Throughout the church's long history, Christians have sought out wise mentors to guide them on the journey toward God. A Science of the Saints explores the dynamics of spiritual direction as revealed in the lives and writings of a wide array of exemplary disciples, from the Desert Fathers and Mothers to Thomas Merton, and from St. Teresa of Avila to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). This groundbreaking work sheds new light on an essential dimension of the Christian experience, yielding timeless wisdom to inform the practice of spiritual direction in our own day.
Robert E. Alvis is professor of church history and academic dean at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His publications include Religion and the Rise of Nationalism: A Profile of an East-Central European City (Syracuse University Press, 2005) and White Eagle, Black Madonna: One Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition (Fordham University Press, 2016).
"Robert Alvis and his colleagues at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology have given us a treasure trove of scholarly reflection on the two thousand-year old art of spiritual direction. Spanning the history of Christian guidance from the Desert Fathers and Mothers to contemporary expressions in literature and film, this groundbreaking book traces spiritual direction from its roots to its flourishing. Informed and inspired by this first-rate historical analysis, our own ministries as spiritual directors become blessed by the saints who preceded us."
Susan S. Phillips, executive director of the Graduate Theological Union's New College Berkeley and author of Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction
"A theologically well-informed contribution to the growing literature on spiritual direction."
"This impressive volume of nine essays by faculty members of St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology deserves a wide readership. The writing is uniformly excellent, the ideas are cogently argued, and the historical context is clearly presented. Although specifically recommended for spiritual directors, all seekers of holiness will benefit from the treasures in this wonderful book."
Catholic Books Review
"While the professors at Saint Meinrad's Seminary and School of Theology have written A Science of the Saints first as an important contribution to the Catholic tradition of spiritual direction, I'm grateful that it is also designed to be accessible to a more general audience, since I read it as a lay Benedictine oblate and practicing spiritual director, and as such I find it an expansive and rewarding addition to existing spiritual direction literature. In this volume, a spiritual director will find many enriching reminders of what kind of person the director should be, the natural and unique unfolding of the spiritual life in each person, and the still-relevant wisdom of a 2000-year-old tradition of companionship designed to assist the human capacity to be enfolded in God."
Norvene Vest, OblSB, author of Preferring Christ, a Devotional Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict