Academic journal article Family Relations

Spiritual Resiliency in Older Women: Models of Strength for Challenges through the Life Span

Academic journal article Family Relations

Spiritual Resiliency in Older Women: Models of Strength for Challenges through the Life Span

Article excerpt

Ramsey, J. L., & Blieszner, R. (1999) Spiritual Resiliency in Older Women: Models of Strength for Challenges Through the Life Span. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 192 pages. Papar ISBN 0-7619-1277-0, price $25.95.

I am writing this review in a style in keeping with the integrity of the authors whose expressed intent of the book was to find balance between their work as scholars and as human beings striving to learn about themselves and derive meaning out of life. Rather than the formal third person, I'm writing using my voice-a voice of a professional scholar and a personal seeker. I found myself both listening to their words and to those of the women they interviewed, as well as to myself, as I interacted via distance and time with these wise women-the authors and their eight interviewees plus those in focus groups. Likely, you will too if you read the book and/or use it as a class assignment or a book club reading.

In Spiritual Resiliency, the authors bring their personal, diverse, and complementary life experiences in pastoral counseling and academic teaching and researching to the work of conducting research and reporting the process and findings in a way that balances science and spirituality. Their willingness to self-reveal adds to the richness of the investigations, analysis and output. They've turned an academic dissertation into a book that offers much to academics, practitioners, and others curious about the spiritual nature of existence. Skillfully, the authors reveal the women's ways of thinking, being and telling their life stories and the intersection with "the Word, the Being and the Story of God." Their book incorporates just enough theory and literature to give context to their work yet saves the priority space for the voices of the women ages 65-93, all members of the Lutheran denomination, living, loving and learning in both Southwest Virginia and Northwest Germany in the mid 1990s-women who willingly and humbly shared their perspectives on life and spirituality.

Perhaps because I've lived both in Southwest Virginia and in Northwest Germany and because of my own German heritage, I felt a particular closeness to the women speaking and writing. Perhaps also, because of my own scholarly investigations of resiliency and personal explorations of spirituality, I was primed for reading this book. Whatever the reason, I found it to be a valuable contribution to my understanding of older women, resiliency and spirituality. …

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