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"For centuries the Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila has fascinated anyone interested in a life lived out of the depths of the human spirit. With warm and lively prose, Mary Jo Weaver tells not only Teresa's story but also how Teresa's ideals are lived by contemporary Carmelite nuns in Indianapolis. You will not want to set down this beautifully crafted tapestry of a saint and her modern daughters until you have turned its final page."
Cloister and Community is both a history of the Carmelite monastery of Indianapolis and an introduction to the Carmelites, a contemplative order of Roman Catholicism, founded in the 13th century and rededicated as a reform movement for religious women in the 16th century by Teresa of Avila. A key element of the order is that its nuns live an ascetic, cloistered life, but as Mary Jo Weaver demonstrates, the view that one must "leave the world" to find sacred space apart from it has evolved to embrace the notion that the world itself is sacred space.
Weaver focuses on a modern Indianapolis community and describes how the sisters incorporate Carmelite belief and practice into their daily lives. Cloister and Community is a beautifully written and handsomely produced book that offers readers a privileged view of the world of present-day contemplative spirituality.
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