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Liturgical Press

The Motley Crew

Monastic Lives

Benet Tvedten, OSB

The Motley Crew SEE INSIDE
The Motley Crew

ISBN: 9780814631775, 3177

Details: 144 pgs, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
Publication Date: 01/01/2007
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In this latest collection of portraits and reflections on the monastic life, Brother Benet Tvedten has gathered together a motley crew indeed. Inside this book you’ll encounter the stories, both legend and history, of ancestors and contemporary monastics, the saints and the laypeople who contributed to this movement over the centuries. They struggle with obedience: Maurus jumps into the lake. They perform miracles: Scholastica prays up a storm to keep her brother by her side. They venture forth to serve as missionaries in the American wilderness of the Dakota territories, always with St. Benedict as their guide.

The Motley Crew is a lively history in which you’ll follow the rise and fall of monastic life in Europe and the United States, with its ongoing conflicts between obedience to the Rule and the human desires for a life of comfort and ease. This collection of saints, so far from living in the state of perfection attributed to the monastic life by the church, reflects the truly human and holy nature to which we all aspire.

Brother Benet Tvedten, O.S.B., is a member of Blue Cloud Abbey in Marvin, South Dakota, where he serves as the Director of Oblates. He is also the author of The View from a Monastery and How to Be a Monastic and Not Leave your Day Job: An Invitation to Oblate Life published by Paraclete Press.

ISBN: 9780814631775, 3177

Details: 144 pgs, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4
Publication Date: 01/01/2007


In an intriguing, informative and at times an amusing text, Tvedten regales the reader with a brief portrayal of Benedictine monasticism as depicted in the lives and unique contributions of the `motley crew' of various Benedictine men and women throughout history. The brief consecutive chapters provide some interesting little-known facts and insights into the lives of certain monastic `mavericks', who established and/or reformed monastic life throughout the ages. The text presents a brief and interesting history of the ups and downs, the dying and the resurrections of Benedictine life throughout the centuries. The major emphasis is on the unique roles and contributions of individuals and groups whose visions and energies enriched civilizations by the preservation and continued growth of Benedictine ideals and way of life throughout history.
Rosemary Rader, OSB

[A] lightweight monastic quilt with colorful pieces of monastic history, legends, biography, and commentary tied together with witty personal reflections of the author. . . . Praise God for the motley crew.
American Benedictine Review

The Motley Crew is a charming, readable little book that introduces its audience to some of the colorful characters populating the history of monasticism. . . . It should be savored a chapter at a time, perhaps as part of one's morning or evening devotions.
Trinity Seminary Review

Model lives, a model book.
Review for Religious

Many of the great monastic founders and heroic members are described in this wonderful little book. I think this book is a great `taste and see' tome in which one can decide on lives or monastic orders on which to do greater research. There is much to be discovered within the walls of the monastery.
CONNECT-Small Christian Community Connection

. . . a lighthearted look at the Benedictines in the United States and Europe.
Catholic Library World

Written by a Benedictine monk of almost fifty years, The Motley Crew offers a light, biographical history of monasticism . . . The writer, who is often wryly amusing, includes in his stories reflections on the monastic life clearly reflecting his many years of obedience, as well as events from his own life, as when in discussing the monk's relation to the world . . .

Brother Benet takes us on a leisurely ride through Benedictine history, pointing out the scenery and special points of interest along the way. Well-known and not-known Benedictine saints walk side by side, as in any monastery. The narrative is peppered with examples and anecdotes from the author's personal monastic history. One can see why Benedictines don't fit comfortably on a pedestal, but also why they have lasted so long.
Abbot Jerome Kodell

For anyone who has had questions about monasticism or the monastic life, Brother Benet Tvedten's The Motley Crew provides a wonderfully readable introduction, full of wisdom, insight, and good humor. Always focused by The Rule of St. Benedict, the book is a unique blending of history and storytelling, biography and personal experience. . . . He demonstrates his talents as a writer and as an astute observer of the human condition.
Mark Vinz, Moorhead, Minnesota

Although Benedict cautions his followers to not be "given to ready laughter" (RB 7.59), I found myself guilty of frequent chuckles reading Br. Benet's interesting, informative and engaging thumbnail sketches of his monastic ancestors.
Jane Tomaine, author of St. Benedict's Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living