THE WAY OF MARY, MARYAM, BELOVED OF GOD
by Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski
Cover: Hardback full colour
Publisher: Sweet Lady Press
Copyright: Camille Adams Helminski, 2021
Pages: 512 pages
The Way of Mary, Maryam, Beloved of God is a weaving of strands from ancient sources, traditional stories, poetry, and prayers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and beyond (with full colour illustrations), to reveal, through the illuminated being and twelve life stations of Beloved Mary, the palpable Oneness of all Creation, our Oneness in Spirit. Drawing on passages from the Quran, the Bible, poetry of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and inspirations of other mystics (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim), classical Islamic sources and ancient Biblical texts, oral traditions recorded by hearts across the centuries such as the Protoevangelium of James and the Lives of the Prophets of al-Tha‘labi, and Biblical apocrypha such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, with awareness of all the elements of nature that rose up in support of Beloved Mary through the stages of her journey, Camille Helminski weaves together a fabric of love to embrace us with healing and new life.
Watch the online book launch with Camille Helminski, A. Helwa, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Andrew Harvey, Omid Safi, Rev. Matthew Wright, Lisa Ferraro and other friends.
Publishers Weekly Booklife Review: download the excellent review and share with your local library or bookstore. Read the full review below.
*** A U T H O R ***
CAMILLE HAMILTON ADAMS HELMINSKI, Co-Director of the Threshold Society, has long been dedicated to facilitating direct personal experience of the Divine. She has helped to increase awareness of the integral contribution of women to the spiritual path of Islam with her now classic anthology Women of Sufism, A Hidden Treasure. Together with her husband, Kabir, she has published some of the finest modern English translations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi. Camille has also produced two translations of classic texts that shed light on the teachings of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz: Rumi and His Friends, Stories of the Lovers of God and Rumi’s Sun, The Teachings of Shams of Tabriz. She is the first woman to render a significant portion of the Quran into English with the heart-opening The Light of Dawn, Daily Readings from the Holy Qur’an. Her recent books of poetic reflection, including Ninety-Nine Names of the Beloved, encourage the seeker in the journey towards intimacy with the Source of Life.
*** PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BOOKLIFE REVIEW ***
A celebration, mediation, illuminating archival adventure, and a deeply reverent dialogue between faiths, Helminski’s lavish tome blends scholarly rigor with a believer’s awe as it draws from key texts from the three Abrahamic religions to examine accounts of the life of the woman often known as Mary—or Madre, Maria, Miriam, or the Blessed Virgin. (Helminski notes that “the variations of her name indicate her universal story.”) In warm, inviting prose that’s rich with insight and a sense of grace, Helminski presents this multifaceted study as a “devotional journey,” one visiting the “twelve stations” or “passages” of Mary’s life, as established in scripture, poetry, art, and the writings of mystics. These “passages,” Helminski writes, “radiate blessing to all of us when we hold them close in remembrance.”
Readers familiar with this most beloved figure only from the perspective of one faith will find much of what Helminski presents fascinating, as she digs into Quranic accounts of Mary’s life—including the story of the infant Jesus offering a spirited defense of Mary in the face of gossiping neighbors, and several other miracles. Passages contemplating Rumi’s reflections on oneness and the “Hidden Mysteries” of divinity are rousing: “Through Rumi’s words we recognize a Love that encourages us to remove our coats—the veils of our hearts which burden us.” So, too, are the illustrations, sourced from centuries of great artwork, and photos of holy sites.
What readers of faith will most take from this is renewed appreciation for the figure of Mary across religious traditions and millennia, as Helminski, a thoughtful and nuanced guide, leads an engaging tour through a life sketched out in the gospels, assembling from her array of sources both a human portrait and dazzling radiance, as she contemplates and interrogates ancient accounts that don’t always fit cleanly together. In their points of connection and disjunction, though, she finds fresh insight and power. Believers will find this a book to treasure.
Takeaway: A radiant study of the life of Mary, drawn from the three Abrahamic faiths.
Cover: A Design and typography: A Illustrations: A Editing: A Marketing copy: A
*** T E S T I M O N I A L S ***
Revered across the family of Abraham and Sarah, adored as Miriam, Mary, Maryam, Madre Maria, there is no other single figure who so universally serves to lift up the weary heart of the world, blessing us with lovingkindness and infusing us with hope. With her signature blend of sublime wisdom and grounded scholarship, beloved Sufi teacher Camille Helminski offers a penetrating and life-giving transmission of Maryam as guide to the awakening of the soul, during a time when we need her most.
~ Mirabai Starr, author of God of Love and Wild Mercy
I have read numerous books on the Holy Mother in Her many guises: Kali, Chochma, Sarada Devi, Shechinah, Avalokiteshvara, and of course Mary, but none was as striking, profound, and potentially heart-transforming as Camille Helminski’s The Way of Mary. This book, steeped in wisdom, is a book to be savored. I cannot recommend it more highly.
~ Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature
What beautiful blessedness: the wise and gentle heart of Mary mirrored in the wise and gentle heart of Camille Helminski.
~ The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, author of The Wisdom Jesus and The Meaning of Mary Magdalene
I would like to thank Camille Hanim for bringing us Hazreti Meryem’s fragrance full of patience, compassion, mercy, and knowing. Camille Hanim has done a great service to humanity by writing this book—the fact that she quotes from the Bible, the Quran and the Masnavi is very important in terms of realizing that all paths lead to the One. Even though the paths are different, the destination is the same.
~ Esin Celebi Bayru, 22nd generation granddaughter of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi; Vice President, International Mevlana Foundation
Camille Helminski’s The Way of Mary is a lovely and welcome addition to the deep dialogue of the spirit shared between Muslims and Christians. The Qur’an uses the exact same verb to talk about Mary being “chosen and purified” as that of the most common honorific for the Prophet Muhammad, Mustapha. Indeed, one could say that there is a close association between Mary and Muhammad, in that the former receives God’s Word (Jesus) into her pure womb, and the latter God’s Word (the Qur’an) into his luminous heart. Deeply rooted in the Qur’an and the Sufi tradition, The Way of Mary is a beautiful way of accessing the rich waters of life that are shared across our tradition, and is highly recommended to all spiritual seekers.
~ Omid Safi, Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University; Founder, Illuminated Courses and Tours
This priceless book is a treasure trove of precious insights, heartfelt poetry, sacred verses and meticulous scholarship. These elements exquisitely woven into twelve chapters uniquely and profoundly enrich our mind, purify our heart and exalt our soul. Our beings feel deeply grateful to be graced and blessed by beauty and a rare taste of the sacred.
~ Imam Jamal Rahman, Interfaith Community Sanctuary
This is a remarkable book, both a scholarly investigation and a treasure of meditative devotion. Camille Helminski moves back and forth between the differing but related stories of Maryam in the Quran, and Mary in the Christian New Testament, considering both texts in sensitive scholarly detail, from her Conception to the end of Beloved Maryam’s life. But the spirit of the book is a loving tribute to Maryam/Mary, evoking the perfume of this Blessed Mother through Camille’s deep devotion and love. As a longtime lover of Sufism and now Christian Catholicism, I marvel at Camille’s capacity to consider Maryam/Mary in such depth with honor to both these rich streams of wisdom.
~ Sara K. Winter, Ph.D., Former Faculty Member, Antioch University, Los Angeles
Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski’s book The Way of Mary is a beautifully written and researched account of a holy woman of significance to the three Abrahamic religions. She artfully weaves together accounts of Mary’s life from the Christian and Islamic traditions. Having been deeply immersed in Hinduism for most of my life, I knew little about Mary. But I feel deeply the importance today of bringing to the fore accounts of the lives and teachings of the female Masters from all traditions. And so through this narrative, I was pleased to meet Mary and learn of her complete devotion to and absorption in the Divine Reality. There are many beautiful metaphors in the book but one of the most touching and relevant today is the account of Mary during the travails of childbirth reaching out to a palm tree for strength. In this mutual exchange, she revives a withered branch and it becomes fruitful, while the tree grants her the strength she needs to endure the pain of childbirth. How appropriate this metaphor is for us today, as we seek to birth a new, ecological and dharmic civilization. It is perhaps our battered nature that can give us the strength and wisdom we need for this endeavor.
~ Dena Merriam, Founder & Convener, The Global Peace Initiative of Women; author, The Untold Story of Sita
The Way of Mary, Maryam, Beloved of God is an incredible offering of holy wisdom, scholarship, poetry, art, and song that brings Beloved Mary to life as a multidimensional Woman of God. Within these pages her story seems fresh, even new. For anyone unfamiliar with Mary this book is a rich introduction. Beloved Mary’s story in the Torah, Psalms, Gospel, Quran, and other sources is interwoven to carry us on a journey from her pre-birth to after-death, thus offering a holistic view of her continuum, allowing the reader a deeper sense of the Beloved Lady, and quite possibly a deeper sense of Self in relation to this Love story.
~ Aliya Kocamis, Member, the Threshold Society
Bless our beloved companion Camille for bringing together these wondrous, deeply moving, and inspiring accounts of the Blessed Virgin as recorded by the People of the Book. Muslims regard her as the highest woman of all Creation and as an example of how to BE for men and women alike. Through her gentle and beautiful prose and poetry, Camille—who herself radiates the Marian presence—has conveyed a special guidance to us all by fleshing out our knowledge of Blessed Mary in this exquisitely illustrated and precious volume. Truly a treasure!!
~ Virginia Gray Henry, Director, Fons Vitae Publishing
Camille Helminski’s The Way of Mary is far more than an exquisitely written, profoundly researched exploration of Mary’s presence and power in the Abrahamic traditions. It is nothing less than a sustained act of adoration by a great mystic who knows the Mother from years of deep devotion. This is an indispensable book for all lovers of the divine feminine, especially those who love Mary and want to enter her subtle and ever available grace and love. Read it, treasure it, follow the stages so beautifully set out that lead you into the depth of who Mary is and who you can be if you allow yourself to be permeated, sustained and ennobled by her grace. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
~ Andrew Harvey, author of Return of the Mother and The Hope
As a Muslim long engaged in interreligious dialogue with Christians and Jews, I believe that Mary, the Jewish Mother of Jesus, venerated by the Qur’an as the most elevated amongst all women, forms a most powerful link between Islam and Christianity. I call her Hazrat Bibi Maryam, a prophet who combined perfect submission to God with love and grace for all Children of Adam. I endorse The Way of Mary, Maryam, Beloved of God with deep gratitude to Camille Helminski for this extraordinary wide-ranging narrative of devotion to Mary-Maryam which will illumine the hearts of all who will read this book.
~ Riffat Hassan, Professor Emerita University of Louisville, Founder of The Salaam Network
A brilliant, timely and important offering for humanity. Camille Hamilton Adams Helminski weaves a beautifully synthesized bridge of Love connecting multiple faith traditions with the souls of the pure of heart in loving remembrance of Divine blessed Mary. Masterfully researched and brought to life in a time when Love is needed most.
~ Lisa Ferraro, Founder and Spiritual Director of SoulCall Global