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The Art of Winning Souls

Pastoral Care of Novices
Michael Casey, OCSO

ISBN: 9780879070359, MW035P
Details: 208 pgs , 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Publication Date: 05/01/2012


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In his chapter on the procedure for the reception of new brothers, Saint Benedict makes provision for entrusting them to the care of "a senior who is skilled in winning souls who will diligently pay attention to them in everything" (58.6). In The Art of Winning Souls: Pastoral Care of Novices, Michael Casey, OCSO, reflects on what this means today, based on his own experience and observation of the fruitful ministry of others.

Here Casey focuses on the pastoral care given in the name of a monastic community to those who enter it, from initial contact up to the point where their vocation has recognizably stabilized. His reflections are not intended to be prescriptive. They are, rather, descriptive of what he considers to be best practice, as he has encountered this in his experience of many different expressions of the monastic and Benedictine charism. This book promises to serve as an indispensable resource for vocation directors, novice directors, and junior directors for years to come.

Michael Casey, OCSO, is a monk of Tarrawarra Abbey (Australia). He holds a degree in Scripture at Leuven and a doctorate from Melbourne College of Divinity for a study of desire for God in the writings of Bernard of Clairvaux. In recent decades he has been engaged in exploring different aspects of monastic spirituality, writing, and giving conferences throughout the English-speaking monastic world. His books include The Road to Eternal Life: Reflections on the Prologue of Benedict's Rule (Liturgical Press, 2011) and Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living: Reflections on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict's Rule (Liturgical Press, 2014).

We finally have a comprehensive study of how the formative process works, something sorely needed in modern religious life. This book is like honey from the rock for anyone interested in how the human and divine work together to form a spiritual person. Michael reminds us that there is nothing secret or esoteric about formation though many of us have been bewildered by its complexity. We have come to expect clarity and richness from a Michael Casey book, and this one will not disappoint us.
Abbot Brendan Freeman, New Melleray Abbey, Peosta, Iowa

At last, a much-needed handbook for formation in monastic communities. There is no one better placed for the task. Michael Casey brings years of experience and a practical wisdom. He combines a deep knowledge and love of the monastic tradition with a down-to-earth understanding of twenty-first century challenges. This book is to be recommended not just to formators, but as spur to all our monastic communities to improve the quality of the pastoral care we give to the newcomer.
Dom Brendan Thomas
Director, Monastic Formators' Program, Rome
Novice Master, Belmont Abbey, England