Books by Laura Chester
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HOLY PERSONAL, Looking for Small
Private Places of Worship

Indiana University Press, 2000
Foreword by Thomas Moore
With photographs by Donna DeMari
Featured in eight segments on New Morning, Hallmark Cable TV

Click here for the
Holy Personal slide show

Laura Chester documents the American landscape as well as the American soul, as she and photographer-friend, Donna Demari, traverse the continent looking for small, private places of worship. From a chapel made of tires in Alabama, to one fashioned from a wine cask in Sonoma, California, from a root cellar shrine in Boston, to a stupa tower on Whidbey Island….

Holy Personal furthers the idea of honoring our differences, while being mindful of our oneness. It bears witness to a yearning for religious privacy, a deep desire to create for oneself a holy chamber, a place where creative expression joins hands with devotion. Luminous photographs by DeMari reveal the intimate nature of these unique places.

Read Excerpt

“Holy Personal is a fascinating, in-depth study of how spirituality can express itself in that most intimate of worlds, the home.” Publisher’s Weekly

“In Holy Personal, two dozen devout souls speak about their handmade sanctuaries, many of which shelter images of Mary and various santos. It is clear water from the artesian well. From a Moonlodge in New Mexico to a Sandstone Cathedral, to a Garage Chapel, we follow the artistic devotions of those not bound by the doctrinaire, but are instead freshly cut by the thorns of the Mystical Rose, who are overflowing with gratitude—this last being one of the holy proofs that Spirit has in fact visited the longing soul. The photographs by Donna DeMari are worthy of long meditations.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes for The Bloomsbury Review

From the Introduction by Thomas Moore:

“To me this book is a compendium of holy magic, a lost yet vital art for anyone who would take religion out of the attic of intellectualism, down to the earthen floor of felt and meaningful spirituality. Laura’s book represents the best way of doing theology—keeping it relentlessly human and thoroughly concrete…The ultimate effect of a worthy spiritual life would be beautiful lives in a beautiful world. This beautiful book is an excellent start.” Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul; Soul Mates; and Dark Nights of the Soul