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Paperback The Celtic Soul Friend: A Trusted Guide for Today Book

ISBN: 0877939675

ISBN13: 9780877939672

The Celtic Soul Friend: A Trusted Guide for Today

"Anyone without a soul friend is like a body without a head," St. Brigit once said. What was true for Brigit in fifth century Ireland is all the more true for us in the complex and increasingly... This description may be from another edition of this product.


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Customer Reviews

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A Wonderful Introduction to the Anamchara or "Soul Friend"

In Gerald O'Donovan's novel FR. RALPH, the young Ralph is talking with his father about his desire to be a priest. The father is somewhat skeptical of the vocation and begins discussing his own belief in God with the young boy. The father's faith is free and natural, a refreshingly different approach from the unbending approach of his mother who though she prays, sees faith as something rigid and if anything, instills a sense of fear in the young Ralph. I recall when I read the book I saw it as a difference between religion and faith, and thought if anything it was a literary devise used by the author as a support for the adult Ralph's decision to leave the priesthood with a belief that God can be found without the church.. Since O'Donovan was a priest who later changed vocations, moved to London, and made a living as a writer, this could very well be the case. And certainly the rigidness of faith was all too true for Ireland for much of the past two hundred or so years, but in the past twenty or so years, there has been a renaissance in Ireland regarding its history and contributions to the world, and this has led to an increased rediscovery of the free and rich components that comprise Celtic spirituality. In THE CELTIC SOUL FRIEND Edward Sellner looks at the concept of the "anamchara" or soul friend, a key component in Celtic spirituality. Readers familiar with Sellner's MENTORING: THE MINISTRY OF SPIRITUAL FRIENDSHIP may recall his mentioning this idea in the earlier book. This was a practice in Celtic (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Isle of Man) religion dating back to pre-Christian days and became an integral part of Christianity as well. The anamchara is a role model figure who journeys with another in life. For the Celts, they were largely religious figures. After the onset of Christianity, this practice remained in place with the religious figures becoming monks and nuns. People would turn to these figures for all kinds of spiritual guidance, and while it was clearly mentoring, it had the characteristics of friendship. Sellner examines the writings of many well known and lesser known Celtic saints to support his claim. He also looks at the similarities of the anamchara and the mentoring relationship of the Desert fathers and mothers and their disciples, the development of sacramental Confession and the influence of the anamchara on the practice of spiritual direction today. While the book focuses on the anamchara/soul friend, Sellner provides wonderful information about Celtic Christianity and the Celtic Church, its beauty and richness, and what it offers us today. It also includes a helpful appendix with a time frame of developments in Celtic Christianity which includes the prehistory as well. I knew I'd enjoy this book as soon as I purchased it. I'd read other works by Sellner, Sellner is a gifted writer who is able to weave theology, pastoral concerns, and history into an enjoyable, interesting and spiritually fulfilling text. F

Warm reflection on Celtic Faith and Spiritual Formation

Sellner provides an overview of the Celtic Christian world and Soul Friends in particular. Even though the title is "The Celtic Soul Friend," the topic of soul friends only recieves focused in attention in the last chapter. The rest of the book is primarily an introduction to Celtic Spirituality from Sellner's point of view. Sellner's approach is between academic and devotional but he leans toward the devotional. Thus the book avoids addressing many of the critical arguments surrounding the historicity of Celtic Spirituality. In spite of the sparse treatment of soul friends, the book still has merit, presenting a vision of soul friends that is beyond simply glorified mentors to a dynamic of relationship that flows in both directions.
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