In Benedict in the World, Linda Kulzer, O.S.B., and Roberta Bondi have gathered stories of many of the ordinary and extraordinary men and women Benedictine oblatesmembers of the Benedictine family who live in the world.
Benedict in the World begins with an introductory chapter citing some reasons for an influx of Benedictine oblates into monasteries today. It then presents in detail a collection of the lives of nineteen significant Benedictine oblates who lived from the years 973 to 2000.
Nearly half the contributors are themselves Benedictine oblates and most of the others are professed Benedictine monastics. The combined effort offers support and inspiration to those who have loved their oblate journey and brings to light the lives of these outstanding lay monastics. Among the more well-known oblates included are Dorothy Day, Patrick and Patricia Crowley, Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Walker Percy, H. R. Reinhold, and Elena Cornaro.
Chapters are "Foreword: On Being a Benedictine Oblate," by Roberta Bondi; Introduction, by Linda Kulzer, OSB, Monasticism Beyond the Walls, by Linda Kulzer, OSB, Carolyn Attneave: Catcher of the Light, by Paschal A. Morlino, OSB; Oblate and Heroine: Elena Lucrezia Scholastica Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684), by Ann Kessler, OSB; Patrick Crowley: Oblate of St. Benedict, by Patty Crowley; Faith in Action: The Lives of Patrick and Patricia Crowley, by Margaret Colleton; Evelyn Davie's Dream Deferred, by Mary Ruth Coffman, OSB; Prayer and Work in the Light of Dorothy Day, by Rita (McClain) Tybor; Eric Dean: Presbyterian Pilgrim, by Phyllis K. Thompson; Believing Is Seeing: Frances of Rome, Patron of Benedictine Oblates, by Susan Anderson Kerr; Rumer Godden: Oblate Novelist, by Catherine Wybourne, OSB; Edith Gurian, Oblate Peter, by Mary Anthony Wagner, OSB; Henry II: Monk-King, by Hugh Feiss, OSB; On the Road to Emmaus: The Spiritual Journey of Joris-Karl Huysmans, by George C. Tunstall; Emerson Hynes: A Vocation to Conversation, by Owen Lindblad, OSB; St. Benedict and the Maritains, by Lucie R. Johnson, OBLSB; Walker Percy: The End of His Beginning, by Edward J. Dupuy; Faithful to the Very End: Oliver Plunkett, Irish Martyr and Archbishop, by Jem Sullivan; Denys Prideaux: The Oblate Abbot, by Charles Preble; H. A. Reinhold: Architect of the Liturgical Movement in America, by Julia Upton, RSM; and Rita Sorgs Life of Joyful Hope: Remembering the Transfiguration on Tabor, by Donald Raila, OSB
Linda Kulzer, OSB, PhD, is co-editor of Medieval Women Monastics: Wisdoms Wellsprings and Purity of Heart in Early Ascetic and Monastic Literature: Essays in Honor of Juana Raasch, OSB, published by The Liturgical Press.
Roberta Bondi, DPhil., is a Professor of Church History at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and the author of nine books in the area of spirituality.
What a timely idea for a book! The oblate movement is booming, but the very concept of oblate is not so clear. This collection of short biographies goes a long way toward answering that question."
Terrence Kardong, OSB, Editor, The American Benedictine Review
St. Benedict's little rule for beginners is not just for people who live in monasteries. These nineteen men and women found in Rule of Benedict, and in their association with monastic communities that profess to live by it, a sure path to holiness as laypeople. And what a diverse and fascinating group of people they are! German king, French novelist, American Indian psychologist, African American teacher . . . all walking together in their common and continuing quest for God.
Abbot John Klassen, OSB, Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota
The lives portrayed in these pages reveal the inclusiveness of Benedictinism. These are people who followed the Rule of St. Benedict; not one of whom dwelt in a monastery; nor were all of them Roman Catholic. Look at the Table of Contents and be amazed. This is indeed a memorable book.
Benet Tvedten, OSB
This book presents a kaleidoscope of nineteen colorful personalities from the 10th to the 20th century who have only one thing in common--they are all Oblates of St. Benedict. The real life stories of such diverse persons as King Henry II, Saint Frances of Rome, Dorothy Day, Raissa and Jacques Maritain, Walker Percy, and many more, are entertaining and inspiring. The stories focus not so much on their accomplishments as on their search for God, for spirituality, and for a community that would support their Christian faith.
Ruth Fox, OSB, Retreat Director, Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, North Dakota
Ours is a moment in the history of religious life when we are witnessing a burgeoning interest in associations with religious communities that are alternatives to the norm of canonically vowed membership. This book celebrates the existence of an alternative association that has existed within Benedictine monasticism for approximately ten centuries.
Ephrem Hollermann, OSB, Prioress, Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph. Minnesota
. . . will inspire oblates and professed monastics with the life stories of these deceased and dedicated oblates. These Benedictine children lived out Gospel values and the spirit of the Rule in the world. Readers will identify with them because of the common threads of followers of St. Benedictseeking God within daily life, love of prayer, work, hospitality, and an appreciation of friendship with the professed monastics of a particular monastery. The stories are short, perceptive, and well-supported by broad and interesting resources.
Meinrad Brune, OSB, Director of Benedictine Oblates, Saint Meinrad Archabbey
Kulzer and Bondi have written a fascinating book highlighting some little known aspects of our Catholic heritage viewed from a particular perspective of Benedict's influence. This is a very interesting cast of characters from the drama of our church history. The book is recommended for parish libraries and those interested in church history.
Catholic Library World
. . . this book provides a service to all monastics, professed and lay alike.
American Benedictine Review
The book achieves its goal of providing role models for modern individuals who are or who are considering becoming Benedictine oblates themselves. For readers who do not fall into one of those two categories, the collection provides an intriguing view of religious men and women living committed Christian lives. Their lives are meant to inspire others, and they do that quite well.