Anatomy of Survival:
Steps on a personal journey towards healing
Mowbray, London, 2001, £9.99
(price at publication of review)
Reviewed May 2002; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2002
Una Kroll, after a life-long varied practice of medicine and Christian ministry, examines the structures needed for the journey from disaster through survival and growth towards healing. She does this through the acutely reflective use of individual story, mostly her own multi-faceted life, but also her husbandís, and those of certain others whom she has known professionally. She indicates that like human anatomy, experiences of survival while being individual have broadly common characteristics. However her discussions of bereavement and of varying responses to crises in personal relationships reflect her sensitive positive acknowledgement of individual difference.
Kroll explores varied experiences of disaster and survival. There is life-threatening physical danger, war, abuse in childhood, recurring vocational crises, the vicissitudes of professional and family life, and of her campaigning work in church and society. Bereavement precipitated her deepest disaster. Kroll is insightful, honest and unsentimental in describing behaviour and motivation during this long period of confusion and dislocation. A prominent supporter of the ordination of women, and ordained priest in Wales in 1997, she was unclear about her own vocation for many years, a confusion she attributes partly to her survival mechanisms. Interestingly her memory of public events also appears somewhat clouded at this point, as she places the first ordination of women as priests in the Church of England in 1993 instead of 1994!
The authorís purpose is to help others struggling with various disasters to discover new meaning in their own lives and to grow into something of their own transformation. While fully acknowledging her life-long commitment to and nurturing in the Christian faith, Kroll also explores the concepts of faith and resurrection or transformation more broadly in terms of human experience. Her book is a valuable resource for understanding ourselves and others.
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