Book Review - The Passion of Mary-Margaret

The Passion of Mary-Margaret
By Lisa Samson

Sister Mary-Margaret Fischer is writing down her life story for the benefit of those who follow. She's doing it unwillingly, because, as she says, "I think anonymity in serving God is crucial to the devout life." Plus, she isn't eager to make the more intimate details of her past known. And no wonder, since she has seen some extremely harsh things from a very personal vantage point, and has survived some experiences that are completely foreign to her beloved Sisters. As with her previous novel, Embrace Me (which is one of my all-time favorite books), Lisa Samson tells this story on multiple timelines. The seventy year old Sister Mary-Margaret uncovers a secret that shakes her long-held beliefs about who she is, and how she came to be. The child Mary-Margaret, whose dearest goal in life is to become a Sister and serve the Lord, befriends a boy who is destined for a life of violence and pain that she can’t begin to imagine. And then, just when she is about to take her final vows, Jesus directs Mary-Margaret to do something absolutely shocking, something that will rock her world.

The Passion of Mary-Margaret is one of those books you read slowly, because you want to savor the story, to stretch it out as long as you can make it last. We delve into Mary-Margaret’s life, moving eagerly back and forth in time, impatient to take the next step in each storyline. At times I found myself stopping to re-read a sentence, because it was such a profound statement, or so beautifully worded. This book made me evaluate my own communication with the Lord, and it did so with no heavy-handed lessons or sermons. There are some harsh realities presented within these pages, an inside look at some very ugly places and practices in this world. But even in the darkest places, God’s love shines like a lighthouse beacon, guiding us to the peace and safety of His arms.

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