Books by OSH Sisters

These books were written by OSH sisters or contain chapters by sisters.

All are available from the Order of St. Helena or from or from, as well as from the publishers.

ES's new book

The Poet's Eye: collected poetry, by Ellen Stephen, OSH
(Palo Alto CA: Academica Press, 2012).
ISBN: 978-1-936320-51-6

The Poet's Eye is a selected collection of Ellen Stephen's poetry and her poetic drama about Mary Magdalene. These works span a period from the time of her Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, where she studied under Yvor Winters with other poets such as Donald Hall and Thom Gunn, to the present. The poems are written in many forms, such as varied rhyme schemes, both Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets, free verse, blank verse, syllabics, trimeter, rhyming couplets, and more. The themes are both secular and spiritual, if indeed such a distinction may be drawn.

ES's book Some Antics

Some Antics, by Ellen Stephen, OSH
(The Order of Saint Helena, 2012).

Some Antics is a book of watercolors and accompanying poems illustrating words which describe human moods and conditions. There is a certain wryness of tone to the work which justifies the use of the term "antics", but there also may occasionally be discerned a level of profundity.

The Beautiful Cloth: stories and proverbs of Ghana

The Beautiful Cloth: Stories & Proverbs of Ghana, by The Rev. Canon Rosina Ampah, OSH (Cambridge MA: Yellow Moon Press, 2010).
ISBN: 978-0-938756-76-7

From Rosina's introduction:

I drew these stories from memory when I decided to record them for future generations as well as for those outside of Ghanaian culture who have come to love and trust their wisdom. I felt that, with this fast-changing world, children might not have the chance to hear such stories told and learn from the rich treasure within their culture.

Both my parents and grandparents helped me to understand how important stories and proverbs were to our everyday living. In the Ghanaian culture, one needs to understand deeply the wise lessons of the stories and proverbs, or one will miss a great deal of communication. Through stories everyone learns how to pay attention to details and notice carefully what was said, since anyone could be called upon later to narrate what they had heard.

Since I came to the Order of Saint Helena in 1978, I have told these stories as part of my ministry, and in many places have used them as an educational tool with wider audiences. Years ago I was invited to Atlanta to join other storytellers from all over the country. The week's activites were titled, "American Culture, African Influence".

This book was compiled in memory of my son, the late Eric Kodwo Asamoah Boateng of Saltpond and Kwahu Pepease Ghana, West Africa.

Together and Apart

Together and Apart: A Memoir of the Religious Life, by Sr. Ellen Stephen, OSH (New York NY: Church Publishing, 2008).
ISBN: 97-8-08192-2315-9

In an easy, conversational style Ellen Stephen, OSH, a professed religious for over 40 years, tells us about the facts and fictions of the monastic life: how the choice is made, what lies behind the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the nuts and bolts of monastic calling, what monks and nuns do all day, how they support themselves, and why they live as they do. Doing away with the old stereotypes of sainthood, Ellen Stephen provides an enlightening glimpse into a vibrant female subculture that is richly diverse, faith-filled, and rewarding.

This book is based on her earlier chapter "Apart and Together: Vocation in the Order of Saint Helena" which is excerpted from Deeper Joy: Lay Women and Vocation in the 20th Century Episcopal Church. Fredrica Harris Thompsett and Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook, editors. Church Publishing Incorporated, 2005. Used by permission. See the review of this book below.

Vessel of Peace

Vessel of Peace: A Guide for Pilgrims of the Spirit, by Sr. Ellen Stephen, OSH and Doug Shadel (Nashville TN: Abingdon Press, 2007).
ISBN 978-0-687-64255-7.

From the Foreword of this new and revised edition: "We must empty ourselves of any notion that glory is ours to achieve. All glory belongs to God; a co-creators the most we can hope for is to participate in it. But that's the name of the game. In this wise book, Doug Shadel and Ellen Stephen have a great deal to teach us about how to play that game." -- M. Scott Peck, M.D.

"Simple without being simplistic, Vessel of Peace is a guide book for pilgrims of the spirit, which promises nothing but a probing clarity. And what a promise -- a promise fulfilled." -- Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco.

"The wisdom within this impressive volume sounds a clarion for authentic spiritual freedom in this age of great mythic lies." -- Stephen Baumann, Senior Minister, Christ Church, New York City, and author of Simple Truths.

Cintra with a copy of Soulfaring

Soulfaring: Celtic Pilgrimages Now and Then, by Sr. Cintra Pemberton (Harrisburg, Pa.: Morehouse Publishing, 1999).
ISBN 9780819217806.

"The popularity of pilgrimages today speaks of an age-old longing to encounter holy places and experience what they can bring to heart, mind, and soul. Sister Cintra presents us with the Celtic world that she has made so much her own in recent years. She gives us not only the spirituality of the places that she has explored but also personal and informal reminiscences and practical hints--a guide that is thus both spiritual and down to earth!" --Esther de Waal, author of Every Earthly Blessing: Rediscovering the Celtic Tradition and The Celtic Way of Prayer, the Recovery of the Religious Imagination.

"Sister Cintra is a first class guide. She is a mine of information, but, much more, she allows us inside herself as she walks or kneels in sacred places. The result is that she is never alone in her visit, and we are never merely readers. She makes us her companions. She does not just write about the tradition of Anam Cara. She offers herself as a soul friend." --Herbert O'Driscoll, author of A Doorway in Time: Memoir of a Celtic Spiritual Journey and The Leap of the Deer: Memories of a Celtic Childhood .

Foreword by Canon A.M. (Donald) Alchin, Prof. Celtic Christianity, University of Wales

Afterword by Dr. Peter Harbison, FSA, Hon. FTCD, Archaeologist and Art Historian.

Deeper Joy

Deeper Joy: Lay Women and Vocation in the 20th Century Episcopal Church, edited by Fredrica Harris Thompsett and Sheryl Kujawa-Holbrook (New York: Church Publishing, 2005).
ISBN: 978-0-89869-479-6

Including a chapter by Ellen Stephen, OSH, "Apart and Together: Vocation in the Order of Saint Helena".

"An ambitious and much-needed effort to gather the key episodes and stories that highlight the important roles and vocations of lay women in both the 20th century church and the larger society. Deeper Joy not only chronicles the often unappreciated and undervalued past, but also points to the future of vital leadership and service." - The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris.

Throughout the 20th century, lay women in the Episcopal Church, often acting in isolation and without institutional support, offered a powerful witness of leadership, vocation, and theological resilience. Deeper Joy studies groups of women with similar callings yet located in diverse settings throughout church and society such as schools, hospitals, and other civic institutions. The topics presented here reflect new historical perspectives and unexplored primary materials, including interviews that bear on all women's ministries, hence addressing neglected and important aspects of life in the American church.

After an introductory chapter on women and vocation, five major sections will explore lay women's vocations through the lenses of community life, education, mission, civic life, and working for change from within the Episcopal Church. Topics include Anglican sisterhoods, the Companions of the Holy Cross, the deaconess movement, women of the New Deal, women in foreign missions, the settlement house movement, and women in education. The views of African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women are all represented. A concluding chapter addresses future directions for leadership and service.

In Times Like These

In Times Like These: How We Pray, edited by by Malcolm Boyd and J. Jon Bruno (New York: Seabury Books, 2005).
ISBN 1-59627-015-2.

This little volume of short, personal reflections on prayer includes chapters by Cintra Pemberton, OSH and Ellen Francis, OSH.

"We need this book. It confirms what we all know but few admit: Prayer is a very personal thing. Prayer is the deepest beat of the conscious heart. It is the continual awareness that we are not alone in the universe. In the manner of the saints before us who wrestled with the divine, we all talk to God. This book helps us to realize that, honor it, bring it to the fullness the serious life demands." -- Joan Chittister, OSB.

A wide variety of individuals tell stories of how they pray, or how they began or stopped praying, or how prayer saved their lives. The authors come from different walks of life: A military chaplain, a bishop, a film maker, a religious commentator, a Muslim physician, an icon painter, an illustrator, the mother of a gay son ... some of them are well known, many are not. Among the well-known are Martin Marty, Norman Mailer, Phyllis Tickle, Nora Gallagher, Frederick Buechner, Alan Jones, and Harvey Cox. These are distinctive and engaging voices. Some of the contributions are rough-hewn, some elegant. Taken together, they make a fascinating mosaic of prayer as something that people do in their daily lives not only or merely or even in formal worship.

Updated: September 19, 2012