Braving the Thin Places: Celtic Wisdom to Create a Space for Grace (Paperback)
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2023 Illumination Book Awards Gold Medalist, Spirituality
2023 Independent Press Awards Winner, Spirituality
A “thin place” is where God’s grace is waiting to happen.
Your thin place might be an important threshold, a soul friendship, a fresh chapter in your own life story, a painful secret or fear, or a time of hardship. Whatever the circumstance, a thin place is where God and humanity meet in a mysterious way. These moments open us to places of rawness and beauty. When we enter into a thin place, something seems to break open inside us, and words are inadequate to describe what we are experiencing. In these moments, we feel a sense of breakthrough as we break free of the ordinary and experience the extraordinary amid our daily lives.
Drawing on her Irish-Celtic heritage, Julianne Stanz helps us explore those times and holy places of transformation. Inspired by faith and guided by spiritual practices, we can experience each thin place as a point of departure on a sacred journey to a truer understanding of who we are meant to be.
About the Author
Julianne Stanz is a nationally known speaker, retreat leader, storyteller, and the Director of Parish Life and Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization.
“Far more than simply another addition to the 'Celtic spirituality' genre, Braving the Thin Places is a remarkable study in how God is closer to us than we are ourselves, and how our lives are full of opportunities to recognize this, allowing us to meet God in moments of wonder, sorrow, kindness, and gratitude. Julianne's magpie mind draws from Irish folklore and traditions, Scripture, Greek philosophy, Roman poetry, and so much else, not least the fabric of her own life and experience, to compose a deeply practical handbook for living our lives in the awareness of God's love. At times deeply poignant, especially in mapping out the heartbreak and friction that can so often be part of the most intimate relationships, this little book is a gentle and thoughtful guide to letting our wounds heal and helping each other thrive as loving workers in the Lord's vineyard.” - Greg Daly, editor, Leaven magazine.
"It may just be a resonance with the Celtic places of my own heart but something seems so full, alive, and adventurous about the encounter with God depicted by Julianne Stanz's Braving the Thin Places. It is Julianne's uniquely Irish spirituality, common sense, wisdom, and storytelling ability that allow her to paint a real-life picture of a spiritual life, in pursuit of and pursued by a God who, is good... but in no way tame. "Braving" reminds us that life to the full, and a faith worth living, depends on our ability to stop skimming the surface and instead plum the richness and depths of both the joys and sadnesses that press in on each of our stories. It is there, in the wilderness of these liminal "thin places," that God wants to uniquely encounter each one of us; and Julianne's new book is a sound guide in how to 'go there' with Him." - Tim Glemkowski, Catholic speaker and author, director of strategy for the Archdiocese of Denver
"Julianne Stanz has given us a gift in Braving the Thin Places, offering wisdom that is at once timely and timeless. By explaining Celtic spirituality through her own life experiences and showing us how to integrate its methods and practices into the daily mess of our lives, we are invited to explore what it really looks like when we embrace grace and thus begin to see God's presence in every moment. And when we embrace God's presence, and see how we are transformed by his grace, everything changes for the better. Julianne invites us on this journey with her, and Braving the Thin Places is the perfect companion for that journey." - Katie Prejean McGrady, award-winning author of Follow: Your Lifelong Adventure with Jesus and host of The Katie McGrady Show on Sirius XM's The Catholic Channel
“The marketplace is saturated with books on Celtic spirituality, often which fails to do justice either to Irish Christianity and the deep spiritual undercurrent that is the source of this spiritual wisdom. For many in the Church, this triteness has sometimes led to a rejection of such spirituality, dismissing it as a New Age phenomenon. In Julianne Stanz' book, one discovers how attractive a Gospel-centered, Celtic spirituality can be for the modern person. Stanz is a gifted writer and storyteller. That fact is impossible to ignore on every page of the book. But this is not the only gift that Julianne possesses. She finds a way to get to the heart of the human condition and to find a way that the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, can provide wisdom for every one of our desires. Marvelously, she seeks this wisdom in a way that accessible to any reader. With her capacity to speak to the seeker and the committed Catholic alike, Julianne Stanz has established herself as the most persuasive Catholic evangelist of her day.” - Timothy P. O’Malley, author and director of education at the McGrath Institute for Church Life and academic director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy
“If you are looking for a deeper understanding of God’s presence in your life, Braving the Thin Places is for you! Drawing on Celtic spirituality, Julianne gives us the tools to pay attention to the “thin places” in our lives and notice the moments God is breaking into our lives. Her personal stories give witness to the transforming power of God in the thin places of our lives.” - Becky Eldredge, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and author
"I’ve always taken great pride in my Irish heritage but never more than after reading Braving the Thin Places by Julianne Stanz. What a gift this little book is and what a rich introduction to timeless Celtic wisdom in all its splendor.
Braving the Thin Places reveals and seeks to shed light on life’s simplest yet most profound questions. Like an indescribable Irish sunset, the beauty of this life is a mystery to behold not to be solved. That isn’t to say, though, that there aren’t deeper questions to be asked nor greater insights to be gleaned from the ‘thin places’ as Stanz so eloquently recounts, those places where heaven and earth - where God’s divinity and our humanity - meet.
Scripture affirms that if we ‘draw near to God’ that He will draw near to us (Js 4:8) and the journey of the soul poured out on these pages is evidence of just that. Stanz understands well the power of both the written word and the Eternal Word (Jesus Christ), proving herself not only a sage guide and poet, but a masterful storyteller who undoubtedly makes her native land proud.
If, as the Irish say, ‘hindsight is (indeed) the best insight into foresight’ then this little book is an invaluable treasure that sheds light into the darkness of one’s past while imbuing light unto the path of every soul’s future. The Irish are known for many things … most notably, for sharing profound truths in simple, memorable, soul-stirring ways. This work and its author do just that. Keep this little treasure within reach and allow the timeless wisdom of the Celts to speak in a timely way, each and every morn.”
- Mark Hart, CIO, Life Teen International, author, speaker, radio host