An ancient lifestyle which has been adapted, renewed, and is still being followed today, monasticism appears to some outside it as a quaint anachronism and to others as the sanest of all ways of living. Can it survive in the post post-modern world? A dozen insiders and outsiders’monastics, academics, clergy, laypersons, hermits, cenobites, poets, and writers’offer their reflections on the future of the monastic life of prayer and community. Contributing their insights are Michael Casey, Kathleen Norris, Lawrence Cunningham, Terrence Kardong, Bonnie Thurston, John Eudes Bamberger, Joan Chittister, Mary Margaret Funk, Gail Fitzpatrick, Francis Kline, Daniel Coughlin, Robert Morneau, Miriam Pollard, and Bernardo Olivera.
Patrick Hart, OCSO, a native of Green Bay, Wisconsin, did his undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame as a Brother of Holy Cross. He entered the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1951, and has served as secretary to the last four abbots, as well as to Thomas Merton during the last year of his life. He has edited many books by and about Thomas Merton during the 38 years since the latter’s death on December 10, 1968. He has served on the Board of Directors for Cistercian Publications for the past 30 years, and was appointed General Editor of the new Monastic Wisdom Series following the alliance between CP and Liturgical Press at Collegeville in May of 2004. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Bellarmine University in 2004.