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Liturgical Press

The "Lost" Dialogue of Gregory the Great

The Life of St. Scholastica

Carmel Posa; Foreword by Michael Casey, OCSO

The "Lost" Dialogue of Gregory the Great
The "Lost" Dialogue of Gregory the Great

ISBN: 9798400800535, 00535

Details: 128 pgs, 5 x 8
Publication Date: 07/15/2024
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Discover the enduring legacy and ancient hagiographical method used to recover the missing life and voice of St. Scholastica of Nursia.

In The "Lost" Dialogue of Gregory the Great, Carmel Posa, SGS, applies a “disciplined imagination” and the ancient hagiographical method to recover the missing life and voice of St. Scholastica of Nursia. Drawing on a wide range of scholarship, including Gregory the Great’s four famous dialogues, biblical models, and the Rule of Benedict, Posa follows a technique similarly used by Saint Gregory himself to create an engaging and credible account of Scholastica’s life.

In The "Lost" Dialogue of Gregory the Great, Posa’s use of the hagiographical method as a “disciplined imagination” serves as a tool for the repositioning of women’s lives in history. By presenting a “lost life” of Scholastica into the hagiographic record of Christianity, she gifts the Church for today with the story of a beloved saint that will not only inspire readers but encourage them to ponder more searchingly the sources of the wisdom contained in Benedict’s remarkable Rule. Carmel’s careful methodology also offers readers an image of Scholastica that has a spiritual standing apart from her famous and holy brother. She retrieves the enduring legacy of Scholastica from the margins and places her into the center of monastic history, in particular and church history, in general. Oblates, Benedictines, and those interested in monastic spirituality will also be challenged to reconsider those women whose voices have been erased, devalued, or ignored over the centuries and inspired to “listen carefully” to the whispered words and wisdom of women as we mark our journey together into a future full of hope, with Christ and his Gospel for our guide.

Carmel Posa is a member of the Good Samaritan Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict. She held the position of senior lecturer at Notre Dame University, Australia from 1999—2012 and was the executive director of the New Norcia Institute for Benedictine Studies at New Norcia, Western Australia, from 2012—2017. She lectures in the department of Christian thought and history at Yarra Theological Union, a member college of the University of Divinity, Melbourne and teaches monastic studies at St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary, Collegeville, Minnesota. Carmel is co-editor of the journal, Tjurunga: An Australasian Benedictine Review, and editor of A Not-So-Unexciting Life: Essays on Benedictine History and Spirituality in Honor of Michael Casey, OCSO, published by Liturgical Press.

ISBN: 9798400800535, 00535

Details: 128 pgs, 5 x 8
Publication Date: 07/15/2024

Reviews

"Would that we had more examples of disciplined imagination to bring theology and history to life! This “lost” dialogue, which sounds just like Pope Gregory and Deacon Peter, gets past and present into a kind of call-and-response. It’s as if Gregory’s 202 year successor, with his concern that women’s gifts to the church be celebrated and rights in the church be increased, were to turn his hand to Scholastica’s story. The book is instructive—and lots of fun."
Patrick Henry, retired executive director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, is author of Benedictine Options: Learning to Live from the Sons and Daughters of Saints Benedict and Scholastica

"I read the book with much interest and curiosity and was not disappointed. Thank you Sr. Carmel Posa for opening the door. In this book, one can feel the love of monastic life and the feminine side to it."
Sr. Aquinata Böckmann OSB

"The Rule of Benedict, which programmatically begins its chapter on the 'Instruments of Good Works' (RB 4) with the double commandment of love and repeatedly invites us to prefer nothing to the love of Christ (RB 4:21; 72:11; cf. RB 5:2), is to be understood from chapter 72 on the 'good zeal' that is to be put into practice by monks and nuns 'with fervent love' (RB 72:3). Who could better illustrate the basic monastic concerns of Benedict’s rule than the woman—traditionally regarded as his twin sister—to whom Pope Gregory the Great attested in the second book of his Dialogues on the Miracles of the Italic Fathers that she 'was able to do more because she loved more' (Dial. II,33,5). It is an excellent idea by Sr. Carmel Posa SGS to use her profound knowledge of sacred Scripture, and monastic theology and history to finally give a voice to this hitherto marginalized female 'rule interpreter' by means of a hagiographical narrative and the method of 'disciplined imagination!' What an eye-opener and what a precious contribution to a deeper understanding of the role of women in the history of Christian monasticism!"
Sr. Manuela Scheiba, OSB, St. Gertrud’s Abbey, Alexanderdorf, Germany; Associate Professor of Monastic Theology, St. Anselm, Rome, Italy

"Despite the lack of historical evidence surrounding her, St Scholastica is a 'treasure that prevails.' Balancing both creative and disciplined imagination, Carmel Posa’s The “Lost” Dialogue of Gregory the Great, enables Scholastica to emerge from the shadows to shine, instruct, and inspire. Carmel tells a credible tale of one woman’s agency and Spirit-inspired leadership—a prototype for all women who have been silenced and rendered invisible in the Christian and monastic tradition."
Patty Fawkner, SGS, is the former leader of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St Benedict

"This book uses 'disciplined imagination,' a deep knowledge of the language and themes of the Bible and early medieval sacred biography, and an appreciation of the overwhelming power of love in the Benedictine tradition to create an imagined biography of St. Scholastica. The biography is all the more powerful for its prioritizing of the 'truth surrounding the holiness of women' over simple facts or surviving documented evidence. This book transports the ancient genre of hagiography seamlessly into the twenty-first century and demonstrates that a hagiographical reconstruction is a particularly useful technique for recovering women’s lives. This 'lost life' of Scholastica is a highly original study that is both completely modern and completely medieval in its technique and spirit. Perfect for reading in short extracts or in one sitting, this book is a rare treasure."
Elizabeth Freeman, Senior Lecturer in Medieval European History, University of Tasmania