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The Scent of God

A Memoir

List Price: $15.00

March 13, 2007 | Paperback | 5.4 x 8, 304 Pages | ISBN 9781582433615
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"Bissell seems to find inner joy even during life's most difficult trials, and she writes about spiritual matters with a marvelous clarity of vision." —Washington Post

When Beryl Bissell entered a cloistered convent in New Jersey, she believed that God had called her to this way of life. At first blissfully happy, within a year she became prey to obsessive compulsions. Her vocation at risk, she overcame these disorders, and persevered for another ten years, until returning home to Puerto Rico to care for her ailing father. Thrust into this sensual environment, she was drawn to Padre Vittorio, a handsome Italian priest, and underwent a belated coming of age. For the next three years, she struggle to reconcile humane desire with spiritual longing. In spare but lyric language, Bissell weaves a powerful story of love, death, and guilt, and redemption — a pilgrimage that reaches beyond dogma to personal truth and evokes a transformation that changes not only Beryl but the lives of those whom she most loves

BERYL SINGLETON BISSELL, a columnist for the Cook County News Herald, has been published in the Trenton Times, Your Life, Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and in the anthology Surviving Ophelia. Bissell lives in Schroeder, Minnesota.


“Bissell seems to find inner joy even during life’s most difficult trials, and she writes about spiritual matters with a marvelous clarity of vision.” —Washington Post

The Scent of God is an ode to passion both spiritual and sensual. Meticulously researched and skillfully written, it is the story of a woman who twice gave up everything for love — first for God, then for a man.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Vivid detail and skillful dialogue… The strength of Ms. Bissell’s memoir lies in the unflinching examination of her motives for entering and leaving religious life…A compelling and soulful read.” —National Catholic Reporter

“A deeply moving tale of a woman torn between her love for God and her love for one of his emissaries.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“It is rare to read a memoir that isn’t at least occasionally self-aggrandizing and narcissistic, but this one is never so. Instead, Bissell’s humility and blatant honesty are refreshing, invigorating, and inspirational.” —Library Journal

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