Cover image for The abbey up the hill : a year in the life of a monastic day-tripper
The abbey up the hill : a year in the life of a monastic day-tripper
Bonomo, Carol, 1952-
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Publication Information:
Harrisburg, Pa. : Morehouse Pub., [2002]

Physical Description:
xiii, 238 pages ; 23 cm
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BX4705.B57675 A3 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Artist, crafter, diarist, recovering alcoholic, Episcopal, Catholic, spiritual gypsy. These are some of the ways that Carol Bonomo has described herself. Like many of her generation, she had trouble finding a spiritual home. "I'm one of those 'seekers' who doesn't known what she's looking for, and wouldn't recognize an answer to the meaning of life if she tripped on it in the dark."

Her spiritual adventures included the Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church, Alcoholics Anonymous, and her attempt to become a lay associate of the Franciscans. But the Franciscans sent her away. "Run, don't walk, to the abbey up the hill, " they advised her. And so she did, heading to the Benedictine abbey she was pointed to. Much to her surprise, there she found the home she'd been seeking for so long.

The Abbey Up the Hill is Bonomo's reflection on her first year as a Benedictine oblate -- a lay person vowing to live according to the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict, a monastic guide to living a balanced life with God at the center. Month-by-month, she records her spiritual growth with honesty, humor, and insight. This is the unforgettable story of a pilgrim's struggles to leave off wandering and finally come home.

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Authors Bio, not available

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Bonomo's month-by-month journal of a year among Benedictine monks invites comparison with Kathleen Norris's 1996 award-winning bestseller, The Cloister Walk, though the two books differ markedly in tone and content. Both authors are middle-aged, married oblates (vowed laypersons) in the Order of St. Benedict. But while Norris's wide-ranging essays may idealize monasticism, Bonomo's reflections spare no one, taking aim at boring homilies, inadequate hospitality, polyurethane upholstery and, above all, her own self-described crankiness. Yet Bonomo, an overscheduled speechwriter, clearly loves St. Augustine's Abbey, where for several days each month she makes a personal retreat. Her lifelong rootlessness no longer appeals to her: "I seem to have been born slamming doors shut behind me and then wondering where everybody went." Tired of false starts and sudden endings, she doggedly pursues stability, a hallmark of the Benedictine vow. Throughout, Bonomo deftly interweaves her personal story her alcoholism, her father's sudden death, her persistent fear of being an outsider with cryptic tales from the fourth-century desert fathers and mothers, principles from the 20th-century Twelve Step movement and wisdom from all 73 chapters of the sixth-century Rule of St. Benedict. As in a good novel, her character develops believably. Without forsaking her acerbic wit, Bonomo eventually finds a father figure in the kindly nonagenarian abbot, a home in the abbey and its Rule, and the beginnings of stability: "This year, for once, I stayed still." A down-to-earth spiritual journey memoir, this book is also a painless introduction to the Rule of St. Benedict. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved