Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History

Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History

by Ann E. Kessler


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Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History by Ann E. Kessler

Acclaimed as a significant treasury of uniquely inclusive monastic history, this fast-paced book surveys a vast landscape of saints, scholars, mystics, and reformers whose impact continues to shape worldwide Christianity and monastic life. The book engages readers with a comprehensive description of the history of Benedictine monasticism from the earliest beginnings to challenges facing the present day. The story unfolds as a sweeping panorama of intrigue, controversy, and commitment across the fifteen-century development of both men's and women's communities. The chronicle's broad lens provides an inspiring vision of endurance as monks and nuns established their lasting, global presence through fifteen centuries of growth and adaptation. Often beset by overwhelming challenges from both within and outside its walls, Benedictine monasticism has shone with human magnificence at times but has been dimmed by the follies of human frailty at others. Reform movements, congregations, and spiritualities have often reshaped Benedictine life, countering seasons of pervasive decline through centuries of political instability, wars, religious censure, suppression, dissolution and societal turmoil. Filled with sometimes surprising turns of events, this lively history offers insight not only into the past, but also into how to approach the emerging future. Fifteen centuries of change, adaptation, decline, restoration, and renewal continue to disclose the extraordinary resilience of the simple but life-encompassing Rule of Benedict that unites people across the globe. This book tells the fascinating-and often surprising-story of both the noteworthy and notorious men, women, and movements that have impacted Benedictine monasticism from its origin to the 21st century. Laura Swan, O.S.B., commends the book in her Foreword to the Revised Edition: "Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History provides an excellent resource for those beginning their journey with this ancient tradition - those in formation as oblates, 'new monastics,' and traditional monastics. Seekers simply interested in some aspect of Benedictine history will find this book a useful resource."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780990449706
Publisher: Lean Scholar Initiative
Publication date: 10/27/2014
Pages: 518
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.15(d)

About the Author

Ann Kessler, O.S.B., holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Notre Dame. A member of the Order of Saint Benedict at Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, South Dakota, she has written, taught, and lectured on Benedictine history widely. The first edition of this book resulted from extensive demand for an inclusive, single volume describing the development of Christian monasticism.

Neville Ann (Nev) Kelly, D.Min., Ph.D. is an independent scholar and spiritual practitioner, having served in varied contexts as a spiritual director, an organizational founder, and as a professor of religious studies, philosophy and theology at Mount Marty College. Previously leading members of a lay, new monastic community, she and her husband continue in lifelong pursuit of wisdom deeply embedded in Christian monastic and spiritual traditions.

What People are Saying About This

Ph.D., Youngstown State University, Co-author and editor of Studium Generale: Studies - L. S. Domonkos

"This book is not only a vast treasury of Benedictine history, but is a valuable resource for scholars interested in social, intellectual, cultural and gender studies."

Former U.S. Senator - Tom Daschle

"Ann Kessler knows this centuries-old tradition well. The changing events of Benedictine history show how monasteries have left a profound imprint on Christianity and the world's development. Monastics contributed to education, health care, community welfare, agriculture, and even the ever-changing politics of governments that supported, suppressed, or dissolved their institutions.

This book's story provides a purposeful touchstone, helping all of us to remember how religious communities fare well under some governments but tragically suffer under others."

O.S.B., Best-selling author of over 50 books - Joan Chittister

"As the issues of monastic life and history only become more and more complex, Sister Ann Kessler is one of the foundational voices we need to hear. Without this wide-ranging and inclusive chronicle, the history of fifteen centuries of monasticism is left with a very valuable missing piece."

O.S.B.,Author and co-editor of Medieval Women Monastics - Linda Kulzer

"This book has been a valuable reference tool for me as a long-term monastic historian. I am not aware of any one volume that contains as much historical Benedictine background."

O.S.B., Author of How to Be a Monastic and Not Leave Your Day Job - Benet Tvedten

"An appealing and unique history of the Order of St. Benedict because it is an account of both male and female Benedictines. Ann Kessler tells the whole story and she does it very well."

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