Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life

Review: Radical Spirit: 12 Ways to Live a Free and Authentic Life
Joan Chittister

I had heard of this author, but not read any of her work until now.  The front flap says this book contains “twelve simple rules derived from the Rule of Saint Benedict” of which I had little, make that no, prior knowledge.  So, this book initiated me to that way of life and the writing of Chittister. 
“Joan Chittister entered the Benedictine Sisters of Erie at the age of 16 and has remained a faithful and instrumental member for over 60 years.” ( “She is one of the most influential religious and social leaders of our time. For 40 years she has passionately advocated on behalf of peace, human rights, women’s issues, and church renewal.” (

In this book, she tells of her own journey through the “12 simple steps.”   Those simple steps are described in enough detail for a lay reader like me to understand and realize that simple describes only the words used to form the rule.  The lifestyle is anything but simple in my opinion, and would be a life long journey.  Chittister says as much throughout this book.  I appreciated her frank descriptions of the struggles, doubts, and in some instances, desire to quit. That is cause enough to read this book.  Her conclusions return often to the understanding of the wisdom the rules as she considered her life in retrospect.  The outcome she believes is indeed a free and authentic life.

I found most of the text helpful, insightful, and encouraging for any that may be seeking a “free and authentic life” as her subtitle states.  Her rather strong views on social issues, while probably not new to those that have followed her writing longer than I have, are stated quite directly and I found them distracting in this format.  

I think what the author has discussed could benefit anyone who would take the time to read it.  

I received this book from the publisher in return for a review.

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