The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders: Thirty of America's Oldest Monks and Nuns Share Their Lives' Greatest Lessons

The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders: Thirty of America's Oldest Monks and Nuns Share Their Lives' Greatest Lessons

by Mark W. McGinnis
     
 

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Thirty elders of the Benedictine Order, all born between 1901 and 1925 and at home in thirty monasteries and convents across the country, share their touching and thought-provoking life stories—the everyday rhythm and ritual of prayer and work, solitude and community, sanctity and humor; the most challenging moments of questioning, uncertainty, and tribulation

Overview

Thirty elders of the Benedictine Order, all born between 1901 and 1925 and at home in thirty monasteries and convents across the country, share their touching and thought-provoking life stories—the everyday rhythm and ritual of prayer and work, solitude and community, sanctity and humor; the most challenging moments of questioning, uncertainty, and tribulation; and moments of infinite inner peace and mystical joy.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a wonderfully nourishing book full of honest and inspired insights. It gathers the essence of Benedictine life, chronicled by those who have lived it and who know it best. Readers will find warmth, clarity, and a spark of the divine in these lives." —Katharine Le Mée, author, Chant and The Benedictine Gift to Music

Publishers Weekly
As Joan Chittister suggests in the powerful foreword to this book, our postmodern culture does not listen closely enough to what elderly people have to say. Yet what wisdom abounds in their experiences, argues writer and artist McGinnis in this collection of conversations with 30 elders of the Benedictine Order, all born between 1901 and 1925. McGinnis succeeds at capturing the sagacity these religious have acquired in their cloistered world of prayer and work. Although some of the testimonies don't translate into lucid prose, the lives of these monks and nuns provide a fascinating view into a different age, one less encumbered by e-mail, instant messaging and cell phones. Despite the sometimes awkward writing and poor syntax, the stories keep the reader engaged, especially when the elders discuss the spiritual significance of The Rule of Benedict, a timeless document from the sixth century C.E., or concentrate on a specific teaching of Benedict of Nursia, like the importance of hospitality. The stronger accounts require less effort to decode a lesson, like Fr. Stanislaus Maudlin's tale about saying yes to God, but all of them tell intriguing tales of personal joys, regrets and hopes. McGinnis complements the stories with detailed descriptions of the abbeys and monasteries and vivid portraits of the elders. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780974240534
Publisher:
BlueBridge
Publication date:
04/01/2005
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
918,239
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.78(d)

What People are saying about this

Katharine Le Mée
"This is a wonderfully nourishing book full of honest and inspired insights. It gathers the essence of Benedictine life, chronicled by those who have lived it and who know it best. Readers will find warmth, clarity, and a spark of the divine in these lives."
author, The Benedictine Gift to Music
Esther De Waal
"Here is a portrait gallery of thirty men and women as they look back over long and varied lives-lives shaped by the Rule of St. Benedict. They speak of what that means with a clarity and an insight which will delight readers and at the same time encourage and inspire."
author, Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
Laura Swan
"This book is a tool for our lectio in pondering what our elders would have us hear. It is a gift from heart to heart."
author, The Forgotten Desert Mothers
Brother Benet Tvedten
"This is a beautiful book. Anyone who gazes upon the faces of these women and men and reads their stories will appreciate the wisdom that is imparted by elders who never strayed from the path prepared by St. Benedict."
author, The View from a Monastery
Katharine Le Mee
This is a wonderfully nourishing book full of honest and inspired insights. It gathers the essence of Benedictine life, chronicled by those who have lived it and who know it best. Readers will find warmth, clarity, and a spark of the divine in these lives.
James Finley
"Here is a rare opportunity to sit in the presence of thirty Benedictine elders, as each tells the story of their life in the monastery. The wisdom passed on to us is a call to learn to be the awake, compassionate human being that God calls each of us to be."
author, Christian Meditation

Meet the Author


Mark W. McGinnis is an artist and professor of art at Northern State University, South Dakota, who has had numerous solo and group art exhibitions across the United States. He is a lay member of the Benedictine Blue Cloud Abbey and lives in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Joan Chittister is the author of In the Heart of the Temple; Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope; and Wisdom Distilled from the Daily. She is the executive director of Benetvision, a resource and research center for contemporary spirituality. She lives in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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