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“Journey Into Wholeness”

A Review of
Pilgrimage of a Soul:
Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

By Phileena Heuertz

Reviewed by Margaret D. McGee.

[ Read an excerpt of this book here… ]

Pilgrimage of a Soul:
Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life
Phileena Heuertz.
Paperback: InterVarsity Press, 2010
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Pilgrimage of a Soul - Phileena HeuertzChange that ushers in a new way of life begins deep inside. Conceived when personal longings we’ve hardly noticed are touched by a boundless longing too great to be contained, the new way of life needs a period of gestation to grow and knit its parts together. Unfortunately, the old life with its long-established habits looks askance at this unasked-for pregnancy, tries to block the labor, and kicks the cradle every chance it gets. That’s one reason people go on pilgrimage or take a sabbatical far from home: to give incipient change a chance to take root and grow new habits that will bear fruit on the return to “normal life.”

In Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life, Phileena Heuertz reports back on just such a journey. The daughter of a Bible-centered pastor, Heuertz describes growing up in a community where the roles of women in relationships, church, and professional life are viewed as subordinate to the roles of men. By the age of seventeen she knew she wanted to be a missionary. Her vocation found focus at college, where she met her future husband, Chris Heuertz. Inspired by his missionary experience, particularly his time serving with Mother Theresa  at the Home for the Dying in Kolkata (Calcutta), Phileena joined Chris on the core leadership team of Word Made Flesh, “an international community serving Christ among the most vulnerable of the world’s poor” (www.wordmadeflesh.org). In time she also entered into a practice of contemplative prayer and regular retreats which deepened her spiritual life while awakening her “true self”—a self that longed for mutuality rather than subordination in relationship.

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