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The Lord as Their Portion
The Story of the Religious Orders and How They Shaped Our World
PAPERBACK; Published: 3/29/2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6588-5
Price: $ 24.00
352 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6x9
DESCRIPTION
From St. Francis to Mother Teresa, from the caves of the Egyptian wilderness to Europe's majestic cloisters and beyond, the church has long been blessed and built up by those who single-mindedly sought after the things of God.

Aside from a few high-profile instances, nuns and monks today serve their church with heroic anonymity -- and, indeed, in many cases, their future is uncertain. Yet their past is undeniable. The religious orders throughout Christian history have been the strong right arm of the Catholic Church and a major force in the maturing of Western civilization.

Elizabeth Rapley beautifully tells their story in The Lord as Their Portion. Rapley has fit the sprawling history of the religious orders -- some seventeen centuries -- into a lively, accessible volume perfect for curious readers. Much more, though, than just a sweeping survey of the highlights (and lowlights) of monasticism past and present, this book also recounts the lives of many of the individual men and women who chose to take "the Lord as their portion" -- and whose piety, devotion, and energetic pursuit of a holy life have profoundly shaped the course of history.

Read a blog post about the book and a review by our own Rachel Bomberger on EerdWord.
REVIEWS
Lawrence S. Cunningham
— University of Notre Dame
"Life under a religious rule has been a hallmark of the Catholic tradition for millennia. Elizabeth Rapley shows how these rules of life have given shape to a plethora of religious orders and why those orders are crucial for understanding the history of Christianity. Her overview of this way of life, ranging from the fourth-century desert ascetics to the missionary orders of men and women in the modern period, is a carefully researched and highly readable work."
Episcopal Journal
"Informative, revealing, and fascinating reading."
Theological Studies
"Lively and engaging. . . . The book is well written and quite interesting. . . . A useful introduction especially to the history of the orders. "
America
"This book supplies needed historical perspective and spiritual encouragement. . . . It offers hope for the future because of the legendary ability of men and women religious to revitalize not only their own communities but the church itself."
Cistercian Studies Quarterly
"This is a superb book. . . . The author provides a magisterial history of religious orders in the West and their contributions to the church and the world. Rapley achieves a find blend of generalizations and apt examples; her generalizations are fair and clear, her examples telling."
Catholic Historical Review
"Rapley succeeds admirably in telling the story of religious orders throughout Christian history."
Spirit & Life
"The author has an impressive grasp of history in general, as well as her specific subjects, and there is much to be learned from this book."
Theology
"Offers a panoramic overview of the history of religious life in the Western Church. . . . Rapley's account provides hope that all is not lost and that in one way or another the phoenix will continue to rise from the ashes."

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