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Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna House Classics Vol.1)

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Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer The renowned modern spiritual classic! Catherine Doherty brings readers the profound traditions of Christian spirituality surrounding the Russian word poustinia, which means desert. Catherine combines her insights into the great spiritual traditions of the Russian Church with her very personal experience of life w Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer The renowned modern spiritual classic! Catherine Doherty brings readers the profound traditions of Christian spirituality surrounding the Russian word poustinia, which means desert. Catherine combines her insights into the great spiritual traditions of the Russian Church with her very personal experience of life with Christ. How to create a hermitage in which you can taste the joy of Christian solitude, and meet God face to face in the midst of a godless world. Catherine emphasizes poustinia of the heart, an interiorized poustinia, a silent chamber carried always and everywhere in which to contemplate God within. Learn how our desert can be in the marketplace, in the midst of countless conferences, traffic jams, bus tripsor a hospital ward. Written by one who knows by experience, Poustinia brings consolation with its vision of a personal desert that can bloom in simple, profound prayer.


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Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer The renowned modern spiritual classic! Catherine Doherty brings readers the profound traditions of Christian spirituality surrounding the Russian word poustinia, which means desert. Catherine combines her insights into the great spiritual traditions of the Russian Church with her very personal experience of life w Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer The renowned modern spiritual classic! Catherine Doherty brings readers the profound traditions of Christian spirituality surrounding the Russian word poustinia, which means desert. Catherine combines her insights into the great spiritual traditions of the Russian Church with her very personal experience of life with Christ. How to create a hermitage in which you can taste the joy of Christian solitude, and meet God face to face in the midst of a godless world. Catherine emphasizes poustinia of the heart, an interiorized poustinia, a silent chamber carried always and everywhere in which to contemplate God within. Learn how our desert can be in the marketplace, in the midst of countless conferences, traffic jams, bus tripsor a hospital ward. Written by one who knows by experience, Poustinia brings consolation with its vision of a personal desert that can bloom in simple, profound prayer.

30 review for Poustinia: Encountering God in Silence, Solitude and Prayer (Madonna House Classics Vol.1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    booklady

    After spending several un-quiet weeks with this profoundly quiet book, I think/hope it is finally starting to exert a positive influence over my life. A ‘poustinia’—for those who may not be familiar with the term is a Russian word—literally translates, “desert”, but actually means many different things depending on how it is used. It can describe quiet, lonely places, set apart from the world where special people go to seek God and live out their lives in prayer and solitude. It is also the word After spending several un-quiet weeks with this profoundly quiet book, I think/hope it is finally starting to exert a positive influence over my life. A ‘poustinia’—for those who may not be familiar with the term is a Russian word—literally translates, “desert”, but actually means many different things depending on how it is used. It can describe quiet, lonely places, set apart from the world where special people go to seek God and live out their lives in prayer and solitude. It is also the word used to refer to the Spartan-like hermit huts favored by those who venture into temporary “desert”, or retreat from the hustle of human society. At the very end of the book, the author, Catherine Doherty, offered a third definition for her title term: ‘…not a place at all—and yet it is. It is a state, a vocation, belonging to all Christians by Baptism. It is the vocation to be a contemplative.’ (page 184) This book is or can be a beautiful, prayerful read. I listened to most of it, read in the soothing voice of Fr. Émile Brière, a poustinik himself and a close friend of the author. I highly recommend that option if it’s available. How many times during this turbulent summer was I able to turn on the CD and tune out so much else, including my own noisy mind. The book is a collection of explanations, meditations, talks and a brief history of the Madonna House which Doherty has assembled to give the reader the fullest possible experience of the contemplative life –short of a full-fledged pilgrimage. In the first section, she gives her own Russian background and the historical and geographic context of poustinia, as well as the person of the poustinik, himself. Part 2 is devoted to talks she has relied on to inspire a deeper awareness within all of us of the presence of God and His eagerness to speak to us in silence. In the third section, we spend a day inside a poustinia. During this time, we seek a word (insight) which may be shared with others—because the purpose of going into poustinia is not for oneself but to share the gift of received wisdom with others. In conclusion, we learn that ‘poustinia’ isn’t about going away to the mountains or living alone in a little house; it’s really for all of us, wherever we are. Poustinia is about going within and finding God in the heart of our prayer and sharing all we have and are with whoever is in need. I will want to return to this book again and again and again! Thanks ever so much for the recommendation Jennifer! ><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>< Although I'm only on page 45, I was captured from the very first page by Ms. Doherty's description's of poustiniks/poustinikis, or 'prayerful ones'. Well that's what I shall call them for short, because she is taking an entire book to describe the lifestyle of 'poustinia', a selfless, self-giving life devoted to prayer, service and sacrifice. Reading this book is like an armchair visit to another place. Wonderful! Thanks again, Jennifer!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Of the utmost importance. I would like to buy a crate full of volumes of this book. I would hand them out to everyone and say, "go find a silent hole and read man." Of the utmost importance. I would like to buy a crate full of volumes of this book. I would hand them out to everyone and say, "go find a silent hole and read man."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Peter Mottola

    Catherine Doherty offers insights into the contemplative life from a Russian perspective. Much of what she has to say is very good, but I have two strong criticisms. The first is that the book is too long by half. It is divided into four parts, and there is nothing said in the third and fourth that had not already been communicated in the first two. The other is that I fundamentally disagree with her repeated assertions that the Russian notion of contemplation is so very different than (and supe Catherine Doherty offers insights into the contemplative life from a Russian perspective. Much of what she has to say is very good, but I have two strong criticisms. The first is that the book is too long by half. It is divided into four parts, and there is nothing said in the third and fourth that had not already been communicated in the first two. The other is that I fundamentally disagree with her repeated assertions that the Russian notion of contemplation is so very different than (and superior to?) the Western one. The Poustinik (Russian hermit), she says, is different from his Western counterpart in that although he lives a life of solitude and prayer he is always ready to go back to the village to be with others, for example when it is harvest time and the crops need to come in. She expands on this notion to take in the spiritual aspect, stressing that the one in the Poustinia is there for others, praying for the whole world. This is all well and good, but of course this is not so different from the Western notion of contemplation. One might look, for example, to the Dominicans (as quintessentially Western a phenomenon as ever existed!) who are devoted to "contemplation and sharing the fruits of contemplation." While it is true that the vocation of the contemplative has something to offer to the world at large, this is hardly an insight unknown to the West. These collected writings, many of them penned in the 1960s, articulated the charism of Madonna House, promoting the idea of a quasi-contemplative life for laity living in the world and engaged in secular occupations. While I would not recommend this to anyone who is not already generally familiar with the great spiritual classics, for anyone looking for a slightly different perspective on the role of contemplation in the Christian life I could recommend a perusal of the first two sections of this work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    For the last few years I have been talking and writing a great deal about silence, solitude, and deserts, and I will continue to write about them because I think they are vitally important to our growing, changing, technological, urban civilization. It is obvious that humanity is facing many problems, will have to face many more, and that these problems are deeply disturbing the souls of all men. It is just as certain that we cannot, must not, reject the new, strange, adventuresome, frightening For the last few years I have been talking and writing a great deal about silence, solitude, and deserts, and I will continue to write about them because I think they are vitally important to our growing, changing, technological, urban civilization. It is obvious that humanity is facing many problems, will have to face many more, and that these problems are deeply disturbing the souls of all men. It is just as certain that we cannot, must not, reject the new, strange, adventuresome, frightening world that is opening before us, and is already with us. Especially we Christians cannot do this, because Christ has inserted himself into this world and we are his people, his body; and so we belong as he does to this world of computers, to this world of cybernetics, that daily brings vaster problems before our minds, hearts and souls. For science moves faster and faster, so much faster than the men of today—or even the men of tomorrow—are able to apprehend, comprehend or assimilate. Location: 49 It is obvious that humanity is facing many problems, will have to face many more, and that these problems are deeply disturbing the souls of all men. It is just as certain that we cannot, must not, reject the new, strange, adventuresome, frightening world that is opening before us, and is already with us. Especially we Christians cannot do this, because Christ has inserted himself into this world and we are his people, his body; and so we belong as he does to this world of computers, to this world of cybernetics, that daily brings vaster problems before our minds, hearts and souls. For science moves faster and faster, so much faster than the men of today—or even the men of tomorrow—are able to apprehend, comprehend or assimilate. Location: 50 If we are to witness to Christ in today’s marketplaces where there are constant demands on our whole person we need silence. If we are to be always available, not only physically, but by empathy, sympathy, friendship, understanding, and boundless caritas, we need silence. To be able to give joyous, unflagging hospitality, not only of house and food, but of mind, heart, body and soul, we need silence. Location: 69 If we are to witness to Christ in today’s marketplaces where there are constant demands on our whole person we need silence. If we are to be always available, not only physically, but by empathy, sympathy, friendship, understanding, and boundless caritas, we need silence. To be able to give joyous, unflagging hospitality, not only of house and food, but of mind, heart, body and soul, we need silence. True silence is the search of man for God. Location: 69 This silence, then, will break forth in a charity that overflows in the service of the neighbor without counting the cost. Location: 82 This silence is not the exclusive prerogative of monasteries or convents. This simple, prayerful silence can and should be everybody’s silence. It belongs to every Christian who loves God, to every Jew who has heard in his heart the echoes of God’s voice in his prophets, to everyone whose soul has risen in search of truth, in search of God. For where noise is—inward noise and confusion—there God is not! Location: 85 Consider the solitude of walking from the subway train or bus to your home in the evening, when the streets are quieter and there are few passersby. Consider the solitude that greets you when you enter your room to change your office or working clothes to more comfortable, homey ones. Consider the solitude of a housewife, alone in her kitchen, sitting down for a cup of coffee before beginning the work of the day. Think of the solitudes afforded by such humble tasks as housecleaning, ironing, sewing. Location: 93 One of the first steps toward solitude is a departure. Were you to depart to a real desert, you might take a plane, train or car to get there. But we’re blind to the “little departures” that fill our days. These “little solitudes” are often right behind a door which we can open, or in a little corner where we can stop to look at a tree that somehow survived the snow and dust of a city street. There is the solitude of a car in which we return from work, riding bumper to bumper on a crowded highway. This too can be a “point of departure” to a desert, silence, solitude. Location: 96 One of the first steps toward solitude is a departure. Were you to depart to a real desert, you might take a plane, train or car to get there. But we’re blind to the “little departures” that fill our days. These “little solitudes” are often right behind a door which we can open, or in a little corner where we can stop to look at a tree that somehow survived the snow and dust of a city street. There is the solitude of a car in which we return from work, riding bumper to bumper on a crowded highway. This too can be a “point of departure” to a desert, silence, solitude. Location: 96 But our hearts, minds, and souls must be attuned, desirous, aware of these moments of solitude that God gives us. To be so attuned we must lose our superstition of time. God laughs at time, for if our souls are open to him and available to him, he can invite them in, change them, lift them, transform them, in one instant! He can say to someone driving that car bumper to bumper, “I will lead you into solitude and there I shall speak to your heart” (Hos 2:14). Location: 101 But how, really, can one achieve such solitude? By standing still! Stand still, and allow the deadly restlessness of our tragic age to fall away like the worn-out, dusty cloak that it is. That restlessness was once considered the magic carpet to tomorrow, but now we see it for what it really is: a running away from oneself, a turning from the journey inward that all men must undertake to meet God dwelling within the depths of their souls. Location: 114 Stand still, and lifting your hearts and hands to God, pray that the mighty wind of his Holy Spirit may clear all the cobwebs of fears, selfishness, greed, and narrow–heartedness away from your soul. Pray that his tongues of flame may descend to give you courage to begin again. Location: 122 At first such silences will be few and far between. But if nourished with a life of liturgical prayer, mental prayer, and the sacramental life of the Church, slowly, like the seedling of a mighty tree, silence will grow. It will come to dwell in a soul more and more often until one day it will come to stay. Location: 132 Solitude sometimes helps prayer, and for special vocations is the cradle of prayer, and powerful prayer at that. But for the average Christian, prayer doesn’t need a geographic spot. To think that I must have solitude in which to pray, is a fallacy. Prayer is a contact of love between God and man. Location: 164 Prayer is a full–time affair; solitude, unless one is called to a lifetime of it by God, must always be a temporary thing, lest it cease to be solitude and become an escape. Location: 177 Hospitality means, above all, that the poustinik is just passing on whatever God has put into his empty hands. He gives all that he has and is: words, work, food, and himself. Location: 384 It is God who leads the soul to the desert and the soul cannot remain in the desert long unless it is nourished by God. Therefore, it is a place where we fast from bodily food and even spiritual food, such as reading all kinds of books, for we enter there to meet our God with the only book in which he is fully accessible: the bible. Location: 499 I believe that God is even now raising up these men and women because there is so little silence of heart in the world. There is so much noise in the souls, minds, and hearts of men that God’s voice cannot be heard. So he himself will call many to come and listen to his silence, to immerse themselves in it. Then he will send them forth to be prophets of today, to be his voice once again, across all the lands of the world. He will send them to a world that needs to hear his voice through the lips of its own brothers and sisters as it did of old, when God sent his Son into the world to speak. Location: 643 One of the main causes of this feeling of guilt for being “separated from the community” stems, I think, from the Western notion of production. The West values itself for its ability to produce things. Priests, nuns, and lay people tend to evaluate themselves interiorly by what they can produce. Priests especially do not realize that their presence is enough. I often tell priests who work in parishes that one of the best things they can “do” is simply walk around their neighborhoods and be present to their people. But if they aren’t doing something, they feel that they are wasting their lives away. Location: 679 With the poustinik, too, there is an inability to realize that the presence of a person who is in love with God is enough; that nothing else is needed. Location: 683 The devil will try to twist the meaning of their vocation. He will suggest how impossible it is to form a community of love, especially for people of our age who are so wounded and suffering from neuroses of all kinds. The devil will concentrate on this because the essence of a house becoming a poustinia in the marketplace is that its members really bear with one another, and cover themselves with humility, compassion, and love toward one another. Yes, the devil will attack especially this admonition of St. Paul’s to “bear with one another.” He will attack it with all sorts of “logical” arguments and prove that it is just not possible. Location: 855 Acquire interior peace and a multitude of men will find their salvation near you.” Location: 941 The final of all these attitudes is peace. The sign by which you know a good poustinik is peace. Whether he knows it or not, he exudes an intense peace. He is so peaceful that just being next to him has a settling effect. His peace encompasses you like a mantle. The poustinik is supposed to be not only a peace–maker, but a peace–giver. Location: 1222 Russians believe that the greatest purity is achieved through tears, tears that really wash us. Our tears mingle with the tears of Christ and cleanse the soul of every extraneous thing that is bothering it. Tears wash away every interior attachment which hinders true poverty of spirit. Tears are also another way through which we come to appreciate the great gift of God: our freedom. Our soul, washed by tears, can see clearly that we really are free, that we can say yes or no to God. In the poustinia, this struggle between yes and no, this struggle with God, is intensified a hundredfold. At some point, your yes to God will make you nonexistent. For only a second. Something will happen in your purified soul through these tears and struggles. You will seem to be like one dead. But it won’t last long. You will return, and on that day you will know a miracle. You made your choice for God. The true liberation that God reserves for those who love him will be yours. Location: 1378 when a Russian goes into a poustinia, even for a day or two, he goes for others as well as for himself—but predominantly for others. Upon returning, he should tell members of his family or community what he has received during his stay in the poustinia. If one were in a Russian village, these words would be meant for everyone in the village. Location: 1718 With the gift of listening comes the gift of healing, because listening to your brother until he has said the last word in his heart is healing and consoling. Someone has said that it is possible “to listen a person’s soul into existence.” I like that. Location: 1932 Is the word transparency your answer, Lord, to our polluted world, our polluted minds, hearts and souls? It may be, because if we unpollute our inner selves, then of course we will be selfless; and if we are selfless we easily will unpollute the air, the water and the earth, because selfless men in love with God are not subject to greed, and it is greed that today pollutes the earth. But greed pollutes the inner man before it pollutes the earth.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaye

    Another of my 'recovery' books. This books bears re-reading. It is a search into silence; God's silence and how to find it even when one is not a monastic type. Doherty's style is compelling and really draws one into what she is saying. Another of my 'recovery' books. This books bears re-reading. It is a search into silence; God's silence and how to find it even when one is not a monastic type. Doherty's style is compelling and really draws one into what she is saying.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    All (5?) of these are worth reading Why doesn't Goodreads had a re-read category? Have just re-read Poustinia....... There is something in this book that really speaks to me....... Will be re-reading the others in this series....... All (5?) of these are worth reading Why doesn't Goodreads had a re-read category? Have just re-read Poustinia....... There is something in this book that really speaks to me....... Will be re-reading the others in this series.......

  7. 5 out of 5

    Yeshua

    I'll let you know when I'm finished, but at this point, this book has done more to awaken me to the seriousness of the Christian responsibility than any other book has. I'll let you know when I'm finished, but at this point, this book has done more to awaken me to the seriousness of the Christian responsibility than any other book has.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    The book that changed my life forever. Literally.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    A splendid introduction to Russian Orthodox spirituality for those who may be unfamiliar with the tradition.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Knepper

    A very beautiful and simple book. It shows through Catherine Doherty that God is found in the desert, but the desert takes a certain kenosis, or emptying of ourselves, to enter. Not only can the desert be a physical place we enter (a place of solitude and silence), but there can also be a desert of the heart. Very important book for all who seek closeness with God and who desire to love men as God lobes them!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alyson

    I read while I was staying in a hermitage for 3 days. So powerful in my time of silence with God!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Wojciechowski

    Really loved parts I and IV, II and III were ok. This was a must read given my interest in the idea of a “desert day”- taking 24 hours a month to go off the grid, dwelling in prayerful solitude, which results in living with greater attentiveness to the indwelling of the Trinity upon return to the “real world.” I can already tell that her words have left a deep impression in my soul.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ann Yeong

    Although I have known of Catherine Doherty for a while, I had never felt drawn to find out more about her until I came across Thomas Merton's description of her in The Seven Storey Mountain. Curious about the woman who had so deeply impressed Thomas Merton and whose description had also impressed and intrigued me, I started reading up about her and eventually purchased this book to read her in her own voice. This is a book of unvarnished and simple truths about encountering God in "the desert" (i Although I have known of Catherine Doherty for a while, I had never felt drawn to find out more about her until I came across Thomas Merton's description of her in The Seven Storey Mountain. Curious about the woman who had so deeply impressed Thomas Merton and whose description had also impressed and intrigued me, I started reading up about her and eventually purchased this book to read her in her own voice. This is a book of unvarnished and simple truths about encountering God in "the desert" (i.e. Poustinia) and the central place that the desert must take in a Christian's life. Catherine writes clearly and unabashedly from her personal experience of encountering God in Silence, Solitude, and Prayer. Her writing style is conversational, which makes reading this book feel like listening to her speak. Her voice is clear, even blunt, about the spiritual truths she is imparting. She brooks no compromises in following the Gospel and this passionate, uncompromising stance in following Christ rings out throughout the pages of this book. Catherine Doherty's style may not be appealing to everyone. If you are looking for an elegant and thoughtfully presented thesis on desert spirituality, this is not the book to read. However, if you would like to hear the voice of someone who "cries out from the wilderness"; someone who has lived the Gospel to a heroic degree and speaks plainly and simply from her own powerful encounters with God in Silence, Solitude, and Prayer, then read "Poustinia", and be ready to be challenged by Catherine Doherty's witness.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terje Fokstuen

    Poustinia is a Russian word signifying desert, and in Russian Orthodoxy it is accepted practice for those called, to leave their life and to seek God in such a desert. These deserts are usually humble cottages where the poustinik prays, reads the Bible and seeks God's will. The author Catherine Doherty is a Russian emigre to Canada, and a convert to Catholicism. Here she explains the idea of the Poustinia, charts her own journey as a Poustinik, and draws out anecdotes from the Catholic Poustinia Poustinia is a Russian word signifying desert, and in Russian Orthodoxy it is accepted practice for those called, to leave their life and to seek God in such a desert. These deserts are usually humble cottages where the poustinik prays, reads the Bible and seeks God's will. The author Catherine Doherty is a Russian emigre to Canada, and a convert to Catholicism. Here she explains the idea of the Poustinia, charts her own journey as a Poustinik, and draws out anecdotes from the Catholic Poustinia movement she began in Canada. The idea is interesting and Doherty's life journey is fascinating but the teachings she imparts are not always clear. For instance the idea of the Poustinia and the marketplace is never really clarified beyond the title. Otherwise a good and interesting book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Hayes

    Listened to this on CD. Intriguing and lovely. Mystical , a bit rambling. So deep, I can't say I absorbed it all. But it is excellent Lenten reading. About spiritual deserts, physical or interior, and seeking God there. She is a fascinating woman. Somewhat akin to Dorothy Day. Converted from Russian Orthodox to Catholic. But very Eastern in her spirituality. Sought out the poor, chose to live with them and help them. Russian aristocrat who survived the revolution, got to England, then settled in Listened to this on CD. Intriguing and lovely. Mystical , a bit rambling. So deep, I can't say I absorbed it all. But it is excellent Lenten reading. About spiritual deserts, physical or interior, and seeking God there. She is a fascinating woman. Somewhat akin to Dorothy Day. Converted from Russian Orthodox to Catholic. But very Eastern in her spirituality. Sought out the poor, chose to live with them and help them. Russian aristocrat who survived the revolution, got to England, then settled in Canada. One way to experience her writing would probably be to pick up the Orbis volume of her writings in the Modern Spiritual Masters series. . . .

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rod White

    This was an interesting invitation to meditation and I took it. She had me praying in ways I needed to pray. It was interesting to have the Russian practices of solitude highlighted. For those things I recommend it. Unfortunately, I had to overlook how much the book was about Catherine Doherty as she told her story. It seemed a bit too much about Catherine and I am not sure she warranted such scrutiny.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    Catherine de Hueck Doherty comes from Russia. In here second marriage she came to Ontario and founded Madonna House a spiritual center. This book is really about her life and spirituality after founding this spiritual center. It is a book of Christian spirituality of the East for Western man. It has a lot of very good wisdom and is worth the read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Casey

    Somehow I encountered this book. Now having read it it am convinced that the Holy Spirit led me to it. It has transformed the way I view my life and prayer entirely. I have read many books on prayer but learning about the Poustinia of the Heart has left me in tears of joy and experiencing a deeper peace than I ever thought possible. I can’t recommend this book enough.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Even for those who do not consider themselves " the silent type," this book is an important read. It exposes the cultural deficit of space and place necessary to our relationship with God and healthy interiority. Even for those who do not consider themselves " the silent type," this book is an important read. It exposes the cultural deficit of space and place necessary to our relationship with God and healthy interiority.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Definitely not a writer, but very much a spiritual person. I enjoyed her reflections on the dark night of the soul, though much less so her style of writing. Worth a read if you wish to enter into poustinia one day, but not the best spiritual writing out there.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia Jeronimo

    From the first sentence to the last , this book was dry. I was constantly trying to enter into a conversation that felt circular and disjointed. How many times can you use the word ‘Poustinia’ in a paragraph?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Tvrdy

    This book will always be in my top five. It came into my life at the right moment (literally held out my hand in the dark and asked God to guide me to a book the first night I arrived as a lay volunteer at a retreat house in Scotland). This book taught me how to pray.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul Uwemedimo

    Excellent book calling us to deep prayer and solitude. I have not read it for many years but I think it is past time for me to reread it once again. It's message is very important for me. Excellent book calling us to deep prayer and solitude. I have not read it for many years but I think it is past time for me to reread it once again. It's message is very important for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Marvellous - the most read book by one of my favourite spiritual teachers.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    One of the wisest books I've read in a long time. One of the wisest books I've read in a long time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathi Klann

    Ilvr his book. Probably read it twenty times! Reminds me that simplified is better for my soul.and serenity!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tommy Logan

    Amazing. Transformational. Need to re-read. And soak.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marie Weiler

    Before reading this book, I had heard mixed reviews on it. Indeed, Catherine Doherty's style can be a bit like a wild goose chase through her mind; she has some totally bizarre or confusing thoughts at times. So I really struggled to read the last two sections of the book because she had trouble relating on paper what made perfect sense in her head, but would not to another person. I understand it would be hard to bring eastern traditions and ideologies and translate them to a western culture, b Before reading this book, I had heard mixed reviews on it. Indeed, Catherine Doherty's style can be a bit like a wild goose chase through her mind; she has some totally bizarre or confusing thoughts at times. So I really struggled to read the last two sections of the book because she had trouble relating on paper what made perfect sense in her head, but would not to another person. I understand it would be hard to bring eastern traditions and ideologies and translate them to a western culture, but if you're not getting through very well, it makes a person wonder if certain things are better left unsaid. Then again, she felt called by God to say these things. So who am I to stand in His way? As for the first two parts of the book, though, I enjoyed them wholeheartedly. They answered some spiritual questions I had, and helped me know how to better approach meditation and silence before God, which was the main reason for my wanting to read this book in the first place. Even so, whilst other Catholics consider this book a spiritual classic, I merely think of it as a good, spiritual book. It's not quite on the level of classic in my eyes, despite its popularity. Would I read Poustinia again? Probably not. But on that same note, I'm still glad I got to read this title which so many people talk about.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shari

    Helpful aid to a practice of solitude and silence as vocation An interesting account about how a historically Russian spiritual practice was brought to North America by the author. Part memoir part how-to.

  30. 5 out of 5

    NIGEL PEARCE

    Catherine drawing on what she learned as a child has a wonderful effect on her ministry and her love of humanity. This book filled with stories and heart-wrenching moments will move us all to a life of justice and peace.

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