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PILGRIMAGE OF AWAKENING; THE EXTRAORDINARY LIVES OF MURRAY AND MARY ROGERS – MARY VT CATTAN

This book is written with great sensitivity towards the characters involved, yet in a style that makes this book a real page-turner. Mary and Murray Rogers, he newly ordained, set off as Christian missionaries to India in 1946. The world they met there shook them and drew them in unexpected directions from which there was no return, but throughout life challenged them. Mary and Murray thought that to live simply like their poor neighbours was the authentic missionary call, but this was quickly changed with their first contact with Gandhi’s ashram, and they set out to build their own Christian ashram. This led to ‘awakening’ in interfaith dialogue. Murray’s zest and energy drove him to ever-increasing contacts with Hinduism and Buddhism. Mary steadily supported him, and when Heather Sandeman joined them in their ashram, the threesome became a force to be reckoned with.

The book makes liberal use of letters by all three to depict their situation and their personal spiritual pilgrimage and inner struggles, especially Mary, who gave up her care for their three children with a heavy heart.

Their openness to all people, especially the poor, and Murray’s increasing outspokenness on issues of justice and equity made it necessary for the little community to leave India and settle first in Jerusalem, then Hong Kong, Canada, and finally return to the UK.

The book shows very clearly how ordinary people can become extraordinary when listening to their inner call and responding with unfailing dedication, despite hesitations and seemingly impossible obstacles.

Verena Tschudin TSSF