Sunday, July 17, 2016

Book Review: Seasons in my Garden

Seasons in My Garden: Meditations from a Hermitage
by Sr. Elizabeth Wagner
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2016

Sr. Elizabeth Wagner is one of the founders of Transfiguration Hermitage, a semi-eremitical community in Maine devoted to prayer and solitude. In “Seasons in My Garden,” she meditates on “human desire and human struggle, with human weakness and vulnerability” as well as on “the experience of God’s presence.” Though her individual lifestyle is not one most of us are called to experience, her reflections speak to universal “emotions, needs, and desires.” She invites us to God wherever our lives may take us.

The garden in the title refers not only to the physical garden she tends throughout the year, but also her interior spiritual garden which also needs cultivation and which changes along with the physical seasons.

All of us, whether we realize it or not, are connected with nature. Those of us who live in areas with four distinct seasons can certainly relate to Sr. Elizabeth’s ebb and flow as she sojourns through the year. 

“Seasons in My Garden” is a meditative book and while reading it in a traditional fashion provides a cohesive experience, the chapters can also be read independently as mini-retreats in the midst of a busy day. This work provides a gift of peace and reflection and invites us to contemplate life in harmony with the natural world around us.

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