One of the most popular spiritual writers for more than fifty years, the British author and Carmelite nun Ruth Burrows writes not as a detached observer of either the Christian journey or the Carmelite tradition, but through the lens of her lifetime of lived experience as a contemplative Carmelite nun in the 21st century.
The Gospel Mysticism of Ruth Burrows presents for the first time a thorough synthesis of her thought. It is addressed to a wide range of readers, first of all to those interested in Burrows’s spirituality, but also to anyone who wants to trace the graced unfolding of the Christian spiritual life. For readers just discovering Burrows, the book is a helpful roadmap to navigate the ideas she develops through her writings. It will have special appeal to anyone interested in exploring Carmelite spirituality.
In addition to systematically exploring Burrows’s thought and writings, Australian theologian and author Michelle Jones mines a rich collection of unpublished writings, including personal correspondence, and live interviews with Ruth Burrows at her Carmelite monastery in the UK.
Who is Ruth Burrows?
Ruth Burrows is the pen name of Sister Rachel Gregory, O.C.D.
"[She] has been a Discalced Carmelite nun for over seventy-five years and belongs to the community at Quidenham in Norfolk, England. In 1975, she published her autobiography and first book, Before the Living God, which she wrote at the prompting of a friend and mentor. This work was followed by twelve further books and numerous articles on the Christian life in general and Carmelite spirituality in particular. Several of Burrows’s books have been reprinted many times, with her works widely regarded as spiritual classics. Furthermore, a number of translations of Burrows’s work have appeared, both early in her writing life and in recent times."
It's hard to imagine a more lucid and enlightening introduction to the work of Ruth Burrows, one of the most compelling spiritual authors of our time. What becomes clear, reading these pages by Michelle Jones, is the unique Gospel strength and startling freshness of the Burrows vision.
—Paul Murray, O.P.
Professor of Spirituality
The Angelicum, Rome
At a time when many are seeking not words about God but the experience of God, Michelle Jones writes of mysticism in precisely those terms. The church now has to become more mystical in order to be more missionary, and this book, drawing in fresh ways upon the Carmelite tradition, helps us understand what that might mean. It is both old and new, reaching for heaven yet down-to-earth.
—Archbishop Mark Coleridge
President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
and Archbishop of Brisbane
In this much-needed work, Michelle Jones provides … the most comprehensive, readable introduction to Ruth Burrows that is presently available. This book is an important contribution to the field of spirituality and will, no doubt deservedly, become the textbook for studies on Ruth Burrows and her spirituality. It will also help clarify the concept of mysticism that should, in turn, help make more accessible to us the deep wells of the Christian mystical tradition. We are in debt to Michelle Jones for this work. It not only presents Ruth Burrows to a wider audience, an audience she has long deserved, but also is an important contribution to the academy vis-à-vis the study of spirituality.
—Ron Rolheiser, O.M.I.
President, the Oblate School of Theology
San Antonio, Texas
Fresh, frank, and fruitful beyond measure is the wisdom of Ruth Burrows about what it means to be a Gospel mystic. Michelle Jones has plumbed the depths of that wisdom and offers readers a clear and insightful exploration of Burrows’s guidance for the Christian willing to stake everything on the crucified Jesus. Jones’s book shows why Burrows is one of the most important Carmelite authors in our time. A caution: the wisdom of Ruth Burrows may change your life.
—Keith J. Egan, T. O. Carm.
Adjunct Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology Emeritus, Saint Mary's College