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Amata Means Beloved

by Sister Mary Catharine Perry, O.P.

ISBN 0-595-30024-3        

121 pages

$ 10.95 U.S.                     

$ 14.95 Canada

Click on the photo to order from iUniverse.com or click on For more information to order directly from the Dominican Nuns.


A story of tender beauty that presents a rare glimpse into the life of cloistered nuns.

Read a great interview on Catholic Exchange here!

Another interview with Sister Mary Catharine here!


When Sister Maria Amata--the former Emily Barone--enters newly-established Mater Christi Monastery, she is eager to become a spouse of Christ--to give all she is and has to God. However, Sister Maria Amata finds that living in the monastery with the other nuns radically confronts her understanding of the life itself and her own motives. Why did she really enter the monastery? Is she instead running from facing her inability to forgive the man who murdered her brother?

The possibility of acquiring a long-desired bell for the monastery catapults Sister Maria Amata into a crisis. The novice mistress challenges the young novice by appointing her as the bell ringer for the Angelus each day. She must choose to live in the ways of freedom and love if her gift to God at first profession is to be truly one of total surrender. She can no longer hold onto her anger and lack of forgiveness.

Can Sister Maria Amata overcome her fear? More importantly, will she open her heart to God's grace and forgive?


Sister Maria Amata was distracted. "Why is she crying? I wonder if Sister Mary Elaine snapped at her. She doesn't usually get upset, though. Not like I do."

The warm breeze of the June day wafted into the choir. The scent of honeysuckle was in the air. What had Sister Zita Anne told her once?

"I was married in June." Not three months later, her husband had been killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. His death had tested her faith.

"I thought I could never forgive the terrorists who killed my husband. I knew I had to. It was what Jesus was calling me to do. Every day was a new effort. It took time. It took a lot of help and support from others. I was so in love! Never, and I mean never, would I have thought I'd enter a cloistered monastery. Well, here I am!"

A sudden revelation crashed into Sister Maria Amata's thoughts: "That's what is so peaceful about her. She really forgives those guys."

Sister Mary Dominic intoned the Magnificat, Mary's canticle. "My soul glorifies the Lord."

Sister Maria Amata struggled to fight back the tears coming to her eyes. She looked up at the icon of Our Lady of Tenderness that was at the front of the choir. "Mother of God and my Mother, please, help to forgive the man that killed Danny. I'm trying to, but I'm not free. Show me how to let go! Help me to be truly free, to give everything I am to God."


"The need to forgive others, and to experience the healing that it brings, is a message we all need to be reminded of and take to heart." --Catherine Lawton, Cladach Publishing


"More than just a sparkling portrait of religious life, Amata Means Beloved is the story of a woman's deep inner struggle with pain and forgiveness. Sr. Mary Catharine Perry takes the reader on a fascinating journey, and her writing is full of heart and soul. This beautiful book is impossible to put down after reading even just one page!" --Elizabeth Kuhns, author, The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns