These gentle, often humorous, always profound vignettes of encounters with “near occasions of hope” will help women (and the men who love them) reframe Catholicism’s shattered glass as to how the Light can get in. This book, and the provocative questions at the end of each short chapter, may help keep us all “practicing,” keep us all “staying,” while we all use our gifts to build the “Church that can be.”
These essay-stories show us one woman’s way of applying her Catholic imagination to small moments, following her instincts and trusting God’s ever-present nudge in all of us. Karen is a part of the Church that can be and, as she demonstrates, she intends to help build. I read these essay-stories—each offering small moments spun toward grace and hope—and feel encouraged to keep building as well. —from the Foreword by Jessica Murphy Moo, Associate Director of Storytelling and Editor of Portland magazine
|Dimensions:||8" x 8"|
|1-2 copies||$16.11 each|
|3-5 copies||$15.26 each|
|6+ copies||$14.41 each|
These stories give me new language to describe the beauty and poignancy of the tradition that has sustained me spiritually since my youth. Yes—as Eifler testifies—it is Eucharist and Saints and the Sisters who taught us in school. But it is also the friendships formed in France under oak trees, Caribbean steel drums sharing the sanctuary with Irish penny whistles, and the palpable joy of little girls twirling ribbons in the sun.
I devoured too quickly this book. It will appeal similarly to anyone who hungers for food to feed the soul and holds onto hope for the Church that can be. I plan to buy a copy for each of the sisters in my faith-sharing group so we can feast together on these stories that invite us to reflect on the ways we all encounter the Divine in everyday life.
Near Occasions of Hope inspired me to slow down and awakened in me a deep desire to call to mind similar experiences of grace in my own journey as a woman of faith. While anticipating an opportunity to be reflective, I never imagined this little book would so powerfully draw me into contemplation and prayer. Each story felt like an encounter with grace, expanding my own imagination and hope.
Karen’s gentle honesty challenges me to pause and recognize life-giving grace in everyday happenings. She calls me to recognize ways that I can be explicit about speaking (and being) hope for others while also embracing the possibilities that others nurture. Her wisdom calls us to move forward…not with certainty but with the conviction and confidence of journeying together!
Karen E. Eifler is the co-director of the University of Portland’s Garaventa Center in Portland, Oregon, which “explores and deploys the fruits of faith, reason, and imagination that constitute the Catholic intellectual tradition to illuminate and enliven something that is implicit but often unregarded: the working of grace in human communities.” Eifler is a lifelong teacher who now teaches teachers to teach. She is the author of A Month of Mondays: Spiritual Lessons from the Catholic Classroom.