Rosemarie Freeney Harding – REMNANTS [Feature Review]

July 9, 2015



[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0822358794″ cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″]PAGE 2: Rosemarie Freeney Harding – REMNANTS


It was in Chicago that Rosemarie became a Mennonite and then met her future husband Vincent, a history student at the University of Chicago. In 1961 soon after their marriage and at the request of Dr King they moved to Atlanta to begin Mennonite House; an interracial community house working alongside and supporting the freedom movement. Accompanying the healing work that Rosemarie had already been expressing she now began to expand the hospitality she learned from her family of origin as a “central model for the meaning of activism.” For the rest of their lives the Hardings would strive to create “spaces of refuge in the midst of struggle” where activists could come for refreshment, renewal, and reaffirmation.


In these central chapters under the heading “South” we read of Rosemarie’s many memories and observations of others involved in the freedom struggle, including Dr and Mrs King, Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, and Ruby Sales, (There is a helpful catalog of “freedom movement colleagues and spiritual teachers” at the end of the volume.) There is a wonderful chapter for example on Koinonia Farm and the work of Clarence and Florence Jordan. Rosemarie offers significant reflections upon the spirituality of nonviolence as she explicates the global impact of the civil rights movement. For example, in her view the Christian spirituality of Clarence Jordan and the Buddhist spirituality of the Dalai Lama find common ground in their emphasis upon the transformative potential of nonviolence and compassion.
The final third of the book presents its “mystical heart”. It includes chapters on Rosemarie’s trip to India to visit the Dalai Lama in 1990. There is a detailed description of her year of severe illness with debilitating diabetes told in alternating perspectives between mother and daughter as they explore her pain and suffering and ponder the mysteries of health and healing. And in a powerful chapter titled “The Pachamama Circle” the Hardings explore the “choreography of mothering”.
It was in the early 1990s that Rosemarie and Vincent originated a series of workshops they called “Remnants”. The concept underlying these retreats was that “God always leaves us a way out. Leaves us a way of hope. Leaves us with a way to recuperate.” Remnants is the perfect expression of Rosemarie Freeney Harding’s “spirituality of abundance”. It is this foundational belief in abundance that sparks her insatiable curiosity regarding the “life force” that provides for healing and transformation.
Harding writes:

“There is no scarcity. There is no shortage. No lack of love, of compassion, of joy in the world. There is enough. There is more than enough. Only fear and greed make us think otherwise. No one need starve. There is enough land and enough food. No one need die of thirst. There is enough water. No one need live without mercy. There is no end of grace. And we are all instruments of grace. The more we give it, the more we share it, the more God makes. There is no scarcity of love. There is plenty. And always more.”

I am starting a list of twenty-first century spiritual classics. Remnants is my first entry.