Atchison Blue (paperback)

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ATCHISON BLUE
A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith


The first time Judith Valente arrived at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, she came prepared to teach a course on poetry and the soul. Instead, she found herself the student, taking lessons from the Benedictine sisters in the healing nature of silence, how to cultivate habits of mindful living, and the freeing reality that conversion is a lifelong process.

The sisters presented Valente with a view of monastic life and wisdom that brought spiritual healing to her fast-paced life – and promises to do the same for her readers. Paperback, 182 pages, 5-3/8" x 8-7/16"

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Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith

In this meditative spiritual memoir, Judith Valente, celebrated PBS religion journalist and celebrated poet, invites readers along on her transformative pilgrimages to Mount St. Scholastica monastery in Atchison, Kansas. The Benedictine sisters who invited Valente presented her with a view of monastic life and wisdom that brought spiritual healing to her fast-paced life--and promises to do the same for her readers.

The first time Judith Valente arrived at Mount St. Scholastica monastery, she came prepared to teach a course on poetry and the soul. Instead, she found herself the student, taking lessons from the Benedictine sisters in the healing nature of silence, how to cultivate habits of mindful living, and the freeing reality that conversion is a lifelong process.

With the heart of a poet and the eye of a journalist, she tells how her many visits and interviews with the Benedictine sisters forced her to confront aspects of her own life that needed healing--a journey that will invite readers to healing of their own. A beautiful and heartfelt work that crosses The Cloister Walk with Tuesdays with Morrie, Atchison Blue will resonate with readers of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Mary Gordon, and Anne Lamott.

Judith Valente covers the religion beat for PBS-TV's national program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. Her reports have also appeared on The News Hour on PBS and on Chicago Public Radio and National Public Radio. She has worked as a news producer for WTTW/Chicago and is a former staff writer of The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, where in 1992, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in in the feature writing category. She has won nine broadcast awards and was twice nominated for an Emmy.

"This is a generous book about an exceptionally generous community of women. Valente allows the reader to feel the warmth of Benedictine hospitality. It is a powerful thing to be accepted as we are, with all our faults and troubles, by people who are willing to listen. Valente is a good storyteller, and fortunately for us these women are willing to share their stories and insights from their daily encounters with scripture, pruning grape vines, human rights issues, the aging process and death, and the trials and joys of communal living."
Kathleen Norris, Author of The Cloister Walk

"Seldom is 'spiritual' reading so readable as it is here! Judith Valente makes her own liminal experience in a monastery attractive, real, and profound for all of us. There will be very few who would not find her journey helpful to their own."
Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, Albuquerque, New Mexico

"In Atchison Blue, poet and reporter Judith Valente has created a beautiful portrait of the Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Kansas, and the silence, simplicity, and joy of their lives. She sharpens her descriptions by contrasting them with the demands on her own life--the anger, jealousy, and overwork that spill out as she tries to do everything expected of a modern woman. Valente's challenges are those of all the rest of us, of course, so Atchison Blue becomes not only a lovely story about Benedictine sisters but an inspiring guide for everyone's struggle to find eternal silence in the midst of everyday noise."
Bob Abernethy, Anchor of Religion & Ethics News Weekly