Mother Benedict: Foundress of the Abbey of Regina Laudis


This is the inspiring story of Mother Benedict Duss and the famous Benedictine monastery she founded in Bethlehem, Connecticut, the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a large flourishing community of contemplative Benedictine nuns.

The Abbey is home to many accomplished women from all walks of life and fields of study. Perhaps the most famous is former Hollywood film star, Dolores ...
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This is the inspiring story of Mother Benedict Duss and the famous Benedictine monastery she founded in Bethlehem, Connecticut, the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a large flourishing community of contemplative Benedictine nuns.

The Abbey is home to many accomplished women from all walks of life and fields of study. Perhaps the most famous is former Hollywood film star, Dolores Hart, who shocked the film world when she left a successful movie career at the age of 25 to become a contemplative Benedictine.

The heart of this book is the amazing story of Mother Benedict Duss, who was born in America but went to France and became a medical doctor in Paris, but left that profession to become a Benedictine contemplative. Through the liberating efforts from Hitler's Nazi regime by Patton's army in France, she felt an overwhelming interior call to return to America to found the first community of contemplative Benedictine nuns. At the young age of 35, with incredible faith, courage and the help of Popes, politicians, famous writers, and many others, she persevered in her call.
Lavishly illustrated with photos.
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What People Are Saying

Dennis W. Heaney
"Antoinette Bosco has done it again! In this book she uses her outstanding talents to tell the remarkable story of Mother Benedict, Sorbonne educated medical doctor who founded the Abbey Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, CT. However, this isn't just "another autobiography", it is a terrific reporter's look at a special community of nuns who are contemporary but true to the centuries old Rule of St. Benedict in their vocation. And we find some great vocation stories along the way - the once Hollywood star turned coffin maker or the former state legislator. Mother Benedict is filled with faith, hope and love!"--(Dennis W. Heaney, President The Christophers)
John Catoir
"If you are looking for a good read, a spiritual banquet of delight, look no further. Antoinette Bosco, using her magical writing skills, has served up a series of stories about women who have interacted with God in mysterious ways. Following in the footsteps of their foundress, who was played by Loretta Young in the movie, Come To the Stable, these exquisite women reveal the true meaning of holiness in today's world. A must read for anyone trying to understand how God calls us to loving service, without taking our freedom away."--(Father John Catoir)
Tim S. Hickey
"In Mother Benedict, Antoinette Bosco gives the reader a powerful profile of a pioneering Benedictine nun whose devotion to God and to her vocation is evident on every page. The chapters on her escape from the Nazis and her encounters with the men who would become Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI provide fascinating glimpses into her strength of character and her single-minded dedication to serve God at every turn. Mother Benedict spans the arc of the Church's life from the early 20th century, through World War II, and into the post-Vatican II years to today."--(Tim S.Hickey, Editor-Columbia Magazine/Knights of Columbus)
Ronda Chervin
"How we wish all nuns after Vatican II would have traditional virtues and perennial Catholic wisdom but also be wise, creative, and free spirited. If you are such a reader you will want to read Mother Benedict: Foundress of Regina Laudis to see how these virtues grew amidst the struggles of World War II and how they followed her into the difficult vocation of founding a contemplative Benedictine monastery for women. Antoinette Bosco's account is fast-moving and inspiring."--(Ronda Chervin, Ph.D. professor of philosophy, Catholic writer and speaker)
David Gibson
"Antoinette Bosco has told me many times of her visits to Regina Laudis -- of the friendships and inspiring atmosphere she found there. This book surely was a labor of love! She writes, 'At Regina Laudis I have experienced a joy not often found in this world.' This biography of the abbey's foundress naturally becomes a history of the abbey itself. Of course, key issues in contemporary religious life are not avoided. Readers particularly will enjoy the compelling story of Mother Duss' life as a young nun in occupied France and of the major figures of modern church history she encountered as the road to America unfolded for her."--(David Gibson, editor of Origins, CNS Documentary Service)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586174118
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009

Meet the Author

Antoinette Bosco has been an award-winning journalist and writer for newspapers and magazines for over 25 years, including Woman's Day, Parade, Guideposts, Readers Digest and Ladies Home Journal. She has appeared on over 20 television shows and is the author of 14 books, including America At War: World War I, and Choosing Mercy: A Mother of Murder Victims Pleads to End the Death Penalty.
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Table of Contents

Foreword   Mother Dolores Hart, Prioress, O.S.B.     ix
Preface     1
Prologue     11
The Early Years in America     27
Singular Relations
Early Memories
Strain between Her Parents
Childhood and Youth in France     43
Girlhood in Paris
War Breaks Out
A Troubled Family
Her Surprising Decision to Study Medicine
Vocations     61
Medical School in Paris
Entering the Benedictine Abbey at Jouarre
Friends and Enemies     77
Enter Mother Mary Aline
Life at Jouarre
World War II Begins, 1939
The Chaos of the Early War Days
Return to Jouarre
German Occupation     103
Life at Jouarre under German Occupation
Village Doctor
Mother and Daughter
Opening a School
Facing Danger as an American in War-Torn France     113
In Hiding
Visiting Paris...and the Gestapo
The Doctor Falls Ill
God Calls for a New Monastery in America     135
A Time of Torment
Liberation of Jouarre, August 27, 1944
The Decision to Return to America
Garnering Support to Found a Benedictine Monastery
Rome     157
Abbot Langdon
The Rome Experience
Meeting the Pope
The Support of Monsignor Montini
Getting Started in America     177
The Jouarre Response
The Voyage to America
Journey to Bethlehem
Gaining Support
The Connecticut Bishop Reluctantly Welcomes the Nuns
Building aCloister     207
The First Women to Hear the Call
The Movie Come to the Stable
The Completion of the Monastic Enclosure, 1948
The Nuns' Life in the Fifties     224
Additions to the Monastery
A New Chaplain
Developing Talents and Attracting Visitors
Changes in the Sixties     255
The Upheaval of the Sixties
The Arrival of Father Prokes
Pope Paul VI Supports Mother Benedict
The Golden Years     298
After the 60s
The First Lay Communities
The Monastery Becomes an Abbey
Mother Benedict Is Named Lady Abbess
Growth and Difficulties     326
Seeds of Trouble as the Abbey Flourishes
The New Buildings on the Hill
Questions from Rome
An Abbey Church at Last
Final Years     352
Father Prokes Reassigned
The Future as Seen by the Foundress
A New Abbess Is Installed
Mother Benedict Dies at Ninety-four
Reflections of Lady Abbess Benedict Duss, O.S.B.     363
Consecrated Virginity
De Profundis
Mother Benedict's Family     372
Notes     375
Index     395
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