Today I am delighted to announce that A Gentle Unfolding: Circling and Spiralling into Meaning, has been re-published. Five years ago the editor of the Good Samaritan Sisters website, The Good Oil, asked me to write something suitable for Vocation Sunday, not a topic I particularly wanted to write about. But I wrote it.
Under the title My God Dream, it began like this: At some point in my early teens, just when I was discovering there was more to the opposite sex than beneath-my-notice little brothers, I fell in love with God. Which is why, aged 16, wearing a fetching little hat and my first pair of high heels, I left my weeping parents and chuffed off to be a nun . . . and I followed it up with these words:
While the rest of my class prepared to be nurses, teachers or secretaries, I was one of the chosen ones! In the terminology of the day, I had a vocation. Nobody questioned it, least of all me. In the family photo album there is a shot of my mother and me taken the day of my first vows. There I am, all flowing black and white, my 18-year-old face encircled by a stiff coif, and there’s my mum in a smart, tight-fitting suit, spike heels and red nails.
That picture captures something of what I understand about vocation. It’s a trust in something way bigger than the imagination can capture. In its first heady romantic moments it makes light of the cost. That’s why my mother’s spike heels and red nails didn’t stand a chance against God. Vocation is not about the what, but the Who.
Writing that piece led me to reflect on the fact that I was one of thousands who left religious life after Vatican 2. I believe later generations will look back and analyse the effect that had on lay ministry in the Catholic Church, so I decided to write a book about my experience of those years, putting it in a framework of events, movements and changes that have coloured the last 50 years.
Three years later that first paragraph of My God Dream became the opening words of A Gentle Unfolding, published by David Lovell. David died suddenly four weeks later and David Lovell Publishing folded as a company, leaving my book available through online distributers but lacking any formal publicity. Eventually I regained copyright, and with that in place, Hugh McGinlay and Nicci Douglas at Coventry Press accepted A Gentle Unfolding for re-publication.
$25.95, to order click here.