Sister Julia’s memoir now available

Forthcoming in April 2024, For Love of the Broken Body: A Spiritual Memoir (Monkfish) by Julia Walsh is now available for pre-order at booksellers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon & Bookshop.

“Julia Walsh gives me hope for a future with religious women changing the world. She tells a story all her own, but I felt her doubts, questions, and passion each step of the way. Highly recommended.” —Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and River of Fire

“For Love of the Broken Body is a beautiful, searching, searing book.” —Liam Callanan, novelist, author of Paris by the Book, winner of the Edna Ferber Prize

“A searing, riveting, surprising, challenging and ultimately inspiring work that asks some of the hardest questions a human being might face.” —James Martin, SJ, New York Times Best-selling author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage 

“I laughed out loud, gasped, felt seen, and learned so much in this exquisitely written memoir. It is full of universal truths, questions, and doubts.” —Marlena Graves, professor of spiritual formation, Northeastern Seminary; author of The Way Up Is Down

This bold, stereotype-busting book is bursting with wisdom. It helps us turn toward our weaknesses, self-doubt, and anxiety and walk through these, with Love, into self-acceptance, self-kindness, and concrete love for others. Bravely coloring outside the usual religious lines by sharing her story frankly, Julia brings us into the brightest hope. Highly recommended!”—Carmen Acevedo Butcher, poet and translator of Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence and The Cloud of Unknowing 

A questioning novice nun’s coming-of-age story.

Readers will be moved to reflect on the universal human experiences of being broken and the pull to be part of something bigger than themselves.

At the age of 25, just a month into her novitiate as a Franciscan Sister, Julia Walsh fell from a cliff and became disfigured. While working toward healing, she felt pulled to religious community life, but also toward unresolved feelings regarding her own sexuality, identity, and injustice.

For Love of the Broken Body is a story of pain, questioning, recovery, and discovery. What does it mean to exist as a broken body? Why would a young woman dedicate herself to the Catholic Church—to a life as a Franciscan Sister—while others are leaving churches in droves?

The number of women choosing to enter religious life across the U.S. is shrinking rapidly, so Walsh encounters a lot of curiosity about her choice. In this memoir, she writes honestly about feeling drawn to men and to sex, as well as what it means, in this age of self-discovery and hook-ups, for a young woman—physically broken and still very much attracted to the world—to join a celibate, religious community.

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