Written on: May 31, 2019
Sister Ellie Martinez reviews The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister
At Sacred Heart Center (SHC), Sister Sheila Stone initiated a Book Group with a focus on the topic of aging with grace. The group has just read The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Joan Chittister (BlueBridge, 2010). The response of the participants has been extremely favorable.
As we grow older, we may find ourselves questioning our perspectives on a variety of topics from adjustment to loneliness to faith and so on. Sister Joan takes over 40 of these concepts and addresses both the burdens and the blessings of each. Each chapter begins with a quote from someone famous and ends with a description of the burdens and blessings. At the end of each chapter is an inspiring summary, one of which is included here:
“A burden of these years is that we are tempted to think that once we ourselves are no longer powerful enough to work our will in the world around us, we are at the mercy of a cruel universe.”
“A blessing of these years is that we are now beginning to trust in the life-giving God we do not see, more than we have trusted in the accessories of life which we have seen both come without guarantee and go without warning.”
Sacred Heart Center Book Group
Two women who are “regulars” at events at Sacred Heart Center, Debbie Adriance and Diane Baron, volunteered to help plan a book group. The book selected was The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister (review above).
There are two groups, one meeting on Thursday and one on Saturday to accommodate those who work.
Several women were already fans of Joan Chittister and the others were interested in being part of a book group. Many of the women were widows. Sr. Sheila Stone, the organizer commented, “What was most beneficial, I felt, was that the women learned from and helped one another as they shared on the various topics. One woman expressed her fear of retiring from work and several responded by saying how they had felt at first, and what new opportunities gradually opened up for them with volunteering and having more time for prayer, reading, going to the park etc. For many of the topics we learned that it was our attitudes that shaped whether the topic was a burden or a blessing.”
Belong to a book group? Please tell us about yours and share what you are reading!