Item #: 0920-X
St Pauls Price: $13.95
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Copyright: 2002
First Printed: 06-05-2002
Reprints: 2004



Contemporary religious life is just now emerging from a period following the Second Vatican Council that has been both blessed and burdensome. Its members continue to face some formidable and complex challenges if their congregations are to survive and flourish in the new millennium. The work that lies ahead will require open minds, a willingness to surrender divisive ideological points of view, and a great deal of sacrifice. This book invites those interested in the future of religious life in America to take another look at the signs of the times and to derive hope from some of the positive elements to be found there: the growing number of men and women religious interested in committing themselves to an explicit life of prayer in welcoming communities dedicated to the proclamation of God’s Word and to works of reconciliation and peace aimed at transforming the world in which we live by engaging that world so as to evangelize it. Their challenge? To reclaim the values that lie at the heart of their way of living the Gospel and to express them in new form. This book, while hardly a manual, is practical in nature: it offers a number of specific recommendations about what might be done to further the renewal of religious congregations in the U.S. The questions at the end of each chapter are meant to foster further discussion and, hopefully, action that will advance the cause of consecrated life and its future in America.


About the Author: Sean D. Sammon, F.M.S., well-known to American religious as a Past President of the U.S. Conference of Major Superiors of Men, is presently the Superior General of the Marist Brothers. The author of a number of Alba House books including Alcoholism's Children (1989), An Undivided Heart: Making Sense of Celibate Chastity (1993), Life After Youth: Making Sense of One Man's Journey through the Transition at Mid-life (1997), and A Heart That Knew No Bounds: The Life and Mission of Saint Marcellin Champagnat (2000), he is also responsible for a number of Alba House video and audio-cassette programs including Coping with the Genuinely Difficult PersonAlcoholism's ChildrenFidelity; and An Undivided Heart.


Book: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0-8189-0920-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-8189-0920-7
Prod. Code: 0920-X

 

 

Reviews

"Religious Life in America: A New Day Dawning is a book long in the making. In some ways it chronicles Brother Sean Sammon's journey as Vicar General and now General of his congregation of Marist Brothers. In every country he visited on every continent, the good news echoed: religious institutes of women and men were still, and perhaps more intensely, living community for the sake of continuing Jesus' mission and ministry. He hopes to share that news with those in 'Contemporary U.S. Religious Life.' Besides a far-reaching vision, Sammon is especially to be commended for the reflection-discussion questions which conclude each chapter. What a powerful tool for a community day of recollection or even an entire retreat. Sammon's most foundational hope for religious in the United States is that Jesus always remains our focus..., 'worthy of the total gift of self that is at the heart of religious life.' While his specialty is clinical psychology, he has attended carefully to church documents, theological thinking and sociological studies about religious life and its recent renewal. Certainly aware of the crisis of diminishment in the U.S., he is more conscious of God working to create religious credible not by world standards but by Jesus' criteria: walking in the Spirit to bring good news, release captives, give sight to the blind. Sammon makes a credible case for transformative religious who choose vitality and a transforming response to the signs of the times. Sammon judges the identity of religious to be crucial and calls upon each Institute to restate its own, including assessment and choice but especially re-centering in Christ. Consecration to God with and through Christ in public profession emphasizes God's action and our response. While using a number of real-life examples to underscore his hope, Sammon's chapter on re-imaging community life abounds in practicalities, perhaps because he is most at home in its psychological dimensions. He insists that 'a spirit of reconciliation must be at the heart of the everyday life of any religious community...' and community is an affair of the heart. In his chapter on spirituality, his treatment of the integration of that with sexuality and celibate chastity is particularly helpful, as is his historical overview of common prayer. It is no surprise that Sammon's two central chapters are about community and spirituality. How carefully he has listened to young people. They hunger for community and a vibrant spirituality, he insists. Undoubtedly then, one of Sammon's hopes in crafting this book is to encourage each religious to listen to and respond to the heart of the young person who might be called to religious life. In his final set of reflection questions, he challenges his readers to develop a pastoral plan for inviting newcomers to religious life. New beginnings are not easy, but in this book Sammon has offered his readers a pastoral plan for the continuing renewal of religious life. And, more importantly, he offers us hope. --Rea McDonnell, SSND, PhD in Review for Religious, May/June 2002

Author: Sean D. Sammon FMS
ISBN: 978-0-8189-0920-7

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