Through The Narrow Gate Author:Karen Armstrong Most people have wondered what it must be like to be a nun, and Karen Armstrong's intimate memoir of life inside a Catholic convent before the reforms of the second Vatican Council offers a rare glimpse into the darkly austere environment that once characterized cloistered orders. The physical separation from her family and the outside world at... more » the age of 17; the hesitant and fragile, friendships between novices; the rigidly enforced discipline intended to crush any sense of individual will - all are recalled with honesty,understanding and compassion. But although Karen's life in the convent was unhappy, even nightmarish, it ultimately led her to seek a new and more rewarding path to spiritual sustenance and renewal, while experiencing a variety of religious traditions. Through the Narrow Gate is both a deeply personal story and a moving argument that the spirit cannot be freed by constraining the body, that mortification of the flesh and emotional deprivation are not keys to spiritual enlightenment, but to a restriction of the soul.« less
I loved the book! Regardless of religious denomination, this speaks to the human spirit. The path, the journey are fascinating. The author successfully conveys the odyssey in language and honesty that make her struggles real to the lay person. Yet in the end the author retains her personal spirituality, and is deeply respectful of those choosing the religious life.