Grace: A Memoir

Front Cover
Crown Publishers, 2003 - Religion - 293 pages
Mary Cartledgehayes's life was going along swimmingly. Her husband, Fred, was about to take early retirement so the two of them could embark on a life of travel and leisure. There was just one problem: God. It had all started when the roof of her new gold Chevette became transparent and radiance poured in on her head. Now it was clear that a life of leisure was out; Mary embarked on the arduous, exhausting, and wonderful experience of becoming a minister. Grace is her story.
Divinity school wasn't an obvious choice for Mary in middle age, once a wildly unconventional single mother of two who'd been twice divorced by age twenty-five, who had pretty dresses in her closet and expletives on the tip of her tongue. Grace reveals how an all-too-ordinary woman comes to terms with the sometimes devastating impact of the sacred. With unabashed exuberance, Mary tells of leading a congregation as its first female pastor, of her moving struggle to knit the congregation around its most ailing member, and her painful realization that in order to live faithfully she must leave a job she loves. Simultaneously, she decides to take up piano and discovers a pursuit whose spiritual rewards are both abundant and unexpected.
Inspired and inspiring, Grace is a wickedly delightful account of spiritual and personal renewal in midlife and a lively testament to the transformative power of grace in all its many guises.

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User Review  - Michael_Godfrey -

It's awkward, really. How do you review so personal a tale? Too personal, in fact. Call me a prude, but that's too many details about the author's sex life, included, I presume because she wants to ... Read full review

GRACE: A Memoir

User Review  - Kirkus

Recently ordained United Methodist minister Cartledgehayes debuts with no-holds-barred reflections on her decision to be ordained, her experiences while in charge of a church, and her uncertainty ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

MARY CARTLEDGEHAYES is an ordained United Methodist minister. A native of Middle Bass Island, Ohio, she holds a Master’s of Divinity from Duke University and an M.F.A. in creative nonfiction from Goucher College. She lives in South Carolina.

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