"Virgin Time is a book that goes to the heart of one of the most profound yet least discussed issues of contemporary American life: the individual's search for faith. It is "a passionate inquiry," as Patricia Hampl puts it, "into the sources of wonder that cause a person to say, 'I believe.'"" "Hampl's book begins as a grudging quest - not to find something, but to shake the indelible brand of a Catholic upbringing. In her search, she travels to the "old world" of Catholicism, in Italy and France, and inevitably her pilgrimage is peopled with other pilgrims - crotchety English agnostics, American Franciscan friars and nuns, the surging crowds of Lourdes with their candles and incurable illnesses, and the eccentric seekers that fill every charter flight. Inevitably, too, she finds the "old world" right at home, in the very past she had tried to escape. Finally, on a visit to a monastery near the Lost Coast of Northern California, she is able to settle into the real goal of her search: the silence of prayer." "Virgin Time meets head-on the challenges to spirituality raised by contemporary life and responds to them searchingly, honestly, and movingly. Patricia Hampl's new book has unforgettable resonating power."--BOOK JACKET.