Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith

Joan Chittister: Her Journey from Certainty to Faith


This intimate biography of Joan Chittister is beautifully written by prize-winning journalist and National Catholic Reporter editor-at-large Tom Roberts.

“I love the stellar witness of this woman! A more faithful, authentic, sustained voice calling for full inclusion of women in the Catholic Church cannot be found. And what a fascinating bud-to-flower woman's life story lies within these pages. I read it deep into the night, long after good sense told me to go to sleep. That's Chittister for you—waking us up and keeping us awake to the radical call of the Gospel.” — Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking

Published by Orbis Books
272 pages; Hardcover

“Sister Joan Chittister is one of the most powerful women I know. Her power does not come from wealth, celebrity, or office. It is a power that comes from her presence, from values, from beliefs, from within. In this biography, Tom Roberts reveals the long journey she took to find that power. It’s a must-read for anyone expanding their faith.” —Maria Shriver, journalist, author and Former First Lady of California

“Simply put, Sister Joan Chittister is one of the great spiritual voices, and great prophets, of our time.” —James Martin, SJ, author, Jesus: A Pilgrimage

“Sister Joan Chittister is one of the most consequential and courageous Catholic women of her generation, a prophetic and inspiring voice. Tom Roberts is one of our moment’s wisest, best informed and eloquent Catholic writers and thinkers. That they have come together here is an enormous blessing and a gift to readers, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. This is an essential book for understanding Catholicism in our time.” —E.J. Dionne Jr., author, Souled Out

“With keen journalistic acumen, Tom Roberts chronicles the life of one of the most beloved spiritual leaders of our times. Along the way, we learn not only about Sr. Joan Chittister’s graced journey but also about the evolution of the Erie Benedictines, post-Vatican II religious life, and the struggle for women’s equality in the Catholic Church. Roberts has the biographer’s gift of invisibly shaping his material, allowing Chittister’s piercing, prophetic life to illuminate – and inspire. A wonderful book!” —Christine Schenk, CSJ, Founding Director FutureChurch

“Tom Roberts' highly readable new biography will certainly surprise you in its frank depiction of events Joan Chittister had kept to herself until now. In telling her story, he's also tracing the complicated history of the American church over the last century in the most human way possible, through the life one extraordinary woman has spent both serving and shaping it.” —Melinda Henneberger, Senior Writer, Bloomberg Politics

“This is the story of a remarkable visionary – theologian, religious leader, feminist, voice for justice and renewal, peacemaker—brilliantly told by Tom Roberts, who captures both her struggles and her triumphs. Joan Chittister is a woman of her times –a woman who has learned the importance of becoming and evolving, guided always by the lessons of Jesus and his ministry to those on the margins of society. Through her own experience she shows us what is needed for spiritual growth and a purposeful life.” — Melanne Verveer, Former US Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues

“Joan Chittister brings to life all that matters most in faith. Out of the stormy years of her prophetic ministry, Tom Roberts seizes the lightning of that witness, and he lets it shine—a source of warmth and illumination. This book lays bare a special person, and a challenging age. A fine writer, a man of faith himself, Roberts is a biographer fully worthy of his brilliant subject.”—James Carroll, author, Christ Actually

“Tom Roberts captures the remarkable Sr. Joan Chittister in an extraordinary manner. Joan's life of determination, courage, her humor, her extraordinary talents are revealed from her early years, right to the present. Among Joan’s qualities, the gift of endurance is pivotal—the genius of prophets from ancient times until the present. I endorse this publication with great pride and support; it captures the woman Joan, as she follows her ‘Impossible Dream!’” —Theresa Kane, RSM, former president, Leadership Conference of Women Religious

“Untold numbers of people know Joan Chittister as a public person. Here is a book that enables everyone to get to know her as an extraordinarily, deeply human person. In opening up her personal life to Tom Roberts, Joan shares her vulnerabilities, her doubts and struggles as she follows a prophetic call to proclaim a message of justice with a special emphasis on full equality for women in the Church and society.” —Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Detroit, MI

"Tom Roberts's engaging book gives us the context for Joan Chittister's prophetic voice in the Church. It also provides invaluable lessons about courageous leadership through disruptive change, operating always in the spirit of community. Lessons well-worth emulating in every walk of life." —Cokie Roberts, journalist and author