Brother Toby’s Writings

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Tolbert McCarroll, better known as “Brother Toby,” has lived by Meister Eckhart’s adage that what a person acquires by contemplation should be spent in compassion. He is a highly respected spiritual guide for people on many paths and journeys.

An award-winning author of 10 books, including, A Winter Walk, Notes From the Song of Life, Childsong, Monksong, and Seasons. Brother Toby also writes a weekly Friday Reflection for a growing list of readers on many life paths. His new work is Stepping Stones: Daily Reflections By An Unconventional Monk.

Brother Toby, together with his colleagues Sister Marti Aggeler and Sister Julie DeRossi, founded the ecumenical Starcross Monastic Community. A former attorney for humanitarian causes, he has for 50 years ventured forth in response to children and others in need.

The adoptive father of several children, he established homes for children oppressed by the AIDS pandemic in California, Romania, and Uganda.

At Starcross, he writes daily. In recent years he has had a special concern for the spiritually wounded and those at spiritual crossroads in their lives. At 85, he is increasingly looking for God in the ordinary moments of life. Despite occasional medical challenges, he takes great delight in his children, David and Holly, his grandson, Damien, nature, a cup of tea, music, his greenhouse, the olive groves, and his cat, Tigger.


“A kindred spirit”
Bill Moyers, PBS

“A uniquely moving account of a spiritual quest into the heart of darkness. Brother Toby refuses to simplify the difficulty of doing good in a fallen world. He teaches us all how to look through the broken window at the stars. A profoundly inspiring journey.”
Paul Monette, author of On Becoming a Man

“An extraordinary story of courage and love.”
Isabel Allende, author of The House of the Spirits

“A moving spiritual journey of a man with courage and creativity which leads to new forms of spiritual life and social involvement.”
Hans Kung, author of Christianity: Essence and History

“. . .a deeply beautiful book.”
Madeleine L’Engle, author of The Crosswicks Journal

“I read this book, and I found I had new hope again.”
Randy Shilts, author of And the Bank Played On

” It is a story full of passion – passion that saves many lives and passion that cries out against the indifference and callousness in church and society.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen, author of The Wounded Healer

“An invitation to remake your world from the inside out.”
National Public Radio

“This is an important and magnificent book! It is clear, direct, psychologically and intellectually sound and very practical.”
Morton T. Kelsey, author of The Other Side of Silence

“Both tough and comforting. It challenges and assures at the same time.”
Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York

“A book rich in honesty, insight and compassion … that can make our hearts more tender, more discerning and more capacious.”
Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation