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Rich offering of inspiration on religious life

INTRODUCTION TO THE RELIGIOUS LIFE: A JOURNEY OF FAITH AND SERVICE
Friar Guy Lespinary, OP; The Society of St Pauls, Staten Island, New York; 2015

Reviewed by Barbara Flynn

introductiontoreligiouslifeAS this year is dedicated to the Consecrated Life in the Catholic tradition it is fortunate to have available Friar Guy’s text.

This small book gives details and covers particular aspects of religious life while clarifying the meaning and purpose of the vocation.

It was first published in French as Friar Guy, a Canadian, spent many years as formation director of Dominican students in France.

Despite the great diversity of Institutes of Consecrated Life in the Church, Friar Guy points out that “each institute of religious life primarily is committed to follow Christ by continuing Jesus’ mission of both prayer and service in the world with a conscious desire to bring about transformation in society”.

A religious person in union with Jesus, Guy asserts, has as their whole purpose service to mankind through the power of the Holy Spirit.

He clearly states that “while a person may feel called” there is always a critical first need for a time for careful discernment followed by a non-hurried stage of supportive formation.

The definition of religious life used in Canon Law underpins Friar Guy’s concisely written discussion.

The purpose behind Friar Guy’s well sequenced content is to provide relevant information from a contemporary perspective in turn to people who feel called to religious life; priests and laity wanting clarity and understanding about issues and expectations of religious life; and those involved in the formation of candidates.

Expectations of the call to religious life explained in the first five chapters include becoming a collaborator with Jesus, and the aspects of personal conversion and sanctification.

In the next four chapters, processes in “the living out of a vocation” are expounded.

Among the many experiences given as enrichment for life as a religious are the importance of Scripture, community, humility and courage, and trust in God.

This is a richly encouraging book containing a comprehensive bibliography written to nurture and inspire vocations of faith and service to the Church.

Available from St Paul’s Book Centre, Brisbane.

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