and Amazon Australia
I never thought I’d ever share my past with anyone, not fully, because it contained a secret that belonged to me alone. But a new relationship changed that resolve and, in time, led to the writing of my first memoir. Initially, I wrote everyone else’s story in my Irish Catholic family, stories passed down from generation to generation over pots of tea.]
With each story my confidence grew, my love of writing increased, my voice strengthened. I was on safe ground, untouchable. But months of sitting and pondering eventually led me deeper, into the darkest corners of my own confession, and it was there that I needed to stay and face my confusion and shame.
The writing process pushed me harder than anything else I’d ever done. I ached. I drowned – and stopped writing. I needed help. Insight came, as did the knowledge of the beauty and value of authenticity and vulnerability.
REPARATION – A Spiritual Journey is my story: from the sweeping coastline of New Zealand to the barren plains of Southern Spain, from youthful hope to deep despair, and from sin to reparation.
As a free-spirited university student, living in New Zealand in the mid-seventies, my life had stretched before me like a wonderful adventure.
I studied music, loved Jesus and entered the convent. Then, the unthinkable happened: a callous act resulted in an impossible choice that shaped the rest of my life. Heartbroken and in need of a miracle, I sought absolution as a Carmelite nun in the dark, silent cloisters of the Palmarian Catholic Church, one of the world’s most secretive and controversial religious orders, located in Seville, Spain.
IRISH SHORTS: Nora’s Escape and other true stories of love, loss and resistance. It is a small collection of six true stories from my Irish Catholic family caught in the iron grip of a changing world.
I write about a young girl called Nora, my maternal grandmother, as she escapes her oppressive father to start life anew in the wilds of New Zealand. I tell of my family’s Christian values being tested upon discovering our home broken into, and the culprit lurking close by.
The decades pass, and world wars turn into religious ones as I travel to bomb-blasted Belfast in search of my heritage and connection to one of Ireland’s most famous artists. But is our family hero the man we thought him to be?
These are just some of the themes revealed, as I pick my way through family legend and fact to uncover tales of resistance, love and survival across three awe-inspiring generations.
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About the Author
Maria Hall was born in Auckland, New Zealand. After leaving school, she completed a Bachelor of Music at Auckland University and a Diploma of Teaching, before studying Theology and Scripture at Chanel Institute (Auckland) and Yarra Theological College (Melbourne, Australia). She lives on the water’s edge on Auckland’s North Shore with her partner, Nicholas. She loves boats and all things Irish and Spanish. She is currently working on a second collection of short stories, as she continues to explore her family history and her love of memoir writing. Find out more at Maria's website www.mariahallwriter.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @MariaHallWriter.