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Download The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles epub

by Mary Swander

“This evocative memoir flashes back to Swander’s Catholic childhood, the death of her mother, and other events that made her suspicious of opening herself to spirituality. Hers is a tale of discovery.”—Chicago Tribune   While driving home one cold winter night, Mary Swander was struck by another car. The accident left her almost completely paralyzed and in chronic pain, with no medical cure or relief in sight. A lapsed Catholic, without any family to speak of, and now severely disabled, she was suddenly faced with how very alone she was in the world. On the verge of losing all hope, she traveled to New Mexico in search of the alternative medicine that the region is known for. It was a decision that would change her forever.   In this exquisite memoir, critically acclaimed writer and poet Mary Swander recounts her journey toward emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery amid the stark desert beauty of the American southwest. There she meets two unusual healers: Father Sergei, a Russian Orthodox monk who helps restore her faith; and Lu, a curandera, whose herbal remedies help restore her body. As she chronicles her own transcendent experiences, Swander embarks upon an investigation into the history of healing and mystics such as Teresa of Avila, St. Francis of Assisi, and Hildegard of Bingen. Beautifully written and conveyed with sensitivity and humor, The Desert Pilgrim is a meditation on what it takes to restore our faith in the modern world—and how to believe in miracles again.
Download The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles epub
ISBN: 0142196304
ISBN13: 978-0142196304
Category: History
Subcategory: World
Author: Mary Swander
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Books (June 29, 2004)
Pages: 352 pages
ePUB size: 1648 kb
FB2 size: 1869 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 496
Other Formats: mbr txt lrf azw

As I read this book, I feel like I am reading a parallel life to my own. I am picking up some nuggets of wisdom that are tweaking my own spirituality. As I am reading her book, I am cracking open other books to find out more information about Hildegard of Bingen and St. Francis and Job's Tears rosary beads and curanderas and Albuquerque and more. I am not Catholic, but I had to buy a rosary after reading about the curandera, Lu, explaining how rosaries are made. I am curious about one of Mary's writing techniques where she casually mentions something and then expounds on it later -- not at the first time when she mentions it. I love that. I feel like I am with her as she is experiencing her pilgrimage, and the people she finds in the barrio are so real and full of spirituality.
It was a pleasure to witness Mary Swander's learning and spiritual evolution in The Desert Pilgrim. The author grounds her experience in the everyday world, which helps keep the reader with her on her path. When she finds answers to her questions, we find solace, too.
I've read this book about four or five times and wanted my own copy. Very uplifting.
There should be a great story here, but there isn't. The one star is for the description of the author's chronic and difficult illness. The lack of stars is for the poor descriptive writing and the number of inaccuracies which led me to doubt her research and even her authenticity. Perhaps reading some source material would have helped. (She refers to Thomas a Kempis' book as 'My Imitation of Christ' instead of The Imitation of Christ and it seems apparent she has never read it.) Her poor generalization of the Catholic faith could be cleared up by a reading of that churches' catechism.
As a New Mexico resident and a lover of the desert, I had high hopes for this book when I plucked it off a shelf and bought it based on the description on back. Clearly the author's story is poignant and inspiring, but that really gets lost in barely mediocre writing. Swander grossly minimizes details related to New Mexico and its cultures, and she does the same with her descriptions of mystical figures and religion, and these sort of bald descriptions & generalizations really weaken the power of the story and her credibility as a writer. This propensity also makes the story feel unfocused and unguided. The book just doesn't read very authentically. I wish I had a different experience reading it, but I didn't.
this is a heartfelt, truthful work. mary swander is an inspiration and her writing is comforting and honest.