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Clark Berge SSF: The Vows Book

Clark Berge SSF

The Vows Book:

Anglican Teaching on the Vows of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity

ISBN: 9781 4951 0038 3

Vest Pocket Publications, 2014, 140pp,

available via amazon.co.uk, £9.54

This book about the vows is written in long thin columns so that they are easy to read and remember. The author, currently the Minister General of the brothers of the First Order of the Society of St Francis, draws on his own rich experience of the religious life to talk about the vows in a meaningful, honest and down to earth way, which challenges us all who have made our religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. He gives a clear insight into the vowed religious life for those looking in from the outside and those who are seeking God’s will and exploring their own vocation.

Each Chapter is accompanied by a set of questions which grounds the vows in the areas of justice, righteousness, politics, economics and sexual feelings. Clark Berge has spent a number of years living as a Franciscan in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and this book will certainly be useful for those living in countries where English is not the first language. Just as important, though, it is a book which calls on those of us living in ‘The West’ to reflect afresh on the vows we have taken, often many years ago – how much we have taken back of so much we wanted to give; how much we have compromised and sought the best of all worlds; how much we have wanted the freedom without the renunciation.

This book is an honest book, a refreshing book, a book which is long overdue and we should thank Clark Berge for writing it.

Benedict SSF