Wandering Home: Women Contemplatives and the Contemporary Church

Team Members/Contributors

Wendy Farley Emory University Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

In response to concern for “compassion fatigue” among socially engaged Christians, I propose to investigate the relationship between the writings of medieval contemplative women and healthier way of engaging compassionate action in the world. These writings describe compassionate action as emerging from a theology of love and practices of prayer. These resources can make compassionate action feel less exhausting or despairing. I propose to continue my work with small groups of lay people, using these discussions to shape a book about medieval women that emphasizes their integration of theological study, prayer, and compassionate service to humanity. I am concerned that people of faith who might benefit from the integration of study, prayer and service may be under-served by the church. I believe there are powerful resources in our tradition to inform practices of prayer and sustainable service in the world. I have been moved by the hunger of ordinary Christians to know more about their tradition. I want to explore the relevance of this tradition for engaging contemporary concerns for justice, deepened and mature faith, and more universal compassion. I have been teaching these texts and ideas in colleges, Sunday schools, retreats, and workshops and believe that wider circulation of the writings of contemplative women serves a deep need for spiritual refreshment and healthier ways of living the life of engaged faith. I have been offered a contract by WJK to publish the book when it is completed. I am anxious to find funding for a sabbatical relief from teaching duties so I can continue my work among laity and bring this book to publication.