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October 06 , 2009

A Long Retreat

In Search of a Religious Life


This gorgeously written memoir tells the story of one man's search for his religious calling-a search that led him to the Dominican Republic and Central Europe, to Moscow and the South Bronx, and finally into married life with a woman whose search for God coincided with his own.

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In 1990 Andrew Krivak-poet, yacht rigger, ocean lifeguard, student of the classics-entered the Society of Jesus. The heart of Jesuit training is the Long Retreat, thirty days of silence and prayer in which the Jesuit novice reflects on the Gospels and tests his desire for the priesthood.

For Krivak, eight years of Jesuit formation turned out to be a long retreat in its own right, as he tested all his desires-for poetry, for travel, for independence, for love-against the pledge to do all "for the greater glory of God." And in this deeply affecting book the long retreat becomes a pattern for our own spiritual lives, enabling us to embrace our desire for solitude and perspective in our own circumstances, the way Krivak has in his new life as a husband, father, and writer.

The search for God is finally the search for oneself, St. Augustine wrote. Krivak's story pushes past the awful stories of scandal in the Catholic Church to reveal why a modern, forward-looking man would yearn to be a priest. Unlike those stories, it has an happy ending-one in which we can recognize ourselves.

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