Cycles in Marriage, Faith, and Renewal
By Nancy Mairs
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807070574, 256pp.)
Publication Date: August 30, 1994
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A New York Times Notable Book of the Year 1993
An unconventional spiritual autobiography, told in a remarkable, outspoken voice and rooted in the messy realities and questions—the 'ordinary time'—of one woman's life, from infidelity to living with multiple sclerosis, to death, to renewing a marriage.
A remarkable accomplishment. —Kathleen Norris, New York Times Book Review
"This is no ordinary book. … Consoling and poignant: a Catholic feminist moral inquiry that resists New Age simplifications and shares its message of deep faith with courage and dignity." —Kirkus
"As a Catholic feminist (an oxymoron, she observes), [Mairs] contemplates the thorny relationships she has had with the Church and with her family (at one time in her marriage, both partners were adulterous). She examines the effects of her multiple sclerosis and of her husband's cancer, conditions which contributed to their reconciliation and personal growth. In spirited essays that trace her journey from her Congregationalist childhood to her current individualistic Catholicism, she poses questions about marriage, parenthood and the meaning of suffering that will resonate with many contemporary lives. Her voice is challenging and her thrust at times radical, but Mairs maintains a disarming, self-deprecating wit and unflinching effort to remain true in this charting of the 'terrain of a conscientious life.'" —Publishers Weekly
"This is the remarkable story of a woman who faces the vicissitudes of life with honesty, courage, and, ultimately, commitment. Hers is no easy or ideal life: her own adultery, her husband's adultery, his cancer, her multiple sclerosis, and her spiritual struggles, including bouts with clinical depression, culminate in an affirmation of marriage, life, and love that inspires Mairs to a stronger commitment. She struggles with self-image, with images of God, and with fears of loss and pain. Poignantly, she learns that she can love her husband `'more often than not, in a way that reflects the love of God,'' a sentiment that is tested when he is unfaithful. Mairs also finds feminism, Roman Catholicism, and sacrament in ways that inspire." Recommended for public and seminary libraries. —Library Journal