“For decades, pioneering contemplative theologian Constance FitzGerald has been creatively exploring how the wisdom of the Carmelite tradition can help address our contemporary experience of impasse and darkness, and our deepest desires for personal and social transformation, in the face of so many current crises. Gathered here are seven of her most important essays, together with contributions from a variety of theologians, who draw upon her insights as they grapple with such issues as the COVID-19 pandemic, economic injustice, environmental degradation, violence and dehumanization, systemic racism, and the oppression of women and minorities. Sometimes provocative, always thought provoking and change-oriented, this anthology is a rich resource for all those ‘urgently longing’ for a timely reintegration of theology, contemplation, and the struggle for social justice.”
Steven Payne, OCD, author of The Carmelite Tradition: Spirituality in History
"This timely book shows how insights of Carmelite mysticism can aid personal and social transformation in a time of social disarray, finding a way within the crises of the present and helping communities to forge a constructive path toward a longed-for, more just future."
“This volume is an invaluable contribution to the deepening reflection in the theological academy on the role of the Christian (especially the Carmelite) mystical tradition in the project of engaging the most important issues of personal and social transformation in our time. It makes available seven of the now classic studies of that tradition by Carmelite scholar, Constance FitzGerald, OCD, which are each engaged by scholars with expertise in the areas in question.”
Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
"This is a volume to take slowly—FitzGerald’s essays alone are an invitation to the quiet proper to a retreat. It is also a volume for this moment of history. As a moment familiar with myriad forms of darkness, the present is a moment ripe for the hope that grace engenders, the hope that these essays nurture."
“What a rare marvel this book is. While emphatically celebrating the God awareness, spirituality, and theological prowess of Carmelite contemplative theologian Sister Constance FitzGerald, the theologians, activists, and spiritual directors engage FitzGerald’s understanding of desire, darkness, hope, passion, and impasse, and prayer—all in her yearning for and union with God—through their insightful and formidable contributions. In their critical engagement with Constance FitzGerald’s theology, the intentionally diverse contributors at once are inspired, challenged, and stretched to respond, relate, react, and reimagine how they encounter God and witness about God to their sisters and brothers amid the virulent ‘dark night of the world.’ These essays are a timely invitation to the reader into the spiritual life of FitzGerald as she offers hope and wisdom in these disconcerting times.”
Maurice J. Nutt, CSsR, Convener, Black Catholic Theological Symposium, Author of Thea Bowman: Faithful and Free
"Here is a book that is a contemplative journey. It serves as a companion to one's contemplative practice. It invites both personal and societal transformation. It invites us to contemplation."
National Catholic Reporter
"Rarely have I seen a book that so courageously engages God in the darkest nights of human experience as does this collection, where personal, societal, and planetary impasse meets the anguished human desire for a way out, a way forward into hope, the realization, if only through a glass darkly, of the seemingly impossible."
Catholic Books Review
“Laurie Cassidy and M. Shawn Copeland have performed an astonishing service to the Christian community in collecting seven of Constance FitzGerald’s essays on profound themes, specifically dark night experiences, in the works of St. John of the Cross that shed light on and offer guidance in confronting several situations of impasse in contemporary society. They have done so not only by making these essays available in one place, but also by inviting the contemplative engagement of a variety of theologians, women and men whose own work deals with these same intransigent conditions of injustice and suffering that cry for remedy and brings them into dialogue with the wisdom of John of the Cross and the patterns of transformation he describes as Constance has appropriated them. Although FitzGerald rarely directly alludes to her personal experience in prayer in her appropriation of the teaching of John of the Cross for our times, there are moments when the reader catches glimpses when FitzGerald’s own experience all but merges with that of John of the Cross.”
Janet Ruffing, RSM, Yale Divinity School
“At once eternal and timely, this book is the most-rare of treasures for those who want to think deeply about the spiritual journey of our time, one shaped by twin pandemics, ‘the coronavirus disease and white racist supremacy.’ Constance FitzGerald’s singular wisdom always invites greater intimacy with God, but particularly so during this time of impasse. She illuminates the path of prophetic hope. In this book, FitzGerald’s outstanding interpreters lay bare the enduring fecundity of her contribution. By any measure, a must read.”
Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Loyola Marymount University
“In this generous book we encounter a secret treasure: the wide, wise heart and mind of a great lover of the divine and of humanity. Shawn Copeland and Laurie Cassidy have done theologians, ‘nones,’ and lovers everywhere an enormous service by introducing Constance FitzGerald and her cloud of witnesses to a broader audience. May their light shine long and brightly.”
Wendy Farley, Redlands University
“Wonderful and unusual in equal parts, this is truly an extraordinary book. Constance FitzGerald’s notion of social impasse is the occasion for a lively and important dialogue with a bevy of distinguished scholars. It may be that this collection of essays illumines Karl Rahner’s remark that the Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all. But what is undoubtedly true is that it reveals how prayerful theology today needs to be if it is to help to lead us beyond the many impasses of our times.”
Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University