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A Simplified Life: A Contemporary Hermit's Experience of Solitude and Silence Paperback – 20 Jul 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 195 pages
  • Publisher: Canterbury Press; 1 edition (20 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848250258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848250253
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 331,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'There is much spiritual wisdom to be found here, complemented by frequent and helpful poetry quotations.' (Philip Clements-Jewery)

About the Author

VERENA SCHILLER is an Anglican religious sister, a member of the Community of the Holy Name, though living as a solitary.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This fascinating book was written by a solitary nun and covers 25 years of her life which she spent in a tiny cabin overlooking the Bardsey Sound at the tip of the Llyn Peninsula. It is the weaving together of three journeys. Firstly, the story of Pen Llyn and the draw of its fierce landscape for holy men and Pilgrims down the ages-a place that she describes as having a timeless quality where thresholds can be crossed with glimpses of the primeval "songlines of the land". Secondly, the story of her personal journey in that place, of her cell, her anchor world, a journey of moving closer to God's purposes through prayer and solitude-a search for a place of stillness and personal space that is within us all if we only stopped to find it. And thirdly, it is a reflection on the universal journey which is shared by all men and women who search for meaning in their lives.
This book made me look again at my approach to life and my relationship to the land and traditions around me.
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Format: Paperback
I have the great privilege of knowing Sister Verena through visiting her regularly. I am glad that now many more people will be able to benefit in some way from her through this unique book which weaves together the story of her personal journey as a hermit with reflections and insights about her experiences and the deep significance of the landscape she has come to know so intimately. It provides a very good introduction to aspects of Welsh Christianity. Bardsey Island is less well known than Iona or Lindisfarne and Sister Verena describes some of its special qualities. Near the end of the book she also describes a special journey to Ireland and to that most spectacular of holy islands, Skellig Michael.

The book is full of wonderful quotes - my personal favourite was a long quote from Morgan Llwyd (1619-1659) - here's a part of it..

Behold your first task is to be still, and to still every sound that is in your heart, to turn out every thought that is in you but the mind of God in you.... So seek of God (until you obtain) a still heart within, a heart careless of everything but God... hidden with God, in God's peace, ... and as you sink into yourself and from thence out of yourself into God your root, through setting the will on God alone, you shall know the eternal Word in time."

The extraordinary paradox that one also becomes aware of is that although Sister Verena lived for 25 years in that hut way out on the margins, she is deeply connected with humanity and from her still point you sense that she understands the world better than most world travellers.

Her personal story is fascinating beginning with her upbringing in a very creative Austrian family. When Hitler annexed Austria in 1938, she was sent with her brother to her uncle in England.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What to say about this little book that brings the large/small, wild/calm, silent/noisy world of a hermit nun on a welsh headland pondering God and being pondered by Him into your head and heart?

Sr. Verena Schiller leaves her convent, with the blessing of her Sisters, to seek God in solitary fashion, living on the Llyn Peninsula over looking the Holy Island of Bardsey in North Wales. Passion, place, history and the wild excess of God's creation interweave in this account of her 25 years apart. More than an autobiography, more than a book of spiritual thoughts, more than a history of solitary seekers of God and their place and development in the Celtic world, this book does not accept categorisation well. I would label it a "sharing" more than anything else and I would thank Sr Verena for doing so.

If you were looking for chronological account of the dramatic, harsh yet romantic life of the nun on the headland you have chosen the wrong book. Silence and seclusion alters the hold of chronos. Anchoring to a place God calls you too, moving more deeply into Him as he calls, juddering and reeling in unfamiliar silence, navigating calms and calamities being brought to new prayer feeling His light touch in wind and waves. If this is what you seek you have the right book, I think.

All of this is "shared" in her own style, suffused with her own personality (how else could you write a book like this?). Poetry, history, learning, acute observation of herself and God in His wild landscape and a realists grasp of her own fragility and need make of this book a melody of God.
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Format: Paperback
A Simplified Life is a spiritual journey that is recognisable to everyone, particularly those who live on their own. Choosing the life of a hermit in a tiny shoe-box of a cabin at the end of the Lleyn Peninsular and looking across the sea to the constantly changing holy island of Bardsay, Sister Verena charts the experience of solitude. There is the solace as well as the challenge of nature and the landscape - sometimes harsh, sometimes heart-stoppingly beautiful; the changing moods of the outer world as well as her own inner being and the practical problems of survival. She lives frugally, growing her own vegetables and being, as far as humanly possible self sufficient. Although, naturally, hers is a religious quest, it is, at the same time, a universal human search for the unknowable.
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