Awestruck - A Skeptics Pilgrimage

$18.95 / Perfectbound

ISBN: 9781598581140
232 pages

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"It doesn't matter what the goal of a pilgrimage is--the waters of the Ganges or the black stone of Mecca, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Wailing Wall," writes Joan Weimer. "It doesn't matter if you set out because you have faith or because you don't. You set out on a quest and amazing things happen."

Joan has no intention of making a pilgrimage until a hurricane threatens to tear the wings off her plane, and she feels invisible hands holding her safe in a radiant blackness of astonishing beauty and power. Later, a friend tells her the mysterious presence on the plane behaved just like a Black Madonna. Joan has never heard of the black-faced images of the Virgin Mary who are famous for their miracles, and she wants no part of them. She walked away from religion in her teens. Besides, her Jewish mother would turn over in her grave if she knew her daughter was hanging around a Christian saint.


About Joan Weimer

Joan Weimer's memoir Back Talk: Teaching Lost Selves to Speak was published by Random House and brought out in paperback by the University of Chicago Press. The book won a star from Kirkus Reviews as a "powerful, inspiring memoir written with humor, insight, and a gripping gift for detail." With playwright Paullette MacDougal, Weimer adapted Back Talk into a play which critics found "fierce and funny," "superbly and subtly crafted...a richly satisfying intellectual and emotional experience."



A HIGH WIND WHIPS THE ZÜRICHSEE INTO WHITECAPS. Snow clings to the mountains, but in fields bordering the road, pale green is breaking through the patchy yellows and browns of winter. Beyond the neatly fenced fields and freshly painted stables rise hills draped with tall black pines, all that's left of the menacing Finsterwald or Dark Forest where the legendary origins of Einsiedeln Abbey and its Black Madonna lie.


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