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The Doubtful Salvation of Sister Bernardo by Rita Cashman

The Doubtful Salvation of Sister Bernardo

by Rita Cashman

364 pages
One's woman's honest search for faith, even elusive faith.

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Category: Autobiography
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About the Book
The Doubtful Salvation of Sister Bernardo is the portrayal of Rita's Cashman's spiritual journey, her seeking a deep, experienced relationship with God.

Rita was born into a family of three older siblings, six more were to follow. She was at the end of one grouping of siblings and at the beginning of another. Her years of growth were fostered in a very Catholic family atmosphere. From her earliest memories to just before her death in 2007 there was a yearning for a loving experience of God that constantly eluded, puzzled, angered, hurt, and motivated her. School was not an issue for her as she was extremely intelligent and almost driven to do well. While the family moves from St. Cloud, to Minneapolis to Faribault in Minnesota disrupted her life, the stability of Church, Church schools and family offered a structure for her to grow and develop a spiritually searching life. Her early memories of prayer, her desire to be loved by God and to experience that love even at an early age fostered a life long yearning rarely fulfilled for her.

Family life was one of many mixed messages about love, emotions, faith, support, relationships, self-worth, being a girl, a woman, a person in her own right. Always the leit-motif of her longing for that felt experience of God was present. Family relationships, her parent's relationship with each other, with their own inner personal issues, siblings seeking to find their way, left her with a deep sense that in many ways she was alone, in her life, her spiritual path, her understanding of herself.

Rita's decision to enter the convent after high school unfolded gradually and with some degree of doubt. Yet when she entered religious life as a nun her commitment to following a path she believed would offer a response to her hunger for God became more firm and hopeful. Her God would be there for her if she was there for Him.

Following an intense, demanding training program in convent life and ministry, Rita subsequently served in missions in Omaha, Nebraska; Mobile, Alabama; Cheyenne, Wyoming. During these missions Rita encountered experiences of herself in convent life, challenging changes in the Church, civil rights movement, her emerging psycho-sexual awareness's. These produced a self awareness, value conflicts that became increasingly difficult to resolve except through leaving convent life and pursuing her spiritual path outside that structure. Her longing for God's presence never left her through all these shifts.

Her life after leaving the convent challenged her personally and professionally. Relationships, professional trainings, teaching positions, her first marriage, its end and her entry into therapy for healing opened a way for her to continue to pursue her spiritual path. An epilogue follows the end of the book, her first 32 years, with an epilogue that she finished a few days before her death from cancer at the age of 65.

Her journey finished in a peace with herself, with God, with a deep love of life and friends.


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About the Author
Born in 1941, one of ten children. Entered convent after high school, left the convent after 10 years. A teacher, management consultant, corporate coach, consultant and trainer of coaches. Married retired priest in 1991. Writer, painter. Died of cancer in 2007



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