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From the Tools of Good Works to the Heart of Humility

A Commentary on Chapters 4-7 of Benedict's Rule

Aquinata Böckmann, OSB; Translated by Marianne Burkhard, OSB, and Andrea Westkamp, OSB; Edited by Marianne Burkhard, OSB

In a new volume of her exegetical commentary, Sr. Aquinata Böckmann explores chapters 4-7 of the Rule of St. Benedict. They contain Benedict's instruction of how to learn and live the spiritual art of monastic life that is focused on Christ. In her close reading of the text and its sources she pursues questions such as the following: How do general Christian rules help us to live in community? How does obedience lead us closer to Christ? How does silence build community? How does humility deepen our love for Christ and those around us? Never losing sight of the reality of monastic life, Sr. Aquinata weaves together Benedict's wisdom and today's challenges to show the crucial spiritual elements of his Rule.Aquinata Böckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant' Anselmo. She is the author of Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Around the Monastic Table, and A Listening Community, all published by Liturgical Press.

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A Saint in the Sun

Praising Saint Bernard in the France of Louis XIV

David N. Bell

This volume contains translations or summaries of the most important panegyrics in praise of Saint Bernard that were preached during the reign of Louis XIV. Some of the preachers were and are regarded as the greatest orators ever to grace the French pulpit. All the translations are extensively annotated, and there are three introductory chapters providing a necessary background for appreciating the sermons. Sixteen preachers are represented, and, with one exception, none of the material has ever appeared in English. For those interested in the afterlife of Saint Bernard, as he was used, and sometimes abused, in the reign of the Sun King, this collection provides essential primary sources.David N. Bell is professor emeritus of religious studies at Memorial University and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He retired as head of the Department of Religious Studies at the end of 2011. He has published some two dozen books, more than a hundred articles, and a great number of book reviews. His most recent book, published May 2014, is The Library of the Abbey of La Trappe: A Study of its History from the Twelfth Century to the French Revolution (Brepols).

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The Rule of Benedict

An Invitation to the Christian Life

Georg Holzherr, OSB; Translated by Mark Thamert, OSB

In his introduction to this commentary on the Rule of Benedict, Abbot Georg Holzherr offers this analogy: "The Rule is comparable to an old heavy red wine that is enjoyed in small sips. . . . Head and heart, soul and mind should taste the words of the Rule, just as the eye enjoys the color of the wine while tongue, nose, and mouth take in the delightful gift of God each in their own way." In this new translation, based on the completely revised seventh edition of Die Benediktsregel, Holzherr has created a profoundly rich commentary using up-to-date research methods and the latest translations of ancient monastic texts. At the same time, this commentary is meant not only for experts in the field of ancient monasticism but also for all lay and monastic readers interested in delving into the teachings and spirituality of Saint Benedict and his spiritual predecessors in the East and in the West.This edition also features a completely revised and expanded introduction and commentary. New research in the field of early monasticism is offered, including new insights into the monastic life of women. Finally, the updated bibliography and a detailed index are valuable tools for anyone wanting to explore the extraordinary world of Saint Benedict.Georg Holzherr, OSB, entered monastic life at the Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland in 1949. Upon completing studies in Einsiedeln and Rome, he received the Dr. jur. can. and began teaching at the Theologische Schule Einsiedeln in 1957. He was elected abbot of Einsiedeln Abbey in 1969. Holzherr is recognized as one of today's leading experts on the Rule of Saint Benedict and its sources, spirituality, and applicability to everyday life.Mark Thamert, OSB, was a monk of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. Since receiving his PhD in Germanic languages and literatures from Princeton University in 1985, Thamert taught all levels of German in the Language and Cultures Department at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. Fr. Mark died at the age of 66 in April, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer.

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Wisdom: The Good Life

Wisdom Literature and the Rule of Benedict

Irene Nowell; Foreword by Abbot John Klassen, OSB

We all want to live well, but how can we put that desire into action? With thoughtful reflection on the biblical wisdom writers and the Rule of Benedict, Irene Nowell shows us how we too can live the good life. Each chapter includes reflection questions and meditative prayers, guiding us on a renewed journey toward wisdom and encouraging us to embody this wisdom more in our daily lives.Irene Nowell, OSB, is a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, where she has lived for almost sixty years. An accomplished theologian and biblical scholar, Nowell is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the author of Numbers (of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary); Sing a New Song: The Psalms in the Sunday Lectionary; Women in the Old Testament; and Pleading, Cursing, Praising; all published by Liturgical Press. She is also a member of the editorial board of Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press).

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The Cistercian Fathers and Their Monastic Theology

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 8

Thomas Merton, Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

These conferences, presented by Thomas Merton to the novices at the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1963-1964, focus mainly on the life and writings of his great Cistercian predecessor, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). Guiding his students through Bernard's Marian sermons, his treatise On the Love of God, his controversy with Peter Abelard, and above all his great series of sermons on the Song of Songs, Merton reveals why Bernard was the major religious and cultural figure in Europe during the first half of the twelfth century and why he has remained one of the most influential spiritual theologians of Western Christianity from his own day until the present. As James Finley writes in his preface to this volume, "Merton is teaching us in these notes how to be grateful and amazed that the ancient wisdom that shimmers and shines in the eloquent and beautiful things that mystics say is now flowing in our sincere desire to learn from God how to find our way to God."Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity. The one hundredth anniversary of his birth was celebrated in 2015.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and he is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited seven previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians (2015), and he is also editor of Merton's Selected Essays (2013) and Early Essays: 1947-1952 (2015).

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The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux

William of Saint-Thierry, Arnold of Bonneval, and Geoffrey of Auxerre; Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Hilary Costello, OCSO

The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux, traditionally known as the Vita Prima, originated to prepare the case for canonization of Bernard, first abbot of Clairvaux. The work was begun by William of Saint-Thierry, continued by Arnold of Bonneval, and completed by Geoffrey of Auxerre.When the initial case put forth for Bernard was rejected by Innocent II, Geoffrey undertook a revision of the original vita (Recension A) and submitted another version (Recension B) to Pope Alexander III, who declared Bernard a saint in 1174. This work emphasizes the deep love in which Bernard was held during his life by his monks and the people of France and Italy as well as his role as a powerful public figure.This book contains the first English translation of Recension B, drawn from what is apparently the only manuscript of the work found today in a Cistercian monastery, Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. The introduction begins with the story of how this manuscript came to Mount Saint Bernard, so fixing this translation of the Vita Prima within Cistercian life from the twelfth century to today.Fr. Hilary Costello, OCSO, was born in London in 1926. During World War II he was conscripted into the coal mines, where he worked from 1943 to 1947. Although he had not considered a monastic vocation until he was nearly twenty, in 1947 he entered Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, in Leicestershire. For fourteen years he worked in the abbey's orchard, after which he was guest master for the abbey. After being ordained in 1955, he began to work on medieval manuscripts, especially the sermons of John of Forde, which he and Fr. Edmund Mikkers, ocso, edited for Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis (vols. 17 and 18). He has also published articles on John, Gilbert of Hoyland, and other Cistercian authors. Fr. Hilary was also the bursar of Mount Saint Bernard for almost twenty years. He currently does bookbinding for the abbey.

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Monastic Sermons

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Daniel Griggs; Introduction by Michael Casey, OSCO

Saint Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon, France. He joined the fifteen-year-old monastery of Cîteaux in 1113. In 1115 he became the founding abbot ofClairvaux Abbey, whence his name, Bernard of Clairvaux. Saint Bernard was a gifted and prolific writer of theological treatises, scriptural commentaries, letters, and many sermons. The sermons in the collection published here, styled Sermones de diversis (sermons about various topics), lack the specific point of departure that characterizes his other sermons. That is, whereas the sermons on the Song of Songs are a verse-by-verse commentary on that biblical book and his Sermons for the Year follow the liturgical calendar, this collection of sermons deals with his various pastoral concerns. Since Scripture is always Bernard's point of departure and inspiration, the sermons often read like a Scripture study, but what comes through equally is the voice of an understanding spiritual father who is a masterful student of Scripture, biblical language, and the needs of his monks.Daniel Griggs has an MA in medieval studies and a PhD in Byzantine theology, both from the University of Leeds. He teaches Latin at Butte College near Chico, California, and translates medieval texts from Greek and Latin. He is currently translating Aelred of Rievaulx's sermons from the Reading collection, from Gaetano Raciti's critical edition in Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 2C.

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The Honey of Souls

Cassiodorus and the Interpretation of the Psalms in the Early Medieval West

Derek Olsen

The Honey of Souls is the first full-length study of the Explanation of the Psalms by Cassiodorus. While the Explanation became a seminal document for the monastic movement in the West and was eagerly read and widely quoted for centuries, it has languished in relative obscurity in the modern period. Derek Olsen explores Cassiodorus and his strategies for reading as a window into a spirituality of the psalms that defined early Western biblical interpretation.Derek A. Olsen earned a PhD in New Testament from Emory University in 2011. His research focuses on the intersection between Scripture and liturgy, and he currently serves on the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. He is also the author of Reading Matthew with Monks (Liturgical Press, 2015).

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In the School of Contemplation

In the School of Contemplation

André Louf

Dom André Louf (+2010) was abbot of the Trappist-Cistercian monastery of Mont-des-Cats in northern France from 1963 to 1997. This book brings together talks given to a variety of audiences in which he shared his spiritual experience from both his life of prayer and his life in community.Each chapter offers inspiring insights on the spiritual experience, the priority of love, and other areas of our Christian life: community life, obedience, prayer, psalms, the liturgy, and more.In this book we enter "a school of contemplation" wherein the monastic experience enlightens our lives and service to the world and the Church.André Louf, OCSO, served as abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Mont-des-Cats for thirty-five years until his retirement in 1997. His previous books in English include The Cistercian Way, Tuning in to Grace, Mercy in Weakness, Grace Can Do More, and The Way of Humility, all published by Cistercian Publications.

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Christian Monks on Chinese Soil

Christian Monks on Chinese Soil

A History of Monastic Missions to China

Matteo Nicolini-Zani, Translated by Sophia Senyk and William Skudlarek, OSB

The contribution of monks to the evangelization of lands not yet reached by the preaching of the Gospel has certainly been remarkable. The specific witness that the monastic community gives is of a radical Christian life naturally radiating outward, and thus it is implicitly missionary. The process of inculturation of Christian monasticism in China required a bold spiritual attitude of openness to the future and a willingness to accept the transformation of monastic forms that had been received. In Christian Monks on Chinese Soil, Matteo Nicolini-Zani highlights the willingness of foreign monks to encounter the cultural and spiritual realities of China and the degree of acceptance by the Chinese of the form of monastic life that was presented to them by the missionaries.Matteo Nicolini-Zani is a monk of the Community of Bose (Italy) and coordinator of the Italian Commission of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Chinese Language and Literature. His main interest of research is the history of Christianity in China, a topic upon which he has published several articles and books.

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In the School of Contemplation

André Louf

Dom André Louf (+2010) was abbot of the Trappist-Cistercian monastery of Mont-des-Cats in northern France from 1963 to 1997. This book brings together talks given to a variety of audiences in which he shared his spiritual experience from both his life of prayer and his life in community.Each chapter offers inspiring insights on the spiritual experience, the priority of love, and other areas of our Christian life: community life, obedience, prayer, psalms, the liturgy, and more.In this book we enter "a school of contemplation" wherein the monastic experience enlightens our lives and service to the world and the Church.André Louf, OCSO, served as abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Mont-des-Cats for thirty-five years until his retirement in 1997. His previous books in English include The Cistercian Way, Tuning in to Grace, Mercy in Weakness, Grace Can Do More, and The Way of Humility, all published by Cistercian Publications.

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Unity of Spirit

Studies on William Of Saint-Thierry in Honor of E. Rozanne Elder

Edited by F. Tyler Sergent, Aage Rydstrøm-Poulsen, and Marsha L. DuttonForeword by Bernard McGinn; Afterword by John R. Sommerfeldt

William of Saint-Thierry (ca. 1080–1148) became abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Thierry in about 1119, holding that office for about sixteen years and writing a large number of works, some for the guidance of the monks of his abbey and others as theological treatises. But during that same time, after meeting Bernard, abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux, he longed to become a Cistercian. He finally satisfied that dream in 1135, when he became a monk at Signy. His final work was the first of the five books that constitute the Vita Prima Sancti Bernardi.The nine chapters in this book explore William's thought as represented in his twenty works, ranging from his earliest theological writing through his contribution to the Vita Prima Sancti Bernardi. The contributors to this volume have moved scholarship on William in new directions, ranging from a comparative analysis of Bernard's and William's thought through a study of William's Christology, an analysis of individual works, a new translation of one of William's little-known works, an examination of sixteenth-century images drawn from the Vita Prima, a study of William's rhetorical skills, and a recognition of William's new take on the phrase unitas spiritus. Dr. E. Rozanne Elder's expertise as a scholar of the works of William of Saint-Thierry, combined with her decades of distinguished service as a professor of history, director of the Institute of Cistercian Studies and then of the Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies, all at Western Michigan University, and as editorial director of Cistercian Publications for thirty-five years, has made her the best known of Cistercian scholars today. She is the one primarily responsible for moving Cistercian studies into the mainstream of medieval history and thought. As the gracious and indefatigable host of the annual Conference of Cistercian Studies that takes place each May as part of the International Medieval Studies Congress, she has created a community of scholars and friends.

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Aelred the Peacemaker

The Public Life of a Cistercian Abbot

Jean Truax

In addition to being a prolific spiritual writer and the abbot of the premier Cistercian monastery in northern England, Aelred of Rievaulx somehow found the time and the stamina to travel extensively throughout the Anglo-Norman realm, acting as a mediator, a problem solver, and an adviser to kings. His career spanned the troubled years of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda and reached its zenith during the early years of the reign of Henry II. This work focuses on Aelred's public career as revealed in his own historical writing as well as in chronicle references and other documents. This aspect of his life has been previously neglected because his personal letters have been lost and his biographer, Walter Daniel, concentrated on his life within the monastery. Jean Truax obtained her PhD in medieval history from the University of Houston in 1995 while working in the IT department of an oil service company. Now that she has retired from the business world she is an independent scholar and the author of a study of three twelfth-century archbishops of Canterbury: Ralph d'Escures, William of Corbeil and Theobald of Bec: Heirs of Anselm and Ancestors of Becket. She comes to her interest in Aelred of Rievaulx and the Cistercians because of the welcome extended to her at the Cistercian and Monastic Studies Conference, which meets every year in conjunction with the International Congress on Medieval Studies held at the University of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

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Saint Columban

Saint Columban

His Life, Rule, and Legacy

Terrence G. Kardong, OSB

Saint Columban: His Life, Rule, and Legacy contains a new English translation of a commentary on the entire Rule of Columban. Columban was a sixth-century Irish monk who compiled a written rule of life for the three monasteries he founded in France: Anegray, Luxeuil, and Fontaines. This volume also includes the first English translation of the Regula cuiusdam Patris ad Virgines, or the Rule of Walbert, compiled by the seventh-century Count Walbert from various earlier rules designed for women, including those of Columban, Benedict, Cassian, and Basil. This book begins with an extensive introduction to the history of Columban and his monks, as well as various indices and notes, which will be of interest to students and enthusiasts of monastic studies.Terrence G. Kardong, OSB, is a monk of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota. He has been editor of The American Benedictine Review since 1982 and has written many books and articles, including Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary and Benedict Backwards, both published by Liturgical Press.

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Aelred the Peacemaker

Aelred the Peacemaker

The Public Life of a Cistercian Abbot

Jean Truax

In addition to being a prolific spiritual writer and the abbot of the premier Cistercian monastery in northern England, Aelred of Rievaulx somehow found the time and the stamina to travel extensively throughout the Anglo-Norman realm, acting as a mediator, a problem solver, and an adviser to kings. His career spanned the troubled years of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda and reached its zenith during the early years of the reign of Henry II. This work focuses on Aelred's public career as revealed in his own historical writing as well as in chronicle references and other documents. This aspect of his life has been previously neglected because his personal letters have been lost and his biographer, Walter Daniel, concentrated on his life within the monastery. Jean Truax obtained her PhD in medieval history from the University of Houston in 1995 while working in the IT department of an oil service company. Now that she has retired from the business world she is an independent scholar and the author of a study of three twelfth-century archbishops of Canterbury: Ralph d'Escures, William of Corbeil and Theobald of Bec: Heirs of Anselm and Ancestors of Becket. She comes to her interest in Aelred of Rievaulx and the Cistercians because of the welcome extended to her at the Cistercian and Monastic Studies Conference, which meets every year in conjunction with the International Congress on Medieval Studies held at the University of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

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