A Spiritual Walk with Kathleen Norris
Best-selling author, poet, essayist and oblate Kathleen Norris talks to Beliefnet about her spiritual life and her latest book 'Acedia and Me'.
Kathleen Norris has long been considered one of the most prolific spiritual writers of our time. With over 10 books ranging from non-fiction to poetry, her writing style resonates with Christians and non-Christians alike. Norris adds depth to her writing with life experiences that range from her monastic life—she is an oblate at Assumption Abbey in North Dakota—to her love of nature and all things earth-bound. While in the midst of working on her latest book “Acedia and Me” Norris chatted with Beliefnet about her love of nature, monastic life and her spiritual journey thus far.
Tell us about the biggest themes in your writing and your current understanding of your spirituality.
Well, so far I’ve mainly been a memoirist, which means I’ve been writing about my own life and my own experiences. Lots of other voices and other people come into the books because "it’s not all about me," as the culture would say. But, it's about my life, my directions with other people and how faith has shaped my life. When I was a child, I went to church gladly. I loved to sing and that went on all through high school. Singing in church choirs and enjoying church, but not really caring too much for the theology, not even thinking about it much. Just going to church to sing. Then, when I went to college, it made it sort of easy to drift away and stay away. Literature made a perfect substitute. I think a lot of people go through that journey. When the family is no longer there, you’re not going to church on Sundays, you simply drop out. And I did. In my mid-30s, I felt this urge to get back to church to try to rediscover religion.
So, the books have all reflected that journey, the move to and from New York City to South Dakota and then discovering all the monasteries out there on the plains and what that meant to me.
Because your writing is described as earth-bound and very caught up in nature, what would you say your relationship to nature is?
More from Beliefnet