Item description for A Right to Be Merry by Mother Mary Francis & Mary...
Can life really be "merry" inside a Poor Clare cloister? This happy book reveals the challenges, cares and joys of that cloistered life from an "insiders" view. The poet's cry, "O world, I cannot hold you close enough!" is the heart's cry of the enclosed contemplative.
No one who has not lived in a cloister can fully understand just how intertwined are the lives of cloistered nuns. Their hearts may be wide as the universe and bottomless as eternity, but the practical details of their living are boxed up into the small area within the enclosure walls. Cloistered nuns rub souls as well as elbows all their lives, and if they do not step out of themselves to get a true perspective, they can become small-souled and petty and remain immature children all their lives long. But, as Mother Mary Francis points out, they also have "as great a right to be merry as any lady in the world."
Nor is merriment all. "Hidden away from the glare and noise of worldly living," Mother Mary Francis writes, "we are enclosed in the womb of holy Church. I walk down the cloisters, and my heart moves to a single tune: Lord, it is good, so good to be here!"
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Reviews - What do customers think about A Right to Be Merry?
pure joy Aug 16, 2006
Mother Mary Francis wrote a wonderful little book about her life as a Poor Clare nun. Her life in the convent was a happy one. She and her sisters laughed, danced and sang. This is a lovely peep into the cloistered life given to us by an eminently sensible and jolly woman.
So full of joy it practically glows! Feb 6, 2005
What a fabulous book this is! The author is a paragon of wisdom and a gifted writer to boot. Her joyful love for God, for Saint Clare, for the life she has chosen (or been chosen for), and really, for all of frail humanity, practically bound off the page. I didn't expect to laugh out loud while reading a book of this nature, but I certainly did! Mother Mary Francis has such a wonderfully whimsical way of looking at the most ordinary things and events; the reader is enfolded in her charm and warmth. At other times I found myself reading through a film of tears; the whole book is a subtle torch that melts the heart.
Though this book is about life in an enclosed order of nuns, it's not just for Catholics. I'm not a Catholic myself, but I feel like I gained about as much from it as anyone could, and I don't feel any separation or strangeness between myself and the sisters. I strongly recommend this book to seekers of God from whatever path or religion, because don't we all share the same human nature and face the same struggles? And this author kindly shares one way of gracefully navigating the difficult waters. Since the Poor Clares have been following the same path for over 750 years now, without dying out or changing their ways, we know that it is one road, no matter how unusual, that does work, and we can all take something from it.
Finally, I appreciated the prefaces that Mother Mary Francis added to this 2001 edition of her book. Since the book was written in the 1950's, don't you want to know what has happened in the Roswell monastery since then? I did! So the additonal material from the years 1973 and 2000 was most welcome. I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone, but I'm happy to report that the monastery is thriving. Lucky them: Mother Mary Francis is apparently still the Abbess, God bless her beautiful, wise heart.
Note: Feb. 2006 addition to this review from February 2005: I have just learned that Mother Mary Francis passed away this month. May she rest in eternal peace.
The Way They Were (and some still are) May 21, 2003
This book was actually published first in 1961; I discovered it in the early 70's and have enjoyed it time and again since then. For anyone who wants to know what life was like in every Poor Clare monastery before Vatican II and the decimation of the religious life, this is undoubtedly the book to read. The lifestyle still persists in a few monasteries and you might want to visit their websites. If you enjoy this book, Sr. Mary Francis has written others as well (though none is quite as good as this one!).
Fantastic View into the Life of Nuns Mar 11, 2003
I throughly enjoyed this book. As a Catholic girl I have considered becoming a nun at various stages of my life. Reading this book helped me to get a better perspective of what nunhood might be like. Mother Mary Francis discusses the ups and downs, and the beauties and the horrors of being a nun. I reccomend this for any one who wants to understand the beauty of religious life.
A classic in books about religious life Jul 10, 2001
I loved this book so much, that I marked passages of it to share with other women I know who are discerning religious life. Mother Mary Francis tells us about a group of Poor Clare nuns beginning a new foundation in New Mexico. But that is just the superficial framework of the book. What she really gives us is a superb view of the theology of life as a Poor Clare nun.
In her writings on Saints Francis and Clare, her pen paints pictures that make these wonderful saints come alive for us. Mother Mary Francis shares with us their teachings to their nuns, and what impact those teachings have on their lives. So many consider the cloisered religious life to be a dark, solitary, very solemn life, but that is far from the truth. A monastery is a place of love, and light, and laughter, and no one tells us that so well as Mother Mary Francis.
I highly recommend this book to any and all, but especially to those discerning religious life and to those with a devotion to St. Clare. This book may be old, but it is far from outdated.