Book Review: A Monk in High Heels


Brenda Keller was a desperate college sophomore when she made her first call “hoping they would in fact not have an opening. Ever.” Her professor had told her openings were “few and far between” and sometimes scheduled a year or more in advance.

But there was a cancellation.

And so she stumbled into the presence of God on the grounds and within the walls of a monastery.

About that first time, she writes in her book A Monk in High Heels:

“Closing the curtains, I crossed my arms and leaned against the white painted walls. It bothered me more than I thought it would, that not knowing a small thing like the time made me feel so out of control.” ~p. 14

But though those early hours were a wee scary, she learned to lean into the silence and follow the bells. She returned again and again, to this place and others, over several years.

In this short little book, Brenda shares her journey into the monastic life and suggests ways to incorporate contemplative practices into the everyday, ways we can create sacred space, ways we can be still with God in the midst of the loud.

She’s deep, and she’s funny.

I especially loved the account of how she followed a monk on a hot August day “into the blazing sun and into the heart of God.”

She explains Lecto Divina and the Divine Office and relates a very moving account of a funeral mass, the traditions, and a brother’s grief.

Brenda’s rekindled my smoldering desire to someday retreat into a monastic setting and experience those practices in community. She’s erased a little of the discomfort I’ve had about the whole idea.

But until then I’ll return again and again to this little book. I think you’ll like it.

Oh, and you can connect with Brenda on Twitter or at her blog, Peace Love Jesus and Coffee where she writes about “life one day at a time on the journey home.”