I enjoy autobiographies and biographies very much, and just as strongly dislike so-called visionary diatribes. When The Future That Brought her Here came across my desk a few months ago I was nonplused. It looked like (yet another) feminist spirituality search, with the added (dreadful) bonus of being written by an artist. Honestly? I tried to foist the book off onto another reviewer.
I was utterly wrong.
From the opening lines (“This is a story of a depressed skeptic’s spiritual awakening”) to its remarkable ending (“I am worthy! I am worthy! I am worthy!”) this is a story that can change your life.
Denicola is vibrantly matter of fact, even as her journey takes her deeper into an intense exploration of faith. Her writing is rich and highly individual, but never poor or incoherent. (Kudos to the writer and editor both!) Her background as an award winning poet and her beautiful poetry is woven throughout her journey, providing a new avenue for reflection on her spiritual transformations.
Particularly fascinating for this lapsed Catholic are her examinations of the Gnostic gospels and subjugation of the woman's voice in Scripture by the Catholic Church. Denicola offers the fruits of her considerable research and subsequent spiritual pilgrimage through the South of France, shedding light on a possible connection between the Black Madonnas and Mary Magdalen.
Each of us has a unique journey to find the Spirit, sadly, most of us aren’t very eloquent about the journey, or missed a lot of detail along the way, making a 20 year journey end up more like a 5 paragraph essay. Denicola’s experience is not my own, yet I found myself feeling like we’d had the same experience. We connected, a reader and a writer, because we’re both trying to make sense of something that is vastly larger, more complicated, and mostly hidden from sight.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Deborah Denicola
Ibis Press, 2009
pp. 360, $16.95