Bonomo, Carol 1952-

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Bonomo, Carol 1952-

PERSONAL:

Born 1952; married; husband's name Felix.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of Legislative Affairs, California State University, San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., San Marcos, CA 92096. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

California State University, San Marcos, director of legislative affairs, lobbyist, and speechwriter. Became a Benedictine oblate, 1998.

WRITINGS:

The Abbey up the Hill: A Year in the Life of a Monastic Day-Tripper (memoir), Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2002.

Humble Pie: St. Benedict's Ladder of Humility, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2003.

My Soul to Keep: Tools for Staying in a Changing Church, Continuum (New York, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

While pursuing a professional career, Carol Bonomo also engages in a rich spiritual life centered on Benedictine spirituality. It is this combination of secular and religious living that informs her books The Abbey up the Hill: A Year in the Life of a Monastic Day-Tripper and Humble Pie: St. Benedict's Ladder of Humility.

Bonomo is a Benedictine oblate, a lay person who has vowed to live her life according to the Rule of St. Benedict, a sixth-century guide to monastic Christian living that advocates adherence to virtues such as humility, silence, and obedience, while supporting a balanced lifestyle with religious observance at the center. In The Abbey up the Hill, Bonomo offers a detailed journal of a year she spent among Benedictine monks at St. Augustine's Abbey in southern California. She candidly describes her own troubles that led her to seek solace among the Benedictines, including alcoholism, the unexpected death of her father, and a long-term feeling of restlessness and rootlessness. Though she is deeply immersed in the Benedictine lifestyle and thoroughly admiring of the Order, Bonomo is also critical of anything about the Order that does not ring true to her. Soon, through regular retreats at the abbey and close association with the monks there, she begins to find the stability that she has craved for so long. Bonomo's character as an oblate "develops believably" throughout her memoir, commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "A down-to-earth spiritual journey memoir, this book is also a painless introduction to the Rule of St. Benedict." Zann M. Wasiljov remarked on the Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women Web site that Bonomo's spiritual "journey is timeless and well worth traveling."

In Humble Pie, Bonomo explores one of the spiritual constructs of the Benedictine order, the Ladder of Humility. This concept of a twelve-rung ladder juxtaposes Benedictine characteristics against the celebrations and ceremonies of the liturgical year. For instance, obedience, the first rung of the ladder, coincides with Advent, while constancy, the final rung, is observed particularly during the feast of All Saints. Bonomo looks carefully at the concept of humility as it applies to the Benedictines, how humility is lacking in so many areas of today's world, and how practicing it leads modern Christians to a deeper and more fulfilling spiritual life.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Bonomo, Carol, The Abbey up the Hill: A Year in the Life of a Monastic Day-Tripper, Morehouse (Harrisburg, PA), 2002.

PERIODICALS

Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2002, review of The Abbey up the Hill, p. 73.

ONLINE

Mount Saint Agnes Theological Center for Women Web site,http://www.mountsaintagnes.org/ (April 2, 2007), Zann M. Wasiljov, review of The Abbey up the Hill.

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