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Hope Endures: Leaving Mother Teresa, Losing Faith, and Searching for Meaning (Hardback)
  • Hope Endures: Leaving Mother Teresa, Losing Faith, and Searching for Meaning (Hardback)
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Hope Endures: Leaving Mother Teresa, Losing Faith, and Searching for Meaning (Hardback)

(author)
£16.99
Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 19/01/2009
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The searing memoir of an extraordinary woman who served as a nun for eleven years in Mother Teresa's order, Hope Endures is a compelling chronicle of idealistic determination, rigid discipline, and shattering disillusionment. InEher life's journey from certainty to doubt, Colette Livermore enters the Missionaries of Charity order in 1973 with unwavering faith and total surrender ofEher will and intellect after seeing a documentary on the order's work in India. Only eighteen at the time, Livermore has been studying to enter medical school -- a lifelong goal -- but virtually overnight severs her many ties with family, friends, and the life she's known in beautiful, rural New South Wales in order to train as a sister to aid the poor. In the process, she also gives herself over to the order's unexpectedly severe, ascetic regime, which demands blind obedience and submission.

Given the religious name Sister Tobit, Livermore serves in some of the poorest places in the world -- the garbage dump slums of Manila, Papua New Guinea, and Calcutta -- bringing hope and care to people who are desperately ill, hungry, abandoned, and even dying, and comforting whomever she can. Although she draws inspiration and strength from her humanitarian work, Livermore and other nuns risk their own physical health, as they are sent to dangerous areas while being unschooled in the languages and cultures, untrained in medical care, and sometimes unprotected by vaccines. Livermore herself succumbs to bouts of drug-resistant cerebral malaria that almost kill her and to a new strain of hepatitis. Over time she also beginsEto notice that the order's rigid insistence on unquestioning obedience harms the young sisters mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -- and she experiences a terrible inner struggle to find the right path for herself. As she tries to respond to the suffering around her, she often falls into an incomprehensible conflict between her vow to obey and her vow to serve, between religious strictures and the practice of compassion, between authority and personal conscience.

Pressured to stay with the order by Mother Teresa and other superiors, as well as by the younger nuns, Livermore nonetheless decides to leave at age thirty and attain her medical degree, continuing to take health care and relief to impoverished people in remote areas -- the isolated aboriginal communities of the Outback and war-torn East Timor. Even as she serves others as a medical doctor, she continues in a crisis of faith thatEeventually leads her to become an agnostic.

Hope Endures is the eye-opening, deeply affecting story of a brave woman's search for meaning in a world that is rent with tragedies and contradictions. It is also an unflinching critique of any faith that insists on blind obedience. For true hope to endure, Dr. Livermore demonstrates, we must always strive to question, to face the hard truths, and to discover the courage to follow our convictions.

Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: 9781416593614
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 445 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Hope Endures is one of the most fascinating accounts of the spiritual journey I have ever read. It emphasizes the importance of a direct, unmediated approach to the Source, the Absolute, God, however named. The Christian version of Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, this book is an affirmation for those to whom blind obedience and submission to established creeds do not ring true, and who hunger for something more authentic than dogma. This ringing endorsement of spiritual freedom is more important than ever, in view of the threat posed by religious fundamentalism around the world." -- Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Healing Words and Reinventing Medicine
"Hope Endures is compelling. Livermore perfectly captures our yearning to want life to fit our spiritual ideals, only to learn it never will. But we cannot help but continue to walk the path. This book is superb." -- Caroline Myss, author of Entering the Castle, Invisible Acts of Power, and Anatomy of the Spirit
"This penetrating book unveils the blindness that lurks in many spiritual organizations and traditions, and confronts an issue that still corrupts contemporary religious organizations -- naive belief used to justify ignorance, obedience, and neglect rather than to galvanize social change, improve lives, and foster spiritual connections. As her compelling story unfolds, Ms. Livermore slowly realizes that she and her fellow nuns are being taught to 'spiritualize' their own emotional abuse, and she can no longer submit to it. Like all good stories, this one involves a strong, public personality -- Mother Teresa -- and the clash between extremes of innocence and authority. Reading this clear-eyed book is a good first step toward dealing with the shadow side of spirituality and to opening a door to a brighter, more mature way of being in the world." -- Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

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