Fourth- and fifth-century desert mothers in the Mediterranean region, known as ammas (spiritual mothers), were the founders of Christian community in the early church. Praying with the Desert Mothers introduces the lives, sayings, and stories of these remarkable spiritual elders. It enriches readers’ lives and compels them to return in meditation and prayer. For each topic, a true story is drawn from a modern persona’s experience of seeking God. This tapestry of stories of the desert ammas is woven together with theological insights, discussion of genres of literature, historical views on women, and reflective approaches to the wisdom tradition.
Praying with the Desert Mothers combines scholarship and reflection for praying, meditating, and living the wisdom of spiritual practices today. Chapters are Introduction to the Desert Mothers, Ammas as Midwives of Wisdom, Ammas as Scripture Scholars, Heralds in the Desert, Desert as Idyllic Garden, The Peal of Great Price, Humility and the Manifestation of Thoughts, Penthos and Tears, Signs of Conversion, The Hidden Life, Prayer and Hospitality; and concludes with The Visitation and a complete bibliography on the desert ammas.
Mary Forman, OSB, PhD, a Benedictine from the Monastery of Saint Gertrude, Cottonwood, Idaho, was an assistant professor of theology at the School of Theology, Seminary and the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.