All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well

Posted by on Aug 17, 2010 in Otherhood | No Comments

Speaking of the inner life of nuns

Most of the scholars I’ve met who study Western monasticism are also hardcore medievalists, and some of them would fit well into All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be a well, the first novel by Tod Wodicka.  The description from GoodReads:

Meet Burt Hecker: he’s a mead-addicted medieval re-enactor from upstate New York who prefers oat gruel to French fries—because potatoes were unavailable in Europe before 1200 A.D.—and is mourning the death of his wife.

After an incident involving the police and an illegally borrowed car, Burt is forced to join a local music therapy workshop to manage his anger. With this group, he travels to Germany for a music festival. His real goal, however, is to get to Prague, where his estranged son has been living. Armed with what he thinks is a historically accurate understanding of how to fix the past, Burt sets out on a journey that will change his future.

Here’s what’s monastic about it:

1) The book’s title comes from English mystic and anchoress Julian of Norwich.

2) At the beginning of the book, Wodicka quotes 13th century German mystic and Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen on becoming an Anchorite at 14:

“They bury you alive so that you will never have a chance to sin. The ceremony is frightening but you cannot cry because Christ is there… Funeral rites are administered. You are bathed in holy water, scrubbed–and you will not cry… There are burial hymns. You are a gift this day, and you pray that you are worthy.”

Is this is an extreme, emotionally evocative description of the pain and promise of the Benedictine vow of Conversatio Morum?

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