Atchison Blue

A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: September 9, 2013

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Winner of a 2014 Catholic Press Award: Spirituality—Soft Cover (First Place). 

In this meditative spiritual memoir, Judith Valente, celebrated PBS religion journalist and celebrated poet, invites readers along on her transformative pilgrimages to Mount St. Scholastica monastery in Atchison, Kansas. The Benedictine sisters who invited Valente presented her with a view of monastic life and wisdom that brought spiritual healing to her fast-paced life—and promises to do the same for her readers.

The first time Judith Valente arrived at Mount St. Scholastica monastery, she came prepared to teach a course on poetry and the soul. Instead, she found herself the student, taking lessons from the Benedictine sisters in the healing nature of silence, how to cultivate habits of mindful living, and the freeing reality that conversion is a lifelong process.

With the heart of a poet and the eye of a journalist, Valente tells how her many visits and interviews with the Benedictine sisters forced her to confront aspects of her own life that needed healing—a journey that will invite readers to healing of their own. A beautiful and heartfelt work that crosses The Cloister Walk with Tuesdays with Morrie, Atchison Blue will resonate with readers of Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Mary Gordon, and Anne Lamott.

Product Details

Pages: 224

Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 9781933495583

Imprint: Sorin Books

  • “It may just change you.”

    “In her spiritual memoir Atchison Blue, Judith Valente does something rare. By revealing her flawed spiritual quest, she allows us to connect more deeply with our own. Nuns, silence, family feuds, and death change Valente, allowing her ‘conversion of life’ to whisper eternal secrets that nudge us toward our own conversations. Atchison Blue will uplift you, challenge you, and even make you laugh. But most of all, it may just change you.”

    Edward Beck
    Author of God Underneath

  • “I could not put this book down.”

    “Highly personal, yet quintessentially universal, Judith Valente's spiritual quest in Atchison Blue is absolutely riveting. Memorable not just for her journey, but also for how she writes of it—with the beautiful detailing of a poet and the keen exactitude of a journalist—the narrative reverberates in the mind and indelibly permeates the soul. I felt I was in the presence of both purity and grace and could not put this book down.”

    Susan Hahn
    Author of The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter

  • “Compelling in its honesty, overflowing with grace.”

    “Not only does Judith Valente capture the simple beauty and serenity of monastic life without idealizing a thing, but she also makes a powerful case for the necessity of Benedictine wisdom in our time. Compelling in its honesty, overflowing with grace, Atchison Blue is a marvelous addition to the spiritual writing genre made famous by Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, and Kathleen Norris.”

    Paula Huston
    Author of A Season of Mystery

  • “Quite moving.”

    “'Usually I am not too impressed with these kinds of journalistic peeks at monastic life, finding them either too romantic or too cynical. But this account is different. Valente seems to have glimpsed the inner life of this remarkable community. Valente opens herself to our examination, revealing aspects of her spiritual life that she finds seriously deficient. I found this account quite moving and heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the spiritual life more deeply.”

    Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B.
    Author of Benedict’s Rule: A Translation and Commentary

  • “Seldom is ‘spiritual’ reading so readable as it is here!”

    “Seldom is ‘spiritual’ reading so readable as it is here! Judith Valente makes her own liminal experience in a monastery attractive, real, and profound for all of us. There will be very few who would not find her journey helpful to their own.”

    Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
    Center for Action and Contemplation
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Additional Resources

A Reading Guide for Atchison Blue
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HuffPost Religion Book Review
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ForeWord Reviews Book Review
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National Catholic Reporter Book Review
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