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The Cistercian Fathers and Their Monastic Theology

Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 8

Thomas Merton, Edited by Patrick F. O'Connell

These conferences, presented by Thomas Merton to the novices at the Abbey of Gethsemani in 1963-1964, focus mainly on the life and writings of his great Cistercian predecessor, St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153). Guiding his students through Bernard's Marian sermons, his treatise On the Love of God, his controversy with Peter Abelard, and above all his great series of sermons on the Song of Songs, Merton reveals why Bernard was the major religious and cultural figure in Europe during the first half of the twelfth century and why he has remained one of the most influential spiritual theologians of Western Christianity from his own day until the present. As James Finley writes in his preface to this volume, "Merton is teaching us in these notes how to be grateful and amazed that the ancient wisdom that shimmers and shines in the eloquent and beautiful things that mystics say is now flowing in our sincere desire to learn from God how to find our way to God."Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Catholic convert, Cistercian monk and hermit, poet, contemplative, social critic, and pioneer of interreligious dialogue, was a seminal figure of twentieth-century American Christianity. The one hundredth anniversary of his birth was celebrated in 2015.Patrick F. O'Connell is professor of English and theology at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania. A founding member and former president of the International Thomas Merton Society, he edits The Merton Seasonal and he is coauthor of The Thomas Merton Encyclopedia. He has edited seven previous volumes of Thomas Merton's monastic conferences for the Monastic Wisdom Series, most recently Charter, Customs, and Constitutions of the Cistercians (2015), and he is also editor of Merton's Selected Essays (2013) and Early Essays: 1947-1952 (2015).

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The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux

William of Saint-Thierry, Arnold of Bonneval, and Geoffrey of Auxerre; Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Hilary Costello, OCSO

The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux, traditionally known as the Vita Prima, originated to prepare the case for canonization of Bernard, first abbot of Clairvaux. The work was begun by William of Saint-Thierry, continued by Arnold of Bonneval, and completed by Geoffrey of Auxerre.When the initial case put forth for Bernard was rejected by Innocent II, Geoffrey undertook a revision of the original vita (Recension A) and submitted another version (Recension B) to Pope Alexander III, who declared Bernard a saint in 1174. This work emphasizes the deep love in which Bernard was held during his life by his monks and the people of France and Italy as well as his role as a powerful public figure.This book contains the first English translation of Recension B, drawn from what is apparently the only manuscript of the work found today in a Cistercian monastery, Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. The introduction begins with the story of how this manuscript came to Mount Saint Bernard, so fixing this translation of the Vita Prima within Cistercian life from the twelfth century to today.Fr. Hilary Costello, OCSO, was born in London in 1926. During World War II he was conscripted into the coal mines, where he worked from 1943 to 1947. Although he had not considered a monastic vocation until he was nearly twenty, in 1947 he entered Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, in Leicestershire. For fourteen years he worked in the abbey's orchard, after which he was guest master for the abbey. After being ordained in 1955, he began to work on medieval manuscripts, especially the sermons of John of Forde, which he and Fr. Edmund Mikkers, ocso, edited for Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis (vols. 17 and 18). He has also published articles on John, Gilbert of Hoyland, and other Cistercian authors. Fr. Hilary was also the bursar of Mount Saint Bernard for almost twenty years. He currently does bookbinding for the abbey.

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In the School of Contemplation

André Louf

Dom André Louf (+2010) was abbot of the Trappist-Cistercian monastery of Mont-des-Cats in northern France from 1963 to 1997. This book brings together talks given to a variety of audiences in which he shared his spiritual experience from both his life of prayer and his life in community.Each chapter offers inspiring insights on the spiritual experience, the priority of love, and other areas of our Christian life: community life, obedience, prayer, psalms, the liturgy, and more.In this book we enter "a school of contemplation" wherein the monastic experience enlightens our lives and service to the world and the Church.André Louf, OCSO, served as abbot of the Cistercian Abbey of Mont-des-Cats for thirty-five years until his retirement in 1997. His previous books in English include The Cistercian Way, Tuning in to Grace, Mercy in Weakness, Grace Can Do More, and The Way of Humility, all published by Cistercian Publications.

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Unity of Spirit

Studies on William Of Saint-Thierry in Honor of E. Rozanne Elder

Edited by F. Tyler Sergent, Aage Rydstrøm-Poulsen, and Marsha L. DuttonForeword by Bernard McGinn; Afterword by John R. Sommerfeldt

William of Saint-Thierry (ca. 1080–1148) became abbot of the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Thierry in about 1119, holding that office for about sixteen years and writing a large number of works, some for the guidance of the monks of his abbey and others as theological treatises. But during that same time, after meeting Bernard, abbot of the Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux, he longed to become a Cistercian. He finally satisfied that dream in 1135, when he became a monk at Signy. His final work was the first of the five books that constitute the Vita Prima Sancti Bernardi.The nine chapters in this book explore William's thought as represented in his twenty works, ranging from his earliest theological writing through his contribution to the Vita Prima Sancti Bernardi. The contributors to this volume have moved scholarship on William in new directions, ranging from a comparative analysis of Bernard's and William's thought through a study of William's Christology, an analysis of individual works, a new translation of one of William's little-known works, an examination of sixteenth-century images drawn from the Vita Prima, a study of William's rhetorical skills, and a recognition of William's new take on the phrase unitas spiritus. Dr. E. Rozanne Elder's expertise as a scholar of the works of William of Saint-Thierry, combined with her decades of distinguished service as a professor of history, director of the Institute of Cistercian Studies and then of the Center for Cistercian and Monastic Studies, all at Western Michigan University, and as editorial director of Cistercian Publications for thirty-five years, has made her the best known of Cistercian scholars today. She is the one primarily responsible for moving Cistercian studies into the mainstream of medieval history and thought. As the gracious and indefatigable host of the annual Conference of Cistercian Studies that takes place each May as part of the International Medieval Studies Congress, she has created a community of scholars and friends.

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Aelred the Peacemaker

The Public Life of a Cistercian Abbot

Jean Truax

In addition to being a prolific spiritual writer and the abbot of the premier Cistercian monastery in northern England, Aelred of Rievaulx somehow found the time and the stamina to travel extensively throughout the Anglo-Norman realm, acting as a mediator, a problem solver, and an adviser to kings. His career spanned the troubled years of the civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda and reached its zenith during the early years of the reign of Henry II. This work focuses on Aelred's public career as revealed in his own historical writing as well as in chronicle references and other documents. This aspect of his life has been previously neglected because his personal letters have been lost and his biographer, Walter Daniel, concentrated on his life within the monastery. Jean Truax obtained her PhD in medieval history from the University of Houston in 1995 while working in the IT department of an oil service company. Now that she has retired from the business world she is an independent scholar and the author of a study of three twelfth-century archbishops of Canterbury: Ralph d'Escures, William of Corbeil and Theobald of Bec: Heirs of Anselm and Ancestors of Becket. She comes to her interest in Aelred of Rievaulx and the Cistercians because of the welcome extended to her at the Cistercian and Monastic Studies Conference, which meets every year in conjunction with the International Congress on Medieval Studies held at the University of Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

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Christian Monks on Chinese Soil

A History of Monastic Missions to China

Matteo Nicolini-Zani, Translated by Sophia Senyk and William Skudlarek, OSB

The contribution of monks to the evangelization of lands not yet reached by the preaching of the Gospel has certainly been remarkable. The specific witness that the monastic community gives is of a radical Christian life naturally radiating outward, and thus it is implicitly missionary. The process of inculturation of Christian monasticism in China required a bold spiritual attitude of openness to the future and a willingness to accept the transformation of monastic forms that had been received. In Christian Monks on Chinese Soil, Matteo Nicolini-Zani highlights the willingness of foreign monks to encounter the cultural and spiritual realities of China and the degree of acceptance by the Chinese of the form of monastic life that was presented to them by the missionaries.Matteo Nicolini-Zani is a monk of the Community of Bose (Italy) and coordinator of the Italian Commission of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Chinese Language and Literature. His main interest of research is the history of Christianity in China, a topic upon which he has published several articles and books.

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The Discourses of Philoxenos of Mabbug

A New Translation and Introduction

Translated by Robert A. Kitchen

The thirteen Discourses of Philoxenos of Mabbug (445-523) were delivered to new monks at a monastery under his episcopal care. Written in elegant Syriac, the Discourses deal with the fundamentals of the monastic and ascetic life-faith, simplicity, fear of God, renunciation, and the struggle against the demons of gluttony and fornication. This is Philoxenos's longest work and his most popular. It avoids the strident character of his letters and commentaries that were composed to advance the anti-Chalcedonian movement.This is the first English translation of an important Syriac text since the 1894 translation, now difficult to find. The introduction to this translation of the Discourses takes into account the scholarly work done and the books and articles published about Philoxenos in the past half century. There are no other titles in English that deal with the Discourses in this depth.

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Reaching for God

The Benedictine Oblate Way of Life

Roberta Werner, OSB

Reaching for God is a compendium of Benedictine life and prayer for oblates. It brings together in one volume the essence of Benedictine spirituality-its history, its relevance through the ages and in the present, and a summary of the most fundamental gifts and values it offers for living a meaningful life. Here, the meaning and purpose of the oblate way of life is explained in a clear and encouraging way. Werner offers guidance and examples of prayer to enrich any spiritual life. Sister Roberta Werner, OSB, having worked as a teacher, caregiver, and educational administrator, is now the assistant oblate director at St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. In this role, she guides an oblate discussion group, contributes to oblate newsletter publications, has set up an oblate library, and makes the spiritual journey with the many oblates who connect with her and with the monastery in their search for God.

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Sermons for the Autumn Season

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Irene Edmonds, Edited by Mark Scott, OCSO, Introduction by Wim Verbaal

On the anniversary of the dedication of the monastery church at Clairvaux, Saint Bernard spoke to the community to explain the meaning of the feast: "What sanctity can these stones have that we should celebrate their festival? They do indeed have sanctity, but it is because of your bodies. . . .Your bodies are holy because of your souls, and this house is holy because of your bodies."The thirty-eight sermons in this volumecarry forth this theme, revealing the holiness of the monastic life as monks alternate through the rhythm of the day and the year between the opus Dei and manual labor, journeying faithfully through life to death and the transitus to glory.The twelfth-century Ecclesiastica Officia of the Cistercian Order required abbots to speak formally to their communities in chapter on seventeen fixed days, mostly liturgical feasts. This volume witnesses to Bernard's fulfillment of this requirement and includes sermons for the Assumption and Nativity of the Virgin and the Feast of All Saints, sermons devoted to the feasts of particular saints celebrated during the autumn months, sermons for the time of harvest, andfuneral sermons that look forward to the eternal joy in the communion of saints.For information on the full index for this volume and all of Bernard's seasonal sermons, please see index page

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Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living

Reflections on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict's Rule

Michael Casey

There is more in Benedict's Rule than meets the eye. Based on the rules of life of John Cassian and Saint Basil, Benedict invites us to go further back to the scriptural basis of all Christian and monastic living and pursue our spiritual journey by the guidance of the Gospel.This book of reflections on the tools for good living is intended to be read very slowly, one section at a time. In addition to communicating reflections on each verse of chapter 4, Casey invites readers to:continue the process of reflection for themselves apply what is written to their own livesdraw on their own wisdom and insightand, ultimately, broaden their experience of monastic spiritualityMichael 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)

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Benedictine Living

Reflections for Prayer and Meditation

Kate Ritger

Open up your everyday experiences by considering them through a Benedictine lens with this accessible collection of reflections. Meaningful and insightful at any time of the year, this companion offers Benedictine and scriptural wisdom to the timeless themes of our lives. Each reflection is coupled with thoughtful contemplative questions and meaningful and integrative actions for daily life. The reflections are organized by themes from the Rule of Saint Benedict and include: Awareness of God, Listening, Hospitality, Humility, Moderation, Community for Ordinary People, Community Living, Obedience, Authority, Peace, Prayer, Stability, and Stewardship.Kate Ritger is an oblate of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She currently serves as the caretaker of the Common Ground Garden, a ministry of the Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict, where she combines caring for the earth, growing food, and building community around a vibrant local food system. Kate has also served in campus ministry, hospital chaplaincy, group spiritual direction, and retreat work. She is the coeditor of Prayer in All Things: A Saint Benedict's-Saint John's Prayer Book (Liturgical Press).

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Can a Seamless Garment Be Truly Torn?

"Questions Surrounding the Jewish-Catholic Lob Family, 1881-1945"

Peter Steffen and Hans Evers; Includes photos

The conversion of Lutz Löb and Jenny van Gelder from Judaism to Roman Catholicism dramatically changed the lives of the extended Löb family. This scientific-historical study traces the personal and spiritual journey of Lutz and Jenny from their baptisms in 1907 through the lives of their children. The story benefits from historical documents and pieces of oral history from the only one of their eight children who survived the Nazi era, Paula van Broekhoven-Löb. The abbess of Koningsoord Abbey and the abbot of Koningshoeven Abbey generously provided access to the archives of the monasteries where the seven other Löb children lived as nuns and monks of the Löb family.Each chapter begins with a citation from a significant situation or event, placing the reader immediately within the lived experience of that period. Photos of the time and the family supplement the historical narrative. The secret conversion of Lutz and Jenny and their lifelong witness to their faith created a tear in the fabric of the extended family while later leading to many idealized portrayals of them and their children. It is the intent of this book to offer an accurate and balanced account, situating the Catholic Löb family within their extended Jewish family, and to correct several decades of hagiography, so restoring humanity and dignity to the memories of the Löb family.Peter Steffen has worked with child welfare and served as the director of the Alcohol and Drugs Clinic in Zwolle, The Netherlands. His studies include secondary education and theology. Steffen edited Monastic Information, the periodical published by the Benedictines and Trappists in Flanders and The Netherlands, and was one of the compilers of the book of photographs Bishop Bekkers, 1908-1966: An Ardent Priestly Life (Alphen aan de Maas, 2006).Hans Evers is a pastoral theologian specializing in the history of pastoral care and is a pastoral caregiver in a general hospital in The Netherlands. His publications include Historical References Concerning Wittem as a Place of Pilgrimage (Heerlen, 1986) and The Night Gives a Chance: Exemplary Pastoral Projects in Limburg (Gooi and Sticht, Baarn, 1991).

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Monks and Muslims II

Creating Communities of Friendship

Edited by Mohammad Ali Shomali and William Skudlarek

If Christians and Muslims are to live in peace, encouraging one another to grow in holiness and working together for the good of all God's creation, they must move beyond politicized and often negative images of one another. Monastic/Muslim dialogue issuing from friendship and focused on revelation, prayer, and witness is an important component in this effort. Indeed, it is essential.A conference jointly sponsored by the International Institute for Islamic Studies and Monastic Interreligious Dialogue brought together Iranian Shi'a Muslims and Christian monastics to Qum, Iran. Their first gathering was held a year previous in Rome, Italy and focused on spiritual topics like meditation and prayer. The second meeting in Qum was an occasion to deepen the bonds of friendship that had already been established. The conference theme centered on friendship and the dialogue explored the scriptural, theological, spiritual, philosophical, and practical bases for friendship between monks and Muslims. This follow-up book invites readers to listen in and learn from their conversation and witness.Mohammad Ali Shomali is the author of several books, including Ethical Relativism: An Analysis of the Foundations of Morality, Discovering Shi'a Islam, and Shi'a Islam: Origins, Faith & Practices. He is also coeditor of Catholics & Shi'a in Dialogue: Studies in Theology & Spirituality, Catholic-Shi'a Engagement: Reason & Faith in Theory and Practice, and A Catholic-Shi'a Dialogue: Ethics in Today's Society. William Skudlarek, OSB, is a monk of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and Secretary General of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue. His books include The Attentive Voice: Reflections on the Meaning and Practice of Interreligious Dialogue (ed.) and Demythologizing Celibacy: Practical Wisdom from Christian and Buddhist Monasticism.

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"The Lives of Monastic Reformers, 2"

"Abbot Vitalis of Savigny, Abbot Godfrey of Savigny, Peter of Avranches, and Blessed Hamo"

Introduced, translated, and edited by Hugh Feiss, OSB, Maureen M. O'Brien, and Ronald Pepin

This volume offers translations of the twelfth-century Latin vitae of four monks of the Monastery of Savigny: Abbot Vitalis, Abbot Godfrey, Peter of Avranches, and Blessed Hamo. Founded in 1113 by Vitalis of Mortain, an influential hermit-preacher, Savigny expanded to a congregation of thirty monasteries under his successor Godfrey (1122-1138). In 1147, the entire congregation joined the Cistercian Order. Around 1172, two monks of Savigny, Peter of Avranches and Hamo, friends but very different personalities, died. Their stories were told in two further vitae.The vitae of these four men exemplify the variety of people and movements found in the monastic ferment of the twelfth century.Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, is a member of the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome, Idaho; is a specialist in twelfth-century religion; and has translated several books for Cistercian Publications.Dr. Maureen M. O'Brien, an assistant professor of history at St. Cloud State University, is a specialist in the history of La Chaise-Dieu, and has edited several books for Cistercian Publications.Ronald E. Pepin is professor emeritus at Capital Community College in Hartford, Connecticut. His recent translations include The Vatican Mythographers (Fordham University Press, 2008) and Anselm & Becket (PIMS, 2009).

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The Franciscan Tradition

Franciscan Tradition

Regis J. Armstrong, OFM Cap, and Ingrid J. Peterson, OSF; Phyllis Zagano, Series Editor

Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most beloved saints. His commitment to God's will, his yearning to embrace poverty, and his attentiveness to the Spirit's presence in his life continue to inspire Christians and non-Christians alike. The Franciscan Tradition highlights some of the most influential people in Franciscan history. Using the writings of men and women from the First, Second, and Third Orders, this volume shows the breadth and depth of the Franciscan way of life. Presented here are saints and martyrs, contemplatives and preachers, theologians and reformers. They heeded God's call, found hope in Francis' mission, and now provide wisdom for those who seek to follow God. Regis J. Armstrong, OFM Cap, is a world-renowned expert on Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Clare of Assisi. In addition to translating and editing Francis and Clare: The Complete Works and three editions of Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, he was editor-in-chief of the four-volume Francis of Assisi: Early Documents and has written St. Francis of Assisi: Writings for a Gospel Life, True Joy. Armstrong is The John C. and Gertrude P. Hubbard Professor of Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America. Ingrid J. Peterson, OSF, is an adjunct faculty member of the Franciscan Institute, Saint Bonaventure University, and has been an English professor at the College of Saint Teresa and Quincy University. She is a Sister of Saint Francis from Rochester, Minnesota. Peterson is the author of Clare of Assisi: A Biographical Study and coauthor of Praying With Clare of Assisi. In 2000 the Franciscan Institute awarded her the Franciscan medal for Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship in Franciscan Studies. She is the first woman to receive this honor.

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