MM writes: “Can you please give me some insight on a book titled The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary by Clark Strand and Perdita Finn. I came across it but after doing some research the authors are not Catholic and I’m unsure to trust. It is being highly promoted. I appreciate your help.”
This book and the practice it encourages is a confused attempt to blend the traditional rosary and devotion to Our Lady into a kind of eco-feminist rosary fellowship that is open to worshiping “the Lady” whether that be Mary, the Great Mother, Kali-Ma, etc.
The book is part of an effort to launch a spiritual movement known as the Way of the Rose which the authors describe as being nonsectarian. “…[W]e are not affiliated with the Catholic church or any other religious organization. People need to know that right from the start,” the authors told reporter Julie Peters at Spirituality & Health. We have no dues or fees, no buildings to maintain or fundraising campaigns. There are no priesthoods or levels of mastery. Instead of lineages of power, we value circles of friendship.”
The rosary is prayed at meetings, using the traditional prayers, except that “people change a word or two of the traditional prayers as needed” the authors explain.
“At its most fundamental, the rosary is a story that invites us to tell our stories. And that’s what we do—bringing to the circle our joys, our sorrows, and also our miracles. We give each other permission, as does Our Lady, to acknowledge our hearts desires and to ask for them—and we explore this path of prayer together.”
Members of the Way of the Rose come from a variety of spiritual backgrounds from lapsed and/or practicing Catholics to Protestants, Buddhists, Jews, yoga devotees, Wiccans, people who aren’t sure what they are and anyone “eager to recover a relationship to the Sacred Feminine,” the authors say.
The book was written by Clark Strand, a former Buddhist monk and his wife and co-author, Perdita Finn, an author of children’s books who is currently writing a book about how her ancestors helped her rediscover her intuitive powers. She describes the Way of the Rose as “eco-feminist rosary fellowship dedicated to the rights of the earth and the rights of women.”
This explains the extreme feminist theme behind this rosary and the “Mary” it worships rather than the Mother of God who is venerated by Catholics.
“In the history of our species, devotion to the Great Mother is not the exception but the rule,” the authors claim. “The past five thousand years of patriarchy have been an anomaly. In the face of climate change, species extinction, violent misogyny, and a host of other problems, human beings are simply coming back to their senses. The silencing of women and the silencing of Earth has brought so much misery into the world. To heal the earth, we will need to heal our relationship to the Sacred Feminine. The rights of women and the rights of the earth are one.”
They go on to acknowledge that the rosary tells a story, but it’s not the story of Jesus Christ’s life and death. “Its prayers follow an episodic story of birth, death, and renewal that mirrors the regenerative cycles of Nature. The rosary is a crash course in spiritual ecology that draws upon deep reserves of indigenous wisdom from our ancestral past—which makes it perfect for the age we are living in now.”
Oddly enough, one of the “success stories” they attribute to the movement is that of an “angry Buddhist atheist” who happened upon a picture of Our Lady while putting out his trash one night. He couldn’t bring himself to throw it away. He eventually made an altar for her in his home and taught himself how to say the Hail Mary. He told the authors that this happened years ago and that he was no longer angry. “Because she answers all my prayers, you know?”
We can only hope that Our Lady is helping those members of this fellowship who are open to the message of Jesus Christ to find or rediscover Him; however, we can’t overlook the fact that such a confused amalgamation of ideas about Our Lady will certainly lead many others even further away from the Truth.
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