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Discovering the Art of Soul Friending cover

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  • 5.5 x 8.5 inches

Interfaith, Spiritual growth, Soul friending, Grail Movement, Spiritual guidance, Mindfulness, Centering prayer

Discovering the Art of Soul Friending
by Carolyn Gratton

This friendly, accessible book is about the age-old hunger in human hearts to open, and deepen, and grow towards faithful intimacy with the Source of all that is. This spiritual journey is radically personal, but it is not meant to be entirely solitary. It can be supported at crucial times by friendship with someone who has learned how to listen, through a life of prayer, for the guidance of God’s Spirit in their own soul and in the soul of another.

Long ago, in Celtic Christian Ireland, such a person was called an anam cara—a soul friend.

“Every soul, from time to time on its mysterious trek towards union with God, needs a human friend for encouragement on the way.”

In Discovering the Art of Soul Friending, Carolyn Gratton invites us to say “yes” to the ability to share with another and to disclose something of oneself on each seeker’s journey towards union with God. Enriched by a lifetime of insights gained from educating groups around the world, she guides aspiring spiritual companions to:

-a discernment of their own level of spiritual maturity;

-sensitivity in the art of spiritual guidance and to a seeker’s desires, the soil from which their truest love can spring;

-a commitment to prayer and the transformation of consciousness it makes possible;

-rootedness in their own faith tradition and, throughout life, an openness to the expanded perceptions possible in our multicultural world.

Carolyn completes each chapter with what she calls a “Book Providence” section—an annotated bibliography of resources that can expand the discernment skills and contextual awareness of potential soul friends.

"Carolyn was an icon of presence and love. She said more with her eyes and smile than most people say in a lifetime."

Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler, Retired Executive Director of Contemplative Outreach, Ltd.

Carolyn Gratton photo

Dr. Carolyn Gratton has written Discovering the Art of Soul

Friending to help you become a trustworthy soul friend, if you feel invited to offer such a gift. She brings the wisdom of her many years of experience with spiritual counselling and religious formation. She also offers the fruit of wide reading and

insights from her work as a clinical psychologist.

Given the importance of life-context in spiritual listening, this book is partly autobiographical. Carolyn shares some discoveries that kept her growing and learning in her retirement years, including her exposure to the wisdom of China and of India and her work with Father Thomas Keating, OCSO and the Contemplative Outreach network that he founded.

A lifelong member of the International Grail Movement, and for many years a professor at Duquesne University’s Institute of Formative Spirituality, Carolyn Gratton has also written Guidelines for Spiritual Direction (1980), Trusting (1982), and The Art of Spiritual Guidance (1992).


Carolyn Gratton

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