A Brief Review of
In God’s Womb: A Spiritual Memoir.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.
I have written several book reviews over the past couple of years for the Englewood Review, and I must confess this one has been the most difficult. My thoughts after reading this book seem to range from one extreme to the other. I had to remind myself more than once during my time of reading that this book is meant to be a memoir, which inherently brings with it a particular perspective and way of writing.
After reading Edwina Gateley’s memoirs, I was more than interested in what some of the “fruit of her life” might look like. I took the time to research the Volunteer Missionary Movement, the organization she founded in 1969. She devotes a full chapter to its formation and beginnings (chapter 3). The organization’s purpose was “to call Christian men and women to respond to the Vatican II’s call for full and active involvement in the Church’s life and mission.” The Volunteer Missionary Movement is still in existence today and, according to its website, has had more than 2000 people serving in 26 different countries over the course of its history. The organization has brought together teachers, engineers, agricultural and healthcare experts as well as many others to work in various different areas of community development and support. I was also able to find and read (online) Spirit and Lifestyle, her foundational treatise for the Volunteer Missionary Movement organization. Her writing there touches on many of the things that continue to be on our minds here at Englewood – issues like justice, compassion and faithfulness to God’s call.
I have always greatly appreciated the reflective and contemplative writings of many of God’s people through the years – which is what much of Edwina’s memoirs seem to be as she shares her story. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis, has always been one of my favorites. In my mind, the purpose of those kinds of writings are to draw us out of ourselves and into the life and work of God.