If Saint Teresa of Avila were alive today, would she be running for public office? If Julian of Norwich were around, would she be completing a doctorate in psychoneuroimmunology? Would Saint Clare of Assisi run a nonprofit? Would any of these women choose a cloistered life if they were born today? Carol Lee Flinders, author of the highly acclaimed Enduring Grace and co-author of the legendary cookbook, Laurel’s Kitchen, draws riveting portraits of four contemporary women whose lives have been lived with a dedication to improving the human condition similar to that of the female mystics and saints of an earlier time. Tracing the spiritual “mother line” of centuries-past holy women, Flinders explores the spiritual journeys of Jane Goodall, Etty Hillesum, Tenzin Palmo and Sister Helen Prejean. “I wanted to immerse myself in these lives. I wanted to hang out with these women. I wanted to see what I could pick up by osmosis.” (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)
Carol Lee Flinders holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of California, Berkeley, and she lives at the Blue Mountain Center for Meditation in Northern California. She teaches courses on mysticism and contemplative spirituality at the Sophia Center in Culture and Spirituality, Holy Names University, Oakland, CA.
Her books include:
- Laurel’s Kitchen: A Handbook for Vegetarian Cookery and Nutrition (co-author Laurel Robertson) (Ten Speed Press 1997)
- Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics (HarperOne 1993)
- At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger and a Feminist Thirst (HarperOne 1999)
- Rebalancing the World: Why Women Belong and Men Compete and How to Restore the Ancient Equilibrium (HarperOne 2003)
- Enduring Lives: Living Portraits of Women and Faith in Action (Tarcher 2006)
To learn more about the work of Carol Lee Flinders go to www.tworock.org.
Topics explored in this dialogue include:
- Where is the seed of “othering” in you?
- What modern mystics “in the making” have in common with medieval sisters
- Who are extrémaphils, and what’s so special about them
- How observing ourselves when our thoughts are circling, is beneficial
- When empathy in fact is an entirely valid instrument of knowing
- Why the “Motherline” is imperative today
- How the fable of Saraswati, the Goddess of fluidity, is for all women
Host: Justine Willis Toms Interview Date: 7/11/2006 Program Number: 3161