What We’re Reading


The Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris.

I just finished “The Quotidian Mysteries” by Kathleen Norris a Catholic Christian and a  Poetess. I had such high hopes! But was a little disappointed  by it. The little book is actually a lecture she gave in 1998 at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indaiana. It begins with reflections  on her first encounter of a Roman Catholic Mass. What struck her was the priest cleaning the chalice after Holy Communion. From there she  delves into the inescapable duties of daily life that even the Liturgy is bound to.

Of course, she identifies  herself as a feminist (what published poetess/authoress doesn’t these days?) and believes that the feminist movement has developed far enough that we can now admit to finding meaning in our daily work. A very naive view of feminism! But of course, no feminist would touch her or her ideas, they are too feminine. I also found her “calling” to barrenness  unsettling; All women are called to motherhood of some form even if they are barren.

That aside, the lecture was refreshing. Many of the poems, psalms, quotes, prayers referenced and her commentaries were very good and encouraging.

Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel

“Owl at Home” is our favorite Arnold Lobel book. Great for beginner readers. It has five easy and interesting stories in it. “Tear-Water Tea” is rather a poetic little story and my favorite out of the five. We’ve been reading it daily for a week now. My girls insist upon it. The illustrations also by Arnold Lobel are endearing.



  1. Is Kathleen Norris Catholic now? It was always my understanding that although she took to Benedictine monasticism she always remained Protestant. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t Catholic when she wrote The Quotidian Mysteries. I enjoyed the book and there are many points that line up with out Catholic faith but also many that don’t as you noted.

    Here is a piece of an interview she had with Homiletics,

    HOMILETICS: Given your involvement with the Benedictines, why not convert and become a Catholic?

    NORRIS: You know, it never really occurred to me as something to think about. I have a kind of conservative attitude – coming strongly out of the Protestant tradition dating actually from the time of the reformation in England. Those are my roots, and for me to uproot myself, that would take a lot of doing.


      1. Her being an Oblate makes for much confusion about her denomination. Also, she gets a lot of attention from Catholic circles by speaking at Catholic universities, cathedrals and such. She does write well on spirituality that lines up with our faith due to her being an Oblate. I think her work is worthy of reading for those who know their faith well and can discern what to take and what to leave. I wouldn’t recommend it for those seeking to learn because it could cause confusion, like with her decision to not have children despite being married.

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