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By Mary Rose O'Reilley Published by Milkweed Editions, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Deciding that her life was insufficiently grounded in real-world experience, Mary Rose O’Reilley, a Quaker reared as a Catholic, embarked on a year of tending sheep. In this often hilarious book, O’Reilley describes her time in the barn as well as an extended visit to a Buddhist monastery in France. She seeks, in both barn and monastery, a spirituality based not in “climbing out of the body” but rather in existing fully in the world. For O’Reilley, a smallish woman, that means learning how to “flip” very large sheep, inoculate them, and help them lamb (among other, earthier things). It means absorbing the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and the practice of Mahayana Buddhism, which emphasizes social engagement, while also allowing herself to crave pastries, resent her roommate, and wish for more food. “At the beginning of this year,” she writes, “I had no idea why I felt led to light out into the unfamiliar territory of sheep farming and Buddhist practice.” By the end of this “memorable spiritual autobiography” (Washington Post), she has found a well of deep peace and a way to live consciously in the world.

Burlington Quaker Meeting House and Center for Conference

340 High St. · Burlington, nj

What we're about

Books about and by Quakers. Open to the public. Fiction and non-fiction. And, whenever possible, NJ-centric (for related field trips) or made into a movie (for movie nights). We'll vote on the next read. Meets in person first Tuesday of every month at the Burlington Quaker Meeting House and Center for Conference starting at 7 pm. and converses during the month in private Facebook Group. Bring snacks to share. BYO Beverage. Entrance is half way down the driveway. There is parking for 230 cars in a public lot accessible by the driveway across High St. from the Meeting House. Comment in the Fb Group during the meeting (in a single post we'll start). Comment in the Fb Group anytime!

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