"In his impressively researched Monastic Ecological Wisdom, Samuel Torvend sifts through scholarly literature on environmental history, church history, and biographies/hagiographies of Benedict of Nursia in order to demonstrate the values that are timely in our current ecological distress—values such as attention to local ecology, friendship with other creatures, humility, and simplicity—are in fact hallmarks of Benedictine spirituality. Readers of all kinds will come away from this book with renewed appreciation for the deep resonances between Christian discipleship and responsible care for the Earth. Monastic Ecological Wisdom is well-suited for use in classrooms, parish discussion groups, and individual reading."
Timothy Brunk, Associate Professor of Theology, Villanova University
“This is a book of insights and connections, many of which may surprise you. Torvend reveals parallels between the destructive patterns of the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus and our contemporary ecological and social crises. He proposes St. Benedict’s monastic approach to life and the natural world as an antidote to the sins of the past and the present: a wisdom that sought a pattern of interaction with the environment that was sustainable for centuries, respecting the land and all creatures as God’s creation and God’s possession. The Gospels proclaimed a revolutionary message against the idolatry and rapaciousness of the Roman Empire, a message that still challenges similar forces today. We need an alternative way of life to confront our sins against creation. Benedict and Torvend show us the way.”
Fr. Lawrence E. Mick, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and author of Liturgy and Ecology in Dialogue
"It can be tempting to think that current experiences of climatic change, environmental degradation, and institutional corruption are so unique that we have nothing to learn from the past. But such thinking is impossible after you read Samuel Torvend’s Monastic Ecological Wisdom and immerse yourself into the deep and sustainable wisdom of ancient and medieval Christian communities. This important book richly explores environmental practices and structures of Benedictine life, the roots of those practices in the Christian tradition, and the possibilities for contemporary Christian faith based in justice and the land."
Kevin J. O’Brien, author of The Violence of Climate Change
“Monastic Ecological Wisdom tells us the inspiring story of how the life of Saint Benedict influenced the way he would see God’s creation as a way of encounter with the divine. Samuel Torvend speaks to the present historical situation in a way that sees the riches of Saint Benedict’s 1,500-year-old Rule as relevant to our present situation. The connections between Saint Benedict’s Rule and Laudato Sí, as presented here, inspire a careful reading of both these early and contemporary documents.”
Abbot Primate Gregory Polan, OSB, Badia Sant’Anselmo, Rome, Italy
"The book is a thoughtful effort to respond to the challenge and insight of Laudato Sí with the riches of the Benedictine tradition and the spirituality of the Rule of Benedict. It is a work that will surely encourage many, including me, to harvest its insights and to continue to respond to the needs of the poor and the environment."
Right Reverend John Klassen, OSB, Abbot of Saint John’s Abbey