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Stages on the Road

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A fascinating collection of saints' lives, a prophetic critique of modernity, and a surprisingly contemporary take on being Catholic--in particular a Catholic woman--in a sometimes-hostile secular world, from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter. Stages on the Road is a series of essays about the relationship between the Church and the modern world. In th A fascinating collection of saints' lives, a prophetic critique of modernity, and a surprisingly contemporary take on being Catholic--in particular a Catholic woman--in a sometimes-hostile secular world, from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter. Stages on the Road is a series of essays about the relationship between the Church and the modern world. In the spirit of G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, Undset points to inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and blind spots of the modern secular mindset by introducing readers to the stories of somewhat-forgotten Catholic figures like St. Angela Merici and the English martyrs Margaret Clitherow and Robert Southwell--people who stood fast to their faith in the face of both intellectual and political hostility. Undset tackles such topics as religious freedom, Christian/Muslim relations, and the vocation of women.


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A fascinating collection of saints' lives, a prophetic critique of modernity, and a surprisingly contemporary take on being Catholic--in particular a Catholic woman--in a sometimes-hostile secular world, from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter. Stages on the Road is a series of essays about the relationship between the Church and the modern world. In th A fascinating collection of saints' lives, a prophetic critique of modernity, and a surprisingly contemporary take on being Catholic--in particular a Catholic woman--in a sometimes-hostile secular world, from the Nobel Prize-winning author of Kristin Lavransdatter. Stages on the Road is a series of essays about the relationship between the Church and the modern world. In the spirit of G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, Undset points to inconsistencies, hypocrisies, and blind spots of the modern secular mindset by introducing readers to the stories of somewhat-forgotten Catholic figures like St. Angela Merici and the English martyrs Margaret Clitherow and Robert Southwell--people who stood fast to their faith in the face of both intellectual and political hostility. Undset tackles such topics as religious freedom, Christian/Muslim relations, and the vocation of women.

30 review for Stages on the Road

  1. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnn Balbirona

    Written in the late 1920s-1932, parts of this collection of essays by Sigrid Undset are prophetic commentary on the decline of western civilization, the state, marriage and family. Very much worth reading for both spiritual wisdom and the simple brilliance if her arguments.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth

    This book is a collection of essays written by Undset in the late 1920's after her conversion to Roman Catholicism. The first 4 chapters sketch the lives of 4 noted Catholic personalities - 2 Medieval and 2 Elizabethan English. Three of them have been canonized by the Catholic Church since Undset's time. The chapter on Ramon Lull is a portrait of a devout Catholic from Catalonia in what is now northeastern Spain, of the 13th-early 14th century. Angela Merici was a late Medieval/Renaissance Itali This book is a collection of essays written by Undset in the late 1920's after her conversion to Roman Catholicism. The first 4 chapters sketch the lives of 4 noted Catholic personalities - 2 Medieval and 2 Elizabethan English. Three of them have been canonized by the Catholic Church since Undset's time. The chapter on Ramon Lull is a portrait of a devout Catholic from Catalonia in what is now northeastern Spain, of the 13th-early 14th century. Angela Merici was a late Medieval/Renaissance Italian who founded the order of Ursaline sisters whose mission was the saving and education of girls. Robert Southwell was a Jesuit priest active in England in the late 16th century in the reign of Elizabeth I who was captured and hanged for treason - being a Roman Catholic priest in England at that time was legally treasonous. Margaret Clitherow was an Englishwoman who was executed for her Catholicism, also in the reign Of Elizabeth I, in 1586. The last 2 chapters deal with several moral issues. One of her points is that much of the best of European culture has Christian roots in the Medieval Catholic Church, and with the secularization of so much of Europe in modern times, its cultural roots have been severed, which will cause the eventual withering away of the culture. One of her examples is suicide - considered a grave sin by traditional Christianity, the negative attitude toward it has persisted for a long time but is nevertheless eroding away. This was prescient - in our time physician-assisted suicide is now legal in several Western European countries and in a few American states.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Gyoza

    This is a collection of six essays written by Sigrid Undset in the 1930's. The theme that is common to all is that each details how various ideas or attitudes that had been established by the Catholic Church and that helped shape Western culture were lost when the faith in which they originated was lost or adulterated--starting with the Reformation. In the first four essays, she presents a Catholic idea or custom, how it disappeared or is disappearing, then shows how that idea was manifested thr This is a collection of six essays written by Sigrid Undset in the 1930's. The theme that is common to all is that each details how various ideas or attitudes that had been established by the Catholic Church and that helped shape Western culture were lost when the faith in which they originated was lost or adulterated--starting with the Reformation. In the first four essays, she presents a Catholic idea or custom, how it disappeared or is disappearing, then shows how that idea was manifested through the life of a prominent Catholic, many of whom are now canonized as saints. I liked how she picked less well-known people because it gave me the opportunity to learn about them. The four are: - Spanish mystic Ramon Lull de Palma, who established a monastery in North Africa to enable friars to study Hebrew and Arabic, and whose goal was to spread the faith through persuasion and argument as Christ had directed - English martyrs St. Robert Southwell and St. Margaret Clitherow, victims of the state taking control of the church - Italian founder of the Ursuline order, St. Angela Merici, whose life shows how women with unconventional callings were respected in Catholic societies To St. James is about the harmfulness of the sin of gossip--one that is only all too neglected today. The last, Reply to a Parish Priest deals with later developments in the Christian world that are controversial issues even today, such as changes in the definition of marriage, and euthanasia.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Margie Dorn

    I have loved Undset's other work. I think she's better at fiction. This one, written after her conversion to Roman Catholicism, sounds a bit defensive and reactionary. Her graphic portraits of the martyrdom of saints seems to provide a counterpart to Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Of course, I have no idea what it felt like to live in that period in Europe between the wars, when this was written, and it may have been very appropriate for that era. I have loved Undset's other work. I think she's better at fiction. This one, written after her conversion to Roman Catholicism, sounds a bit defensive and reactionary. Her graphic portraits of the martyrdom of saints seems to provide a counterpart to Foxe's Book of Martyrs. Of course, I have no idea what it felt like to live in that period in Europe between the wars, when this was written, and it may have been very appropriate for that era.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rose Collins

    Stories of lives of saints. Undset chose saints who she wanted make known to Norwegians such as St. John Campion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karith Amel

    This was not exactly what I was expecting - less a book of essays regarding faith and Catholicism, and more a contemporary(ish) "lives of the saints." Regardless, I appreciated Undset's perspective, especially in recounting British history, which I have studied extensively, but only, it turns out, from the Protestant point of view (yet recounted in such a way - as tends to be the norm with history - as to obscure that it was being told from any point of view whatsoever). Undset is certainly pass This was not exactly what I was expecting - less a book of essays regarding faith and Catholicism, and more a contemporary(ish) "lives of the saints." Regardless, I appreciated Undset's perspective, especially in recounting British history, which I have studied extensively, but only, it turns out, from the Protestant point of view (yet recounted in such a way - as tends to be the norm with history - as to obscure that it was being told from any point of view whatsoever). Undset is certainly passionate (and at times strident) in her Catholicism (i.e. a bit antagonistic towards Protestantism in any form) - but I find her conviction thought-provoking rather than off-putting (I've lived so long under the opposite bias that a new perspective is refreshing, as well as needed). The lives of the saints she recounts are inspirational (if a bit uneven) and her defense of marriage (with which the collection ends) a powerfully argued explication of everything from the nature of sacrament to the value of suffering. She is unapologetic in her doctrine (some of which might taste a bit harsh on the tongue), yet thoughtful, careful, and ultimately compassionate in her defense of said doctrine. This was a collection of essays/stories that certainly made me think.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather Q

    It took awhile to get into it, but her chapters on the saints are great. St. Margaret Clitherow was my favorite.

  8. 4 out of 5

    K. P.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

  10. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rickie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Olsson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christina Maier

  17. 4 out of 5

    René

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Przybysz

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Arthur

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Casey

  21. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Snell

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary Defano

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Miller

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peggy Haslar

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rach

  27. 4 out of 5

    Secj

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Scalia

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Billy Kangas

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