One day in 1917, while cooking dinner at home in Manhattan, Margaret Reilly felt a sharp pain over her heart and claimed to see a crucifix emerging in blood on her skin. Four years later Reilly entered the convent ofthe Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Peekskill, New York, where, known as SisterMary of the Crown of Thorns, she spent most of her life gravely ill andpossibly exhibiting Christ's wounds.
In this portrait of Sister Thorn, Paula M. Kane scrutinizes the responses to this American stigmatic's experiences and illustrates the surprising presence of mystical phenomena in twentieth-century American Catholicism.
Drawing on accounts by clerical authorities, ordinary Catholics, doctors, and journalists - as well as on medicine, anthropology, and gender studies - Kane explores American Catholic mysticism, setting it in the context of life after World War I and showing the war's impact on American Christianity. Sister Thorn's life, she reveals, marks the beginning of a transition among Catholics from a devotional, Old World piety to a newly confident role in American society.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
If you're a Catholic basher, male priesthood hater, feminist victimhood promoter, this book is for you. If you worship the gods of psychoanalysis and Freudianism, this book is for you. If you have utter contempt for organized religion and the Ten Commandments, this book is for you.
Would you be willing to try another book from Paula M. Kane? Why or why not?
Paula M. Kane's take on Catholicism is as trustworthy as going on a date with the Boston Strangler and expecting to be taken home safe and sound. If I want to read a book on Catholicism, I will search for an author who holds and respects the tenets of the Faith, unlike Ms. Kane.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Ms. Brazil, the narrator, did little to hide her contempt for all things Catholic. With her undue and very negative stress on certain Catholic terminology, for example, each time she read the word, "cult," -- meaning particular religious devotions, Ms. Brazil rendered it akin to following the cult of Charles Manson, so dripping was her disdain for Catholic devotional practices. Add dripping condescension as well. Additionally, as a narrator of a book full of Catholic information, Ms. Brazil should have made an effort acquaint herself with correct pronunciation, i.e., the name of St. Augustine, the doctor of the Church is pronounced differently than the city in Florida. Her tone of reading made me angry. If you read the other comments, you will see that I am not alone in my reaction. Arrogant self-imagined superiority came screeching through her words. In fine, the narrator can be described as nothing else but a severe THORN in my side.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
The subject was an extremely interesting one. The history was fascinating and examples given of other mystics also held the listener's interest. However, more should have been devoted to the source materials of the accounts of witnesses of Sr. Thorn, than the author's obviously biased conclusions. One redeeming quality of listening to this book: it's good to know how the enemy thinks.
Any additional comments?
If you're a subscriber to National Catholic Distorter, you'll LOVE this book.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
The book does a good job of looking at stigmatists. The author is obviously a feminist trying to show how male mystics are treated better than female. It’s worth a read.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful