything she did not master! She composed music and poetry, produced plays for her community, wrote works on natural science, medicine, theology and hagiography. She also governed her sisters in their day to day lives, travelled around on preaching tours upbraiding clergy and laity alike, and kept up an extensive correspondence with the most prominent ecclesiastical and political figures of her time. She did all this with a confidence and clarity that belied her supposed inferiority as a woman. In fact, she never capitalised on her femininity. There is about her an almost masculine assuredness - was she not the mouthpiece of God! Hildegard experienced both visions and ill health (especially severe migraines) from early childhood, which leads to the strong possibility that her visions and experiences had a physical basis in her own particular temperament and personality. However, this did not stop her living a very active life from middle age on, and living to what, in her time, would be considered extreme old age.
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    Poverty – Simplicity – Joy: Stories of St Francis and his Companions for Everyone

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    Occasionally in the Church some spirit is raised up who proves to have a universal significance that endures through the ages. Such a one was Francis of Assisi, whose life continues to inspire countless thousands of Christians, and even people of other faiths and none. When the present pope chose the name Francis, the Church thrilled with a sense of something new, radical, focused on Jesus and the poor. The name Francis alone symbolizes a way of life that challenges and offers hope. It returns us to the basic message of Christianity, the love that is ever ancient, ever new, and demands a response on our part. Francis was born in 1182. It was the era of the crusades, which heralded enormous changes in the Christian West. During his lifetime Francis himself was to go to the East, not as a fighting Crusader, but as one who wanted to bring peace through dialogue and understanding. It was also a new era of lay holiness. There was a reaction to the wealth of the Church and its distance from the ordinary person. People flocked to the growing cities, but for most it was a life of misery and squalor. They were uprooted from the land they had lived on for years, and there was little provision in urban areas for their spiritual welfare or material well-being.
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    The Music of Silence: Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity for Everyone

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    Elizabeth Catez (Sr Elizabeth of the Trinity) wrote two retreats towards the end of her life. They have been chosen here, together with her famous prayer to the Trinity, in the hope that they will help the reader to be led into Elizabeth's silence, and into sharing her secret of total surrender in love to the One she called 'her Three'.
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    The Cloud of Unknowing for Everyone

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    In this adaptation of a classic 'how to' book of contemplative prayer, beautifully and simply expressed and illustrated, the riches of contemplative prayer are made available to all. Those who find this way of praying natural for them and those who wish to discover hitherto unknown facets of the beauty of prayer can alike find in it real spiritual nourishment.
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