The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work

The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work

by Kathleen Norris

In this insightful and deeply personal work, Kathleen Norris, an award-winning poet and author of both Dakota: A Spiritual Geography and The Cloister Walk, draws on her life experiences, her poetry and her love of the Benedictine tradition to discuss the mysterious way that the daily or "quotidian" can open us to the transforming presence of God. This volume is the text of the 1998 Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality, sponsored by the Center for Spirituality at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.98
  • Pages: 89
  • Publish Date: January 1st 1998 by Paulist Press
  • Isbn10: 0809138018
  • Isbn13: 9780809138012

What People Think about "The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work"

Kathleen Norris' book on mundane magic was one of my first on my Kindle. Why are we always to BUSY to appreciate the variety of emotions in our mundane, everyday lives - you know, THATs the place well rediscover our own true selves. They are the only possible venue for a life thats REAL! If you want to find meaning in your life, look no further: youll never find it in nonstop movement. For now, I'll simply let Ms Norris herself sum up the book for you: "We want our life to have meaning, we want fulfillment, healing and even ecstasy, but the human paradox is that we find these things by starting where we are, not where we wish we were.

"Quotidian means occurring every day, belonging to every day; commonplace, ordinary." The author finds that, like Therese of Lisieux, Christ was most abundantly present to her not "during my hours of prayer... God cares about the least of our daily tasks. These are all signs of caring, signs of serving others, indications of our love for those we do them for. Who wants to say, "well, I cooked and served you this wonderful meal to show I care. Carrying out holy work makes us holy because we are serving others. Even the holy work of serving others in quotidian tasks.

After all, I spend all day taking care of a toddler and doing dishes about a million times. Mostly, I took comfort in the idea that our daily work of laundry, cooking, cleaning as being worship and holy. After all, who wants 90% of what they do all day to be deemed as lowly or simple?

Modern psychology does not always know what to make of mystery, but it is in agreement with the psychology of the ancient desert monastics in recognizing that depression is often the flip side of anger.

I expect that I will be coming back to it again in years to come, for encouragement and insight to sustain me in my daily work.

This is a very short little book, but I had a hard time keeping my attention on the flow of thought.

Before reading this book, I never thought to think of laundry and making beds and washing dishes and caring for the children in quite that way, but as a stay-at-home mother, its a useful perspective to have. I dont have a problem with repeating the same words in church every week; yes, sometimes it can seem dull, but I dont question its value, the way I and society so often question the value of womens work. I understand the purpose of liturgy the work it is meant to do on the soul, the self-discipline it is meant to create, the way it roots us to others, the way one can find new meaning in old words and old actions at unexpected times.

I appreciated this book's encouragement to approach the daily tasks of life as liturgy and time to contemplate the grace of God in my life's circumstances, the glory of creation, and the truths of His Word.

Kathleen Norris was born on July 27, 1947 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as on her maternal grandparents farm in Lemmon, South Dakota.