The memoir is set in a Benedictine Monastery in New Mexico and told in counseling with the Abbot, a former jazz musician and Jungian analyst. The protagonist is trying to find her soul in the mire of organized religion. She has tried repeatedly to find a spiritual home in her church. She sees how every religion treats women as unequal. She is frustrated and saddened by what she understands is the rejection of the daughters of Eve. This treatment leaves the entire world unbalanced.
I was schooled from an early age as a Virgin -Martyr to accept humiliating and unjust treatment. The most curious part of this tradition is that many of the girls and their families in the continuing program are happy to conform. As I drifted off the Virgin-Martyr path I became, as they say, “difficult.” The fact that I received an “F” in Religion my senior year of high-school is a clue to the degree of my derailment.
In Virgin-Martyr-A Woman’s Journey to Reclaim Her Spirit, I, like Kathleen Norris in Cloister Walk, Sue Monk Kidd in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, and Carol Flinders in Enduring Grace, question the place of women in society and institutionalized religion. In The Death of Adam, Marilynne Robinson states that the prevailing view of things can be wrong. Virgin-Martyr reflects that view.
More women are speaking up, others are trying to find their voice. Those of us who have endured this belittling experience, and acknowledge it, believe we are alone. The Virgin-Martyr story emphatically says, no, you are not alone. There is a doorway out of this, you can heal yourself. I offer hope to the “difficult” women and the “Virgin-Martyrs” with this book.
It is vital in all cultural life to maintain a link between the present and the past.
If there is anything that history makes clear it is this,
that when a people becomes interested in its past life,
seeks to acquire knowledge in order better to understand itself,
it always experiences an awakening of new life.
Ole Edvart Rolvaag (1876-1931)
THE WHITE BUFFALO, Poems of the Feminine
“When the female voice is repressed and stifled,
the entire community can easily find themselves
cut off from the sacred feminine, depriving
themselves of the full image of god.” Rob Bell
The Sioux people of the Dakotas believe that when a white buffalo is born, a time of peace and change is about to happen. White Buffalo Woman is an ancient legend. She brings hope to her people.