An Infinity of Little Hours
Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order
PublicAffairs, 9781586484323, 304pp.
Publication Date: March 13, 2007
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Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
Were the descriptions of the monks and their lives what you expected? Were the types of people who decided to become monks those whom you would expect?
What do you think were the novices’ motivations for pursuing the monastic life? Were other factors, besides religion, involved?
Which people did you think were going to “make it” to solemn profession? Were you surprised by those who were actually professed?
The monks, just like the rest of the world, seem not to be without their prejudices. What kind of prejudices do they have? Are they different from those of the outside world? How do you think these prejudices arise?
What do you think of the concepts of exclusivity and resistance to change in religious orders? Is it a good or bad thing?
What do you think of Dom Joseph’s approach to his novitiate? Do you think that he was a good novice master? What does Maguire seem to think?
How do politics and hierarchy affect the character of Charterhouse life? Novices must be “voted in” to be solemnly professed. Do you think this is a fair system?
Why do you think that reading (as opposed to discussion) is considered such an important part of a Carthusian monk’s life?
The Carthusians always resisted intrusions from the outside world, yet they invited Maguire into their world, and recently allowed filmmaker Phillip Gröning to make a documentary (Into Great Silence) about them. Why do you think they have lately opened their doors to outsiders?
Could you see yourself entering such a monastery? What would you find the hardest part about being a Carthusian monk?
Is there a need for this type of religious order in the world today?
Is there any question you would like to ask these young men, now in their senior years?