The Nun and the Doctor: A Conversion Love Story at Midlife

NUNANDDR
The Nun and the Doctor
A conversion love story at midlife

This is a "page-turner" exciting novel in its own right, but it can also serve as your primary tool for teaching midlife spirituality. The individual study guide sheets (formerly $7.50) are for a limited time now FREE ... see them below.

The Nun and the Doctor

A Novel by Richard P. Johnson

From the back cover: The Nun and the Doctor

A conversion love story about the spiritual and psychological storms and passions we all must face in our middle years.

In two separate accidents on the same day two very different people are brought together … their lives will never the same. In the first accident a world-renowned cardiac surgeon loses his most cherished possession -- his profession; he also loses his trophy wife. In the second accident a cloistered nun, who has devoted her life to prayer, loses her cherished enclosure. They find each other at a rehabilitation hospital where he confronts the narcissistic demons that have driven him to worldly fame but personal despair, while she confronts anew, the terror of her sins from her life before the monastery.

They develop a relationship that explodes into a psychological and spiritual firestorm that lays them bare and vulnerable, and ultimately transforms them both. Together they traverse the psycho-spiritual challenges we all must tackle in our middle years if we want to grow fully both psychologically and spiritually.

Discover the Spiritual Growth of the Middle Years

Embedded in the interactions of these two memorable characters, you’ll discover the spiritual growth life lessons unique to the middle years, generally ages 40-65. These are the lessons we all must learn if we are to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit and live abundantly in our middle years and beyond.

This book is …

An inspirational story of enduring faith in the midst of intense emotional turmoil

A personal triumph of spirit

An invitation to live fully in your middle years and beyond

Order The Nun and the Doctor

The Nun and the Doctor is a landmark book in that it is intended for both individual inspirational reading, and for group study and reflection. It’s the first time that the spiritual “work” of the middle years has been so clearly identified and folded into a compelling story of personal revelation and conversion.

The Nun and the Doctor can stand alone, or as the centerpiece of an expansive and self-revelatory course, study group, seminar, workshop, or retreat designed to bring the full measure of grace into our middle years.

Component parts of the full program are:

1. Individual Study Guide and Class Insight Activities Sheets:

Reproducible masters. A three-page introduction to the basics of midlife spirituality, and a penetrating Insight Activity Sheet for each of the ten spiritual developmental tasks of midlife. The cost is $7.50, or FREE with the purchase of ten or more copies of The Nun and the Doctor.

2. The Spiritual Tasks Profile-Midlife (STPM). Click here for more description.

3. The Ten Spiritual Developmental Tasks of Midlife: Strengthening spirituality in the lifespan decades of the 40s, the 50s, and early 60s. This is course 109 in the JOHNSON Institute catalog of courses. Participants who complete this course, either in-person or self-study, are awarded a certificate enabling them to give and interpret the STPM. When you order this course you receive all of the above, plus lots more. Click her for a full description of this course.

The Ten Spiritual Tasks of Midlife Embedded in the dialogue of The Nun and the Doctor

1. Looking Ahead vs. Looking Behind: Chapters 18-24

2. Living Youthfully vs. Living as a Youth: Chapters 25-33

3. Assimilating Contradictions vs. Demanding Consistency: Chaps 34-40

4. Becoming ‘Other’ Focused vs. Remaining Self Focused: Chapters 41-51

5. Reconstitution vs. Desolation: Chapters 52-55

6. Consolation vs. Desolation: Chapters 56-62

7. Purposeful Living vs. Purposelessness: Chapters 63-68

8. Positive Change vs. Fixation: Chapters 69-75

9. Life Enrichment vs. Idle Busyness: Chapters 76-80

10. Self-Ownership vs. Self-Forfeiture: Chapters 81-90

If you would like definitions of these ten and a description of the spiritual and psychological importance of Midlife Spirituality, click on the Individual Study Guide and Class Insight Activities Sheets that you can purchase for $7.50, or receive free with the purchase of ten or more copies of The Nun and the Doctor.

FREE FREE FREE

For a limited time, these study guides (fomerly $7.50) are now FREE; they are printed below, simply print them on your own printer and copy in as many copies as you need.

The Nun and the Doctor

A Novel by Richard P. Johnson
The Nun and the Doctor

A conversion story about the spiritual and psychological storms and passions we all must face in our middle years.

In two separate accidents on the same day two very different people are brought together … their lives will never the same. In the first accident a world-renowned cardiac surgeon loses his most cherished possession -- his profession; he also loses his trophy wife. In the second accident a cloistered nun, who has devoted her life to prayer, loses her cherished enclosure. They find each other at a rehabilitation hospital where he confronts the narcissistic demons that have driven him to worldly fame but personal despair, while she confronts anew, the terror of her sins from her life before the monastery.

They develop a relationship that explodes into a psychological and spiritual firestorm that lays them bare and vulnerable, and ultimately transforms them both. Together they traverse the psycho-spiritual challenges we all must tackle in our middle years if we want to grow fully both psychologically and spiritually.

Discover the Spiritual Growth of the Middle Years

Embedded in the interactions of these two memorable characters, you’ll discover the spiritual growth life lessons unique to the middle years, generally ages 40-65. These are the lessons we all must learn if we are to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit and live abundantly in our middle years and beyond

This book is …

An inspirational story of enduring faith in the midst of intense emotional turmoil

A personal triumph of spirit

An invitation to live fully in your middle years and beyond

Order The Nun and the Doctor

The Nun and the Doctor is a landmark book in that it is intended for both individual inspirational reading, and for group study and reflection. It’s the first time that the spiritual “work” of the middle years has been so clearly identified and folded into a compelling story of personal revelation and conversion.

The Nun and the Doctor can stand alone, or as the centerpiece of an expansive and self-revelatory course, study group, seminar, workshop, or retreat designed to bring the full measure of grace into our middle years.

Component parts of the full program are:

1. Individual Study Guide and Class Insight Activities Sheets: Reproducible master s. A three-page introduction to the basics of midlife spirituality, and a penetrating Insight Activity Sheet for each of the ten spiritual developmental tasks of midlife. The cost is now FREE.

2. The Spiritual Tasks Profile-Midlife (STPM). Click here for description.

3. The Ten Spiritual Developmental Tasks of Midlife: Strengthening spirituality in the lifespan decades of the 40s, the 50s, and early 60s. This is course 109 in the JOHNSON Institute catalog of courses. Participants who complete this course, either in-person or self-study, are awarded a certificate enabling them to give and interpret the STPM. When you order this course you receive all of the above, plus lots more. Click her for a full description of this course.

The Ten Spiritual Tasks of Midlife Embedded in the dialogue of The Nun and the Doctor

1. Looking Ahead vs. Looking Behind: Chapters 18-24

3. Assimilating Contradictions vs. Demanding Consistency: Chaps 34-40

4. Becoming ‘Other’ Focused vs. Remaining Self Focused: Chapters 41-51

5. Reconstitution vs. Desolation: Chapters 52-55

6. Consolation vs. Desolation: Chapters 56-62

7. Purposeful Living vs. Purposelessness: Chapters 63-68

8. Positive Change vs. Fixation: Chapters 69-75

9. Life Enrichment vs. Idle Busyness: Chapters 76-80

10. Self-Ownership vs. Self-Forfeiture: Chapters 81-90

If you would like definitions of these ten and a description of the spiritual and psychological importance of Midlife Spirituality, click on the Individual Study Guide and Class Insight Activities Sheets.

Individual Study Guide and Class Insight Activities Sheets For The Nun and the Doctor

Our path to God, our spiritual growth, is a continuous human unfolding of our authentic self … an ongoing expression of the full measure of our unique spiritual potential. Each of us is endowed by God with a cluster of spiritual DNA that defines our spiritual potential and individualizes each of us from all other human beings on the earth. Just as our material DNA is unique, and is the biological code that determines all of our physical attributes, so too our spiritual DNA, if you will, determines even a broader array of spiritual potentials in us.

This notion of spiritual DNA echoes something the famous artist and dance choreographer Martha Graham once said: There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost forever. The world will not have it … ever! It is not you’re your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours – clearly and directly – to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You only have to keep the channel open.

This so-called spiritual DNA provides the raw material as well as the direction of our spiritual authenticity. Exactly the mechanism that determines our spiritual potential and the code that sets out the progression of our development, we don’t know. What we do know is that our spiritual development requires our active and continuous participation. There is never a time in our life, there is no stage where or when we can ever stop our volitional involvement in our ongoing spiritual growth. Just as we need to eat each and every day to ensure our physical survival, our onward physical growth and development, likewise we must take active steps everyday to ensure our ongoing spiritual growth and development.

We need to perform work, spiritual work so we can spiritually thrive. We call this work our tasks. In the case of spiritual work, these are spiritual tasks. Since this work stimulates our onward, forward spiritual development, we call them our spiritual developmental tasks.

The Ten Spiritual Developmental Tasks of the Middle Years, Ages 40-65

After exhaustive study and strenuous examination of the human condition across the lifespan, ten spiritual developmental tasks have been identified as most central to the middle years. The better these ten are addressed, the more thoroughly these ten are folded into the personality fabric of the individual, the richer and fuller will be the life experience of the middle years.

At each stage and age of life the deepest yearning of our soul cries out in distinct ways. Yet this cry is not a howl or a scream, it is more like a drip on a rock in a mountain stream, or a feather landing on a lawn, or the sound of a cricket in a field of starlings migrating north … hardly discernible unless we listen closely. Even when we listen with all our might, we may still miss the message of the time of our lives, the time we currently occupy. We need to listen so deeply that we can hear the silence of our souls. We must be still, live in the moment, and listen, listen, listen.

In The Nun and the Doctor program, these ten spiritual developmental tasks are posited as dialectics, as opposing conditions, as something vs. something. It is in our middle years when we encounter these opposing forces within ourselves. The ‘work’ of the stage is in our attempts to find resolution by synthesizing the power resident in each of the ‘sides’ of the dialectic. Eventually one side gains dominance over the other not by conquering it, or by pushing it out of the way, but rather by draining its energy and incorporating this energy into the opposite side of the dialectic. The tension that emerges as we struggle with each side of the dialectic is the forum for growth; it is from this tension that our growth emerges. Without the struggle we do not grow. Midlife growth, like every stage and phase of life demands that we struggle … no struggle, no growth!

Developmentally, midlife can be a turbulent time indeed. Up to this point the central energies of our lives have been dedicated primarily to learning how the world works and trying, sometimes desperately, to figure out how we fit into this expanding and confusing calliope. Generally, by the end of our 30s and into our early 40s we have figured this out for ourselves, at least to a functional degree.

It’s in midlife that we quite unintentionally and unwillingly are drawn inward to our interior. Naturally we’ve been drawn to our interior before this, but the pull in midlife is like nothing that has come before. We can resist the process, we can try to push it away, postpone it, or even forestall it, but we can’t deny it without dyer consequences to our soul development. Midlife can b a confusing and sometimes and even down right confounding time, it can even escalate into a full-blown emotional crisis. Some of us never do find interior clarity, neither in our relationships with ourselves, nor our relationship with God. We set ourselves up for a sickness of the soul, a condition of avoidance that breeds emotional sickness, personal maladies we see manifested in so many ways in body, mind, and spirit.

The ten Insight Activity Sheets (one for each of the spiritual tasks of midlife) are designed to involve you more deeply in the dialogue between Sr. Theresa and Dr. Renowski. Their interaction in the pages of The Nun and the Doctor brings the ten spiritual developmental tasks of midlife into sharp and practical focus. As you look deeper into these two characters you may find there a reflection of you and in so doing discover a richer and fuller appreciation of the marvelous work that God is laid out for you during these sometimes chaotic and always enriching middle years.

Blessings always,

Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D.



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet One

1. Looking Ahead vs. Looking Behind: The degree to which we can start measuring our life in terms of time remaining rather than measuring life in terms of time elapsed.

a. In the dialogue on pp. 47-48, what is Dr. Renowski’s view of himself? From where does he take his self-identity? From what sources do you take your self-identity? What defines you more than anything else? Is this what you want? Is this identity the most healthy and fulfilling for you? Explain.

b. On the bottom of page 50, Sister tells Dr. Renowski that he’s ‘stuck’. What does she mean by ‘stuck’? Have you ever been stuck like this before? Explain.

c. On page 51 Sister tells Dr. Renowski that: “… we need new bridges to tomorrow.” What does she men by that? What are the new bridges you might need right now in your life?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Two

2. Living Youthfully vs. Living as a Youth: The degree to which we can let go of those things of youth and take on the maturity of having to work for our own youthfulness.

a. In chapter 32 (page 66) Dr. Renowski asserts that he doesn’t need any help. How do you interpret this statement? Explain.

b. On page 68, Dr. Renowski claims that he’s given his life to help people. Is this claim accurate? Explain.

c. Dr. Renowski sounds so adolescent in chapter 33 (page 69). How is his perception of himself ‘living as a youth’? What changes in attitude must Dr. Renowski make so he can shift to ‘living youthfully’?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Three

3. Assimilating Contradictions vs. Demanding Consistency: The degree to which we can begin to understand the role of paradox in our personalities, along with the fact that personal contradictions exist with us, as opposed to rejecting these and demanding that all things and persons remain forever sure, constant, and fixed.

a. Toward the top of page 82, Sister states, “That’s where we disagree.” What’s the disagreement to which she refers? How would you describe it? Does it apply in any ways to your won life?

b. Beginning with chapter 39 (page 83), Dr. Renowski makes a case that, “There are no excuses …”. What’s he talking about here, and what does his perspective on this issue say about his overall world-view?

c. On page 85, Sister very forcefully brings home to Dr. Renowski the central fulcrum point upon which this chapter swings. What is this fulcrum point? Does this point relate to your life at all?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Four

4. Becoming “Other” Focused vs. Remaining Self Focused: The degree to which we can shift our primary concern from an egoistic viewpoint to one that places the needs and desires of others as at least equal importance to our own.

a. In chapter 43 (page 92) Nurse Jan asks Sister to help her. Why is this happening and what is it about Dr. Renowski that’s the root reason why Jan is asking for this help? Have you ever experienced anything like this before?

b. In the middle of page 98, Sister asks Dr. Renowski “… because I’d like to know when you’re planning to start!” What is she referring to? What character trait in Dr. Renowski has pushed Sister to ask this question? Have you ever felt this way? Explain.

c. On page 100, Sister tells Dr. Renowski, “I love you.” What is going on? What is Sister doing? What accounts for Dr. Renowski’s turn-around on Page 101? Explain. Have you ever experienced a turn-around like this? Explain.



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Five

5. Reconstitution vs. Fragmentation: The degree to which we can reconcile with our own brokenness and the brokenness of the world and embark upon personal renewal.

a. On page 119, Sister accuses Dr. Renowski of being fragmented. What is it about him that makes her say this? Explain. How might you be fragmented?

b. Why is Sister talking to Dr. Renowski about love on page 121?

c. On page 123, what ‘pushes’ Dr. Renowski to begin crying? Describe. Can you relate to his emotions at this time of your life? Explain.



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Six

6. Consolation vs. Desolation: The degree to which we can shift our view of God from a God who “makes all things right … right now!” to a personal healing God.

a. Chapter 56 (page 131) opens with Sister thinking, and ends with a prayer. What is Sister’s central realization in this chapter? Explain.

b. In chapter 62 both Dr. Renowski and Sister make confessions … what are they each confessing? What causes Dr. Renowski to break into tears again on page 143?

c. What was Dr. Renowski’s reaction to Sister’s confession on page 145?

d. How did Sister console Dr. Renowski in chapter 62?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Seven

7. Purposeful Living vs. Purposeless Living: The degree to which we can discover or re-discover our personal dream, our individual mission, and pursue it with passion.

a. In chapter 63 (page 147) Sister says she feel herself in a vortex; what does she mean by this? How would you describe Sr. Theresa’s internal struggle?

b. Can you relate to Amy’s (rehabilitation therapist) statement in chapter 64 that “Some days are better than others.”? Explain.

c. Do you think that fear is the opposite of hate, as described on page 153?

d. Why does Dr. Renowski react negatively to Frank on page 156?

e. On page 160, Sister says to Stanley, “If you have no purpose you can’t experience meaning.” What does she mean by this? What is your life’s purpose right now?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Eight

8. Positive Change vs. Fixation: The degree to which we can recognize our personality by injecting constructive and spiritual modifications into it.

a. Why did Sister’s image of herself as described in chapter 69 (page 163) disturb her so?

b. On page 169, Sister blames Stanley’s depression for his fixated attitudes. Do you agree? What do you think is responsible for his fixated attitudes?

c. On pages 178-180, Sister talks to Stanley about Change. What are some of the more salient points that she makes about Change? As you reflect on Change, are there any changes that God is asking of you now?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Nine

9. Life Enrichment vs. Idle Busyness: The degree to which we can gradually shift our definition of self away from simply being a producer and achiever, and more toward a self-definition of ‘being’ on the inside.

a. In chapters 76 and 77 (page 181), how is Dr. Renowski like the character Pontius Pilate in Sister’s dream?

b. How is Sister finding a new “life enrichment” in chapter 78 (page 187)? Explain.

c. What is Stanley’s vision of how he can enrich his life that emerges in the dialogue between he and Sister on pages 190-192? Explain.

d. Does Sister seem to be “back-peddling” in chapter 80? How? Why? How does she move beyond it?

e. What is Sister’s view of the idle busyness she would experience if she were married to Stanley (page 200)? In what ways might you be in idle busyness now in your life?



The Nun and the Doctor

Insight Activity Sheet Ten

10. Self-Ownership vs. Self-Forfeiture: The degree to which we can more fully ‘own’ our true selves, taking it back from whatever factors and forces may have hampered our innate freedom in the past.

a. What is Stanley’s confessing to on pages 208-209?

b. How does Stanley want to possess Sister?

c. How is Stanley’s desire to marry Sister actually an act of self-forfeiture?

d. How are Sister’s words to Stanley on pages 217-218 an act of self-ownership, i.e., taking her real self back? Explain.

e. What is Sister’s solution to her problem as described in the last paragraph of chapter 88? What is detachment? Can you name a time in your life when you needed to detach? Are you being asked to detach from anything now in your life?

  • Title: The Nun and the Doctor
  • Author: Richard P. Johnson
  • Publishing House: AGES
  • Publication Date: 11/15/2005
  • ISBN: 0-9743623-2-8
Your Price $13.95
Quantity
 

Customer Reviews