Schneiders, Sandra: Finding the Treasure: Locating Catholic Religious Life in a New Eccles
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Does religious life still make sense today? Controversial author Sandra Schneiders asks the question, does being a religious still make sense in today's world? Her answer is yes, that religious life has a future full of hope but that it must be rethought and remodeled within the radically new context of post-Vatican-II postmodernism. Situating religious life both within a historical-cultural setting and within the Catholic Church, Schneiders addresses major questions of meaning, identity, and boundaries that have arisen over the past decades. With tremendous cohesion, she examines issues about celibacy, permanent commitment, formation, community, vows, and prayer, as well as issues of particular concern to women: patriarchy, feminism, the role of women in the Church, and female ordination. The years since Vatican II, she says, have been a "Dark Night of the Soul" for religious life; she uses this paradigm to make sense of what has happened, the purification and transformation of religious life from dinosaur to songbird. Schneiders' book is both deeply exciting and genuinely consoling for North American Roman Catholic women religious. Yet this sweeping multidisciplinary work has a crucial message as well for brothers, women religious in other countries or denominations, and anyone interested in the state of the church today.