Can early medieval monasteries serve as a model of sustainable development and environmental conservation in today’s world? Inspired by Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Sí and Benedictine communities around the world whose shared monastic values inform ecological practice, Monastic Ecological Wisdom uncovers the hidden story of early Christian and monastic care for the earth.
In Monastic Ecological Wisdom, Samuel Torvend shows how it is possible that medieval monastic values and practices could assist in the careful conservation of what we claim is God’s first gift, God’s first gesture of grace: the earth and all that dwells with it. By reflecting on an ecological reading of New Testament texts, the Rule of St. Benedict, and early monastic engagement with the natural world as seen in the life of St. Benedict, such practices can serve thoughtful Christians today who care deeply about living in harmony with the earth and all who call it home.
Samuel Torvend, PhD, is a priest, emeritus professor of religion, Benedictine oblate, and instructor in diaconal formation in western Washington. He is a member of the ecology and liturgy seminar of the North American Academy of Liturgy, and the author of Still Hungry at the Feast: Eucharistic Justice in the Midst of Affliction published by Liturgical Press. His books, articles, and lectures focus on liturgy and social ethics.