The Twelve Degrees of Silence

Sister Marie-Aimee de Jesus

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The stresses and strains of contemporary life leave so many of us thirsting for peace and clarity of mind and heart. While we may sense that constant distraction hinders spiritual growth, we may find it hard to cultivate attitudes of peace and stillness. We may long to experience closer communion with God, yet feel overwhelmed by the many demands on our attention.

This book invites us to nurture a spirituality of silence through the words and wisdom of the 19th century Carmelite and mystic, Sister Marie-Aimee de Jesus. Through a combination of her measured insights and exercises for personal application by author and spiritual teacher Lucinda M. Vardey, the reader is invited on a twelve-movement journey into a silent and intimate union with God. An introduction and biography of Marie-Aim de Jesus explores her influence on other well-known Carmelites such as the saint and martyr Edith Stein.

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Author info

Sr Marie-Aimee (1839-1874) was a discalced carmelite in Paris.


Julian Meetings Magazine April 2016

This small book has an enticing cover of a beautiful candlelit labyrinth in a large, probably French, cathedral. It reads like an old, quite academic history book, having been translated from French by editor Lucinda M. Vardey and a colleague, who are both described as living quiet secluded lives of contemplation and study of the sacred. I would suggest that this book is for the serious contemplative, as the 12 degrees of silence were written by Marie to guide and teach novices about the interior life for their lives as a religious.
It begins with a 25 page biography about the natural young mystic Marie-Aimee de Jesus (1839-1874), presented to us by Lucinda from the original, written by Edith Stein around 1939. Edith herself was a successful philosopher, feminist thinker and lecturer. She was called to a Carmelite Vocation after reading Saint Teresa of Avila's autobiography, and died in Auschwitz in 1942. Edith suggested that Marie-Aim e's depth of wisdom and disciplined mental attitudes on the path of perfection of the soul were where her own convictions found fellowship.
The following 45 pages cover The Twelve Degrees of Silence, which are: words; in actions; with one's imagination; memories; others; one's heart; to self interest; of the mind; to judgements; to the will; towards oneself and lastly Silence with God.
Most of Marie-Aimee's silences are described in less than half a page, written in the language of the last century. Lucinda, a writer on Catholicism and contemporary spirituality, adds her own Guided Reflections in a similar style. These consist of bullet points, mainly deep searching questions and exercises to do, framed with a bible verse and prayer.
So this is not a book for the faint-hearted, but may be a useful resource for your own silent retreat. A small book with a big deep punch!

Fiona Elliot

Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857464071
  • Published: 17 April 2015
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 80
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