Praying with the Women Mystics

Compiled by: Mary T. Malone, The Columbia Press

Book Review by Carey Gauzens, LCSW, CP

I was first introduced to this book by a coworker, who said,

“You have to see this poem!”  She had come across a poem which she felt was a powerful statement that would help her connect with one of her women clients who had experienced abuse.  As I read the poem, I fell in love with this amazing compilation of writings by different women.

Each poem is inspired by one of the women, historically, or in contemporary life, who have been identified as mystics.  Christian mysticism, often identified as originating in the Catholic tradition, speaks of a direct encounter between an ordinary individual and his or her God.  The focus of mystical experiences and writings is encounter with the Spirit.  Some of the more known mystics in history were:  Hildegard of Bingen, Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich.

The writings in this touching book are not actual writings from these women of the church, but are in most cases, writings by contemporary artists and authors, which were inspired by the lives and writings of women mystics throughout history.  The author also includes in her list of women of the mystical tradition modern day women, such as, “all our mothers, grandmothers and foremothers, who handed on to us…the vision of God.”

Chapters in this book include: “Who Am I?”  “New Beginnings”;” The Flame of Anger”; “Staying the Course”; and “Going Home,” and cover topics in the search for God and sacred experience which face all women:  the roles women play, the birth experience, relationships and work, and the call to grow spiritually and emotionally.  As a quote from Julian of Norwich says, “God of Life and Love:  the pattern of your presence among us is clear.  You give and we receive;  You challenge and we are afraid.  Be with us as we learn again to see you in the giving and receiving; the generosity and the fear, the alarm and the hope.  And let us learn to repeat with the psalmist: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps46:1)

Carey Gauzens

Carey Gauzens, LCSW is the coordinator of the Alexandria Center of Center for Pastoral Counseling of Virginia, and works with adolescents and adults of all ages, on issues of trauma, abuse, grief and loss, depression, anxiety and life transition.  She can be reached at (703) 903-9696 ext. 255.