In the book Mariette in Ecstasy, Rob Hansen paints a story of the extraordinary happening at a priory in upstate New York. His depiction of life in the priory is centered around the newly inducted Mariette Baptiste, the young and beautiful daughter of a local physician, and the disputed events that threaten to tear the priory apart from within. Rob Hansen does an incredible job of placing the reader in the priory for themselves and allowing them to see just what kind of life the sisters live. On Mariette’s first day, the women rise at five o’clock to a ritualized call and response, where Sister Hermance shouts, “In Jesus Christ, my sisters, let us rise!” and the sisters respond with, “His holy name be praised!” (Page 5). The women
…show more content…
And, in his great kindness, he gratified me once…I have never felt such pain before, and I have never been so happy.” (Page 129). Mariette, throughout the book, claims to experience real, intense pain, yet it brings her the great feeling of being tied to the cosmos and supernatural that it actually feels better, in comparison, than it would feel if she were left “abandoned” in an otherwise disorderly world.
Mariette in Ecstasy depicts the priory as an environment one where the “holy” roles of the nuns were not perceived to be arbitrary in the slightest; a setting where the society had succeeded, in Berger’s sense, by being completely taken for granted and believed to be objective and unchangeable. The book, however, does not take an explicit stance on the accuracy, efficacy, or believability of Christianity or the supernatural incidents at the Church and Priory of the Sisters of the Crucifixion; instead, Ron Hansen lets the reader decide what to think in that regard.
Throughout Mariette in Ecstasy, secularization and the effects of secularization are held to a minimum due to the inescapably sheltered way of life the women of the priory live. Almost any “us” and “them” mentality is one where the “them” is outside of the priory, and little direct contact is experienced between the two perceived sides. ________________
Alienation is perhaps the most visible of Berger’s concepts in the priory. None of the