Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Guest Post ~ Dee Ready

Prayer Wasn’t Enough: Guest Posting

Recently I published Prayer Wasn’t Enough, a memoir about the eight-and-a-half years I spent in a Benedictine convent in the 1960s. Rick has graciously invited me to do a guest posting today about that memoir. So “Thank you” to Rick, and “Hello” to all of you reading this post. 

After leaving the convent in 1966, fifty years passed before I began to write this memoir.
During that time, a question haunted me: “Why had so many women whom I admired been able to live the life and I hadn’t?” I left the convent feeling a failure. That feeling never left me.

Then, in 2016, a friend said, “Dee, you love to write. Write about the convent. Maybe that’ll bring an answer to your question.” 

Prayer Wasn’t Enough did become an answer. Writing the memoir helped me get in touch with that twenty-two-year-old, idealistic, young Dee Ready who joyously donned the Benedictine habit as well as the thirty-year-old who left the convent almost catatonic. 
As I sat at the computer for eighteen months, sometimes crying, often laughing, I remembered it all: the prayer, the obediences, the teaching, the clothing, the silence, the rules, the traditions, and my own mistaken notion that I had to be perfect to be a nun. That, I discovered, had been my stumbling block. My own emotional and spiritual immature had sent me over the edge.

Writing the memoir finally freed me from the guilt I’d felt for walking away from a vowed life of prayer and teaching. 

If only during those years of feeling a failure, I’d remembered that in 1989 writing helped me with the grief of losing Dulcy, the cat with whom I lived for seventeen-and-a-half years. Dulcy helped me through that grief by giving me two books: A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story and A Cat’s Legacy: Dulcy’s Companion Book. 

I’m busy now polishing a novel that takes place in first century Palestine. It has two main characters: a Pharisee and Yeshua—the Hebrew name for Jesus. Without the convent experience I don’t think I ever would have conceived the idea for this book, which will be published this September. The memoir has given me the confidence to share the crisis of faith that is the thread running through that novel.

One last thing: Please consider writing when you want to work through a past trauma or when you fear that the road ahead will be daunting. Writing may help you, too, embrace the thoughts, fears, and feelings that lie deep at the center of your being. In that center all of us find our true selves. Trust me on this—we all have a story to tell. I encourage you to tell your own unique story. Telling mine brought liberation.



NOTE: Dee's book is available HERE.
Rick



18 comments:

  1. Thank you Dee.
    Interestingly I have just been writing about a difficult period in my own life. A period of grief and perceived failure.
    I am sooo looking forward to your book. Soon I hope.

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    1. Dear Sue, I hope your writing is helping you as the memoir helped me. Letting the words flow forth from the deep center of myself was so healing. I so hope it's that way for you.

      And I am soon looking forward to your reading the book and letting me know what you think about it! Peace.

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  2. Your story sounds very interesting. I was fortunate enough to be invited to do the St Ignatius Exercise and it has helped me immensely. I now love myself and and I have found peace with who I am.
    Hugs, Julia

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    1. Dear Julia, years ago, after I had been out of the convent for maybe twenty years, I, too did the St. Ignatius Exercise. It is powerful and it truly helped me learn to meditate in a new way. I'm so please for you that the exercises helped you come to love yourself and live at peace with yourself. That kind of contentment is a rare gift, I think. Peace.

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  3. It seems that not everyone is suited for the original plans they make for themselves. You have found something that gives you peace yet allows you to practice your faith at the same time. Your book will be successful. You write beautifully.

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    1. Dear Emma, it took me so long to learn what you say here--that sometimes our first plans are not the ones that suit us best. I do not regret entering the convent; but I also do not regret leaving. The stay there helped me learn what community is all about.

      I so hope you are right and that the book will be successful. For me, that will mean that it touches the lives of others with goodness. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. Peace.

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  4. Hey there Dee. Just downloaded the book. I am looking forward to the read. Yes writing does release guilt and relieves the soul. Glad you did the Guest Post. And thanks Rick, for the introduction!

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    1. Dear Jack, thanks so much for downloading the book. I hope you enjoy it and find it worth your time. Carrying around guilt is a real burden, and you are so correct that when we are able to release the guilt there's a true sense of relief. I am so grateful to my friend who suggested I writ the memoir. Peace.

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  5. What a wonderfull post and thanks to Rick for sharing it. We all need the reminder that none of us is perfect. I read more than I write, so your book sounds like the inspiration many of us need. Especially in the world we life in today.

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  6. Dear MA, I do a lot of reading also--mostly mystery novels--but I do find that writing helps me sort of thoughts and make decisions and prioritize more easily. It does all that and often gives me ideas for stories that I then write! All that is helpful in today's world of chaos and confusion. Peace.

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  7. Dear Dee, I have only one thing to say about your book; I LOVED it!!

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    1. Dear Fishducky, thank you! I'm so fortunate to have the support of so many bloggers--you, of course, among them! Peace.

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  8. I wish I could afford to buy your book as I would love to read it

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    1. Dear Jo-Anne, I just sent you an e-mail about this. Looking forward to hearing back from you. Peace.

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  9. For whatever the reason, it was not meant to be and maybe you were meant for a higher calling. I am glad writing the book helped you heal because guilt and angst is not a good way to live unless you used it to help others....maybe you did just that without knowing?

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    1. Dear Brigit, I really don't know whether my guilt and angst did help others. One of the things that happened to me when I was in my forties was that I began to truly realize just how mysterious life is. How mystery each of us is and how we touch one another's lives for good or ill often without realizing it. Peace.

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  10. Writing has a way of bringing out our inner most secrets...even those we've been keeping from ourselves.

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    1. Dear Jean, Yes. I did discover so much about a young Dee Ready when I let myself be open to the memoir and its truth. Peace.

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