When Women Pray

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When Women Pray

Our Personal Stories of Extraordinary Grace

Lyn Holley Doucet and Robin Hebert interweave a captivating blend of quotidian events, lush sensory images, mystical revelations, and practical guidance in this enlightening resource. Deepen your faith and experience the life-changing presence of God in these inspiring stories.

These very human accounts of moments that challenged the soul or proclaimed the glory of God on earth tenderly lead us to see how the days of our lives unfold and guide us on our spiritual path. An altercation with a fellow shopper at a garden nursery, the revelation in a hymn during mass, an awakening while praying with a Benedictine sister, the high school graduation of an only child—these kinds of events stimulate growth and transformation for Doucet and Hebert and will help you look for illumination and wisdom in your own life.

The authors ground their insights with many practical suggestions and provide contacts for spiritual and prayer communities, spiritual directors, and retreat centers; brief descriptions of exercises for meditation; questions for reflection; and poetic prayers that voice the soul’s longing for rest in God.

Find nourishment and support in this important contribution.

Reviews and endorsements

"I would admire these women and like their stories if they lived in Timbuktu. But as it happens, they both live in my home state of Louisiana (and I have not met either one!). Lyn Holley Doucet . . . is a spiritual director and a composer. Robin Hebert, former national president of the Theresians of the United States, has been a pastoral counselor, spiritual director, retreat leader and speaker. The book is an informal collection of personal stories, each one signed by L.H.D. or R.H. These pieces feel like journal entries or personal letters from a friend. Yet much instruction is embedded in them, introducing the reader to major figures in spirituality, including Thomas à Kempis and Thérèse of Lisieux, explaining various approaches to spiritual formation and transformation. The writers describe journal-keeping, spiritual direction, the prayer of examen, lectio divina and many other useful practices.

But there is another level in this book more important than instruction. Every page offers some kind of joyful expectation, a sense of God’s real presence. 'I sat on a swing in a big pasture in Grand Coteau, Louisiana,' writes Doucet, 'on a clear and sunny day during a retreat . . .' She is pondering the Transfiguration of Christ. Musing on this, she is carried back in memory to a village where she and her husband lived long ago, raising their young son. She remembers a vivid experience of light: 'not the light of the sun or anything familiar. It was my inner light, or God’s light, projected, a gauzy radiance that wrapped around everything, transforming individual things into a sacred whole.' After retrieving in memory this vision of light and wholeness, Doucet returns to her retreat office, where she hears stories of loss and brokenness from women at the retreat. But her sense of God’s light and peacefulness transforms everything.

Robin Hebert has a similar gift for seeing God’s presence. 'The climax of my weekend came with an image I received as I completed my reading about Thérèse . . . Thérèse saw herself as a little child at the foot of a long staircase, looking up to her Father standing at the top of the steps. As she placed her foot on that first step, in his almighty love, God swooped down to draw her up to him.' Hebert identifies with the child Thérèse at the foot of the staircase. And she learns how to let go. 'I cannot relinquish anything on my own. All I can do is desire to surrender, and God does the rest.' Not every selection is quite so intense; but every one provides glimpses of transforming grace.

In a time when some are dubious about the future of Catholic life, I find these books reassuring on many levels. They draw on our ancient Catholic heritage. They show us how contemporary life and study may shape our faith. I am encouraged that such good new writers are coming onto the current scene, to tell us what God has in store."
America Magazine

When Women Pray is a striking patchwork of story, memory, healing, and wisdom. The tone of this book is gentle and encouraging, but completely honest and full of challenge. I recommend it to anyone who wants to pray more deeply and meet God more boldly."
Vinita Hampton Wright, author of Simple Acts of Moving Forward


“A beautiful and strong collection not only of stories about prayer, but especially about the powerful radiance that is always waiting to change us. Don't miss this gem.”
Paula D'Arcy, author of A New Set of Eyes and Gift of the Red Bird


“Experiential, living, anecdotal, and revealing the mysticism of ‘ordinary’ women. This is the hopeful and liberated lay spirituality that is not ‘lay’ at all!"
Fr. Richard Rohr, O.F.M., Center for Action and Contemplation, author of Everything Belongs


“The authors’ pilgrimages of sensitivity have led them through numerous workshops, retreats, authors, and experiences with spiritual guides, and will now be of immense help to other women who would like to discover the unspeakable riches of prayer and devotion in their own lives.”
Anne Kathryn Killinger, author of An Inner Journey to Easter


“What Julia Child did for French cooking, these two women do for prayer. They serve up prayer not as a dish for special occasions, but as something special to enjoy every day because it makes life richer and more pleasurable. An inspiring compendium to keep close at hand.”
Rita Winters, author of The Green Desert


“This lovely work prayerfully unfolds stories of fruitfulness, joy, pain, beauty, courage, doubt, angst, longing, confusion, and humor. Robin and Lyn recognize the grace that holds these stories together. They know it is all prayer.”
—Macrina Wiederkehr, author of The Song of the Seed and Gold in Your Memories

Paperback / 192 pages
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 1/4