In Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of the BBC television series The Monastery, suggests the teachings of St. Benedict are a tool for everyday life—for those who are religious and for those simply searching for spiritual guidance.
The Monastery involved five non-monks living the monastic life for forty days while TV cameras tracked their progress. The sight of monks responding thoughtfully and helpfully to ordinary people’s struggles was a surprise to millions of viewers who had presumed that monks were "out of touch."
St. Benedict wrote his Rule for monastic living 1,500 years ago when he was abbot of Monte Cassino, the monastery that sits atop an inspiring mountain to the East of Rome. The name, "The Rule of St. Benedict," often misleads people into thinking that Benedict wrote "a book of rules." In fact, he wrote insights for Christian living, with practical suggestions for daily practice. The insights still guide people today and many of the rules have been adapted to local conditions as Benedict requested.
In every generation monastics integrate modern realities and the wisdom of the Rule in a new fusion. That fusion is the spiritual energy enabling monasteries to be places of sanctuary today as they have been for centuries. And that sanctuary can be recreated in the hearts of people of good will. This book explains how St. Benedict’s wisdom can be applied to busy modern lives, and how sanctuary, peace, and insight can be achieved by people living inside and outside of monasteries.
Christopher Jamison is abbot of Worth Abbey, a Benedictine monastery near London. He is also president of the International Commission on Benedictine Education and sits on the Council of the Alliance for International Monasticism, a body that promotes links between monasteries across the North/South divide. He is author of Finding Happiness: Monastic Steps for a Fulfilling Life and was the host of the popular BBC documentary series The Monastery.