An Infinity of Little Hours: Five Young Men and Their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order

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Paperback. Pub Date: 2007 Pages: 304 in Publisher: PublicAffairs.US This is a unique and compelling look into the hidden world of the the Carthusians - the western world's most ascetic monastic order In 1960. Five young men arrived at the imposing gates of Parkminster in West Sussex. the largest centre of the Carthusians - the most rigorous and ascetic monastic order in the Western world. This is the story of their five-year journey into a society virtually unchanged in its behaviour and lifestyle since its foundations in 1084. An Infinity of Little Hours is a uniquely intimate portrait of the customs and practices of a monastic order almost entirely unknown until now. It is also a drama of the men's struggle as they avoid the 1960s - the decade of hedonism. music. fashion and amorality - and enter an entirely different era and a spiritual world of their own making. After fi...

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"Maguire has produced a vivid, gripping and deeply touching picture of a world that is now lost. For an outsider to enter such a closed society and to capture its essence is an astonishing achievement: this is a work of history, but it has all the best qualities of a psychological novel." Diarmiud MacCullogh "It is fascinating to enter, if only for a few hours, into this way of life, where extreme devotion forms at last a bit of a bulwark against humanity's digressions." Los Angeles Times"

Synopsis:

This is a unique and compelling look into the hidden world of the Carthusians - the western world's most ascetic monastic order. In 1960, five young men arrived at the imposing gates of Parkminster in West Sussex, the largest centre of the Carthusians - the most rigorous and ascetic monastic order in the Western world. This is the story of their five-year journey into a society virtually unchanged in its behaviour and lifestyle since its foundations in 1084. "An Infinity of Little Hours" is a uniquely intimate portrait of the customs and practices of a monastic order almost entirely unknown until now. It is also a drama of the men's struggle as they avoid the 1960s - the decade of hedonism, music, fashion and amorality - and enter an entirely different era and a spiritual world of their own making. After five years each must face a choice: to make "solemn profession" and never leave Parkminster; or to turn his back on his life's ambition to find God in solitude. A remarkable investigative work, the book combines first-hand testimony with unique source material, to describe the Carthusian life.

And in the final chapter, which recounts a reunion forty years after the events described elsewhere in the book, Nancy Klein Maguire reveals which of the five succeeded in their quest - and which did not.

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