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Unresting Transformation: The Theology and Spirituality of Maude Petre.

Unresting Transformation: The Theology and Spirituality of Maude Petre. By Ellen Leonard, C.S.J. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1991. Pp. xii + 244. $46.50; $26.50.

Maude Petre has been remembered primarily for her part in the Modernist movement in the Catholic Church, and for her ongoing support of George Tyrrell as his biographer and literary executor. Leonard realizes there was much more to the life and accomplishments of this intelligent and gifted woman. She seeks to present in this study not so much a biography of Petre, but an account of her long spiritual journey and the theology and spirituality that was developed on that journey.

L. follows Petre's journey from her birth in 1863 until her death in 1942, focusing on the influences and events which shaped her spirituality and theology. Next she looks at Petre's reactions to the various movements of her day (feminism, modernism, pacifism socialism, communism, and fascism), since these formed the cultural matrix in which she worked out her spirituality and theology. Finally L. investigates in a more systematic way Petre's writings about God, Christ, the Church, and the Christian life. The main characteristics of her thought and writings which L. highlights are an emphasis on experience, a critical approach to authority, an insistence on spiritual independence, and a respect for pluralism. L. also develops Petre's theology and spirituality in dialogue with a number of contemporary women writers, concluding that "hers was a |growing theology and spirituality' which unfolded as she responded to the challenges of her life and the historical events of her time."

From this appreciative and balanced study, there emerges the portrait of a sincere, gifted, and independent woman who deserves to be remembered fondly.

Charles J. Healey, S.J. Pope John XXIII Seminary, Mass.
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Author:Healey, Charles J.
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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