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Farewell to Glasshampton / Books I have read while here   Leave a comment

I am getting ready to leave Glasshampton. God willing I will be back sometime next year.  For my final blog post of this retreat I thought I would list the books I have been reading while here:

From the library at Glasshampton:

  1. The Bible (New Revised Standard Version – Anglicized Edition)
  2. Norman Autton (1967) “The pastoral care of the bereaved” SPCK – My father died 1 month ago and I was interested to learn more of my own, my mother’s and my brothers’ anticipated journeys of grief
  3. Jeffery Satinover (1995) “The empty self – Gnostic and Jungian Foundations of Modern Identity”, Grover Pastoral Series, Grove Books – The title attracted me when scanning the library because I have always preferred Jung to Freud and find the Gnostics and the whole early church history of deciding what was orthodox and what heresy fascinating.  Surely we all have an interest in Identity, at least our own if not in the general sense.  I referred to this booklet in my blog post on Solitude.
  4. Brother Anselm (2002?) “Memories” Self Published – bought from the monastery shop for £2. -A lovely 10,000 word memoir of a friar, now in his mid 80s about his family and his life in the Society of Saint Francis.  It was good to get to know Anselm a little while on retreat.
  5. Richard Rohr (2005) “From Wild Man to Wise Men – Reflections on Male Spirituality” St. Anthony Press – I borrowed this book because another guest had mentioned the author as an interesting Franciscan writer and I had not heard of him before.  I only had time to dip into the book but I do believe there needs to remain in the church a space for a distinct male spirituality as many churches become feminised because fewer men than women now attend church.
  6. Kathleen Raine (1970) “William Blake” Thames and Hudson – I got this out of the library just because I love Blake; his art, poetry and mysticism.  Interestingly he was cited in the Satinover book above.
Then from home I brought and looked into the following books:
  1. Vernon Staley (1893, reprinted 1993) “The Catholic Religion” Mowbray – A standard text for me on Christian orthodoxy that I have brought on most retreats.  I used it in preparing for my confession.
  2. Sinclair McKay (2010) “The Secret Life of Bletchley Park” Aurum Press
  3. Anon (2015) “The Nikon Camera Book” Imagine Publishing Ltd.
The last two I brought because I find in important to have some non-religious reading while on retreat.  I also brought a novel with me but did not start it.
I finish writing this blog post in a pub near New Street Station in Birmingham.  I am breaking my journey, people watching and enjoying a beer.  Returning to the wider world is as much a part of the retreat experience as the mini-pilgrimage to the place of retreat.  In some way my senses are assaulted by the noise and bustle of a big city and I notice the female presence in the world particularly after four days in almost exclusively male company.  If I wasn’t married and didn’t feel my work was a vocation perhaps I could be a monk but that is not my calling.  Until sometime next year that is the end of my retreat.
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