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Liturgical Press

Inside the School of Charity

Lessons from the Monastery

Trisha Day

Inside the School of Charity
Inside the School of Charity

ISBN: 9780879070205, MW020P

Details: 256 pgs, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Publication Date: 01/01/2010
Cistercian Publications

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In 2003 Trisha Day spent three months living inside the enclosure of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, a community of twenty Cistercian nuns. Although she had long been a monastic associate, she was startled by the unexpected challenges and insights that emerged as the weeks went by, and began a process of profound reflection on her experience. Now, drawing on her journals and reflections, and on her own experience as a professional woman, wife, daughter, and mother, she delves into the questions of how the centuries-old wisdom of monastic life can challenge, inspire, and guide those living outside the monastery.

Organized around topics such as prayer, community, and the vows, each of Day's reflections begins with memories of her monastic experience, and then presents a perceptive and often humorous critique of the contrasting values of our present culture. For each topic she chronicles with honesty and humility her subsequent struggles to apply back home the alternative approaches learned from the sisters she lived with, and offers a wealth of practical suggestions. Filled with stories from her own life and fascinating details of daily life in the monastery, her book is sure to strike a spark with all those seeking to live in a fully human and Christ-centered way.

Trisha Day lives with her husband, Dennis, near Madison Wisconsin. They were married in 1967 and are the parents of two sons. Together with Dennis, she helped found the Associates of the Iowa Cistercians, a group of lay men and women who meet monthly at New Melleray or Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbeys to learn how to incorporate Cistercian spirituality into their lives outside the monastery. Since retiring from the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, she has helped plan and facilitate numerous retreats and programs for laypeople.


Altogether, it is a fascinating book.

Because of the fresh insights into the familiar day-to-day monastic customs and spirituality, I would recommend this book for monastic libraries. As I read through it, I found some valuable passages for my own lectio divina. I would also offer the book to oblates and other laity who are looking for something deeper than a coffee table introduction to the Rule of Benedict.
American Benedictine Review