Cover: Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology, from Harvard University PressCover: Green Sisters in PAPERBACK

Green Sisters

A Spiritual Ecology

Add to Cart

Product Details


$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

ISBN 9780674034952

Publication Date: 09/15/2009

Academic Trade

384 pages

6 x 9 inches

12 halftones


In this absorbing and comprehensive study of the ‘greening of religion’ in Catholic religious communities, Taylor takes the reader on a tour of everything from a biodynamic farm in New Jersey to a community garden in inner-city Detroit that replaced a burned-down crack house… [She] gives a stirring account of how Catholic religious communities long committed to social justice and peace have come to connect with environmental concerns and ecological activism… [Taylor] offers a very helpful critique of agribusiness that monopolizes seed distribution worldwide and of the bioengineering that renders seeds sterile, and she describes the myriad ways in which these sisters are confronting our planetary crisis—from greening their vows to speaking out at a General Electric shareholders meeting. The text may be packed with facts and footnotes, but its author—and the women she quotes—are clearly passionate about their convictions, and sometimes funny… Green Sisters is an academic work of wide-ranging research and scholarship, but it should appeal to any reader who is interested in environmental activism, nature mysticism, social justice, feminism, Catholicism, or monasticism. It makes an important contribution both to contemporary American religious history and to women’s religious history.—Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Sojourners

Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology [is] Sarah McFarland Taylor’s extensive look at how several communities of religious women throughout the U.S. have linked the soil with the sacred. In other words, their service to the people of God is rooted in the land they occupy. How deeply the assistant professor in the religion department at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., delved into her topic is indicated by the on-site observation, participation and interviews with some of the ‘green’ sisters, as well as extensive electronic communication with those whose companion planting of religious life and respect for the earth have given another dimension to religious life. Those who ask ‘What is the church doing about the environment?’ will find a detailed story of faith told with the right balance of the nuns’ own words and background provided by the author. Together, they narrate a recent, but important, chapter in U.S. church history.—Brian Olszewski, Catholic News Service

This book discusses how green sisters are ‘re-inhabiting’ sustainable practices as an expression of ecological conviction and religious devotion. It is an account of the greening religious vows modeling sustainability, cultivating diversity, conserving the past, and offering sanctuaries of countercultural reverence for the earth.—R. A. Boisclair, Choice

A fascinating book.—Stephen Scharper, The Toronto Star

This is a superb, beautifully written book about Catholic sisters’ involvement in the environmental movement. Taylor is not only an expert ethnographer who offers crucial insights into modern American religion, but a wonderful storyteller.—Catherine A. Brekus, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, University of Chicago Divinity School

What a delightful book! Intelligent, informative, enlightening and engagingly written. A sophisticated treatment of the intellectual issues is combined with a passionate concern for the real world. The result is that very rare academic work which is both true to its subject and genuinely hopeful.—Roger S. Gottlieb, author of A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet’s Future

This is one of the best books I have read on the lives and work of Catholic nuns in the United States after the Second Vatican Council. The book makes an essential contribution to the history of Catholic social justice and of American nuns. It is an inspiring call to service on behalf of our endangered planet.—Robert A. Orsi, Warren Professor of American Religious History, Harvard University

Awards & Accolades

  • First Prize, 2008 Catholic Press Association Book Awards, Social Concerns and Gender Issues Categories
Join Our Mailing List [picture of mailboxes in a rustic setting]

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, by Donovan Moore, from Harvard University Press

The Most Famous Astronomer You’ve Never Heard Of

Despite her pioneering contributions to science, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin has not always been recognized as one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. In What Stars Are Made Of, Donovan Moore sets out to change this, with the first full biography of this trailblazing scientist. To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are pleased to highlight five

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.