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St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & the Little Way Paperback – March 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

St. Benedict and St. Therese stand as two of the monumental figures in the history of the Western Church.  Their impact on Christian thought cannot be underestimated, yet never before have they been viewed as spiritual father and daughter.  From his "little rule" to her "little way," these two great saints teach us to find ourselves in the ordinary.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (IN) (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879739835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879739836
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brought up as an Evangelical. Dwight Longenecker graduated from fundamentalist Bob Jones University. While there he became an Anglican and after graduation went to Oxford to train as an Anglican priest.

After serving for ten years as an Anglican priest he converted to the Catholic faith with his wife and family. Eventually he returned to the United States to be ordained as a Catholic priest under the special provision from Rome for married former Anglican clergy.

Fr Longenecker has written over fifteen books and booklets on Catholic spirituality, apologetics and prayer. He has authored hundreds of articles which have been published in newspapers, magazines, websites and journals in the USA and the UK. His popular blog published at the Catholic portal at Patheos is called Standing on My Head. He is a popular broadcaster, conference speaker and mission speaker.

Married with four children, he now lives in Greenville, South Carolina where he serves as pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church. Visit his website at

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Addison H. Hart on November 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Commenting on the communion of saints in heaven and how their various differences of temperament and intellect must ultimately complement one another in some as yet utterly unimaginable variegated whole, St. Therese of Lisieux once said: "Delightful and surprising will be the friendships found there - I am sure of it ... [A] simple little child may be the intimate friend of a patriarch." Dwight Longenecker in his new book, St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule and the Little Way, sees in this almost casual remark the kernel of a much larger reflection: how the nineteenth-century French Carmelite saint - not much more than a little child herself at the time of her death - might indeed easily be imagined hand-in-hand with the Father of western monasticism, the sixth-century St. Benedict of Nursia; for, despite the apparent incongruence of this unexpected pairing, their "Way" and "Rule" are in essence one. The "little way" of St. Therese of the Child Jesus is really nothing less than an utterly radical faith and dependence on Jesus Christ. "Sanctity," she says in her final days, "does not consist in performing such and such acts; it means being ready at heart to become small and humble in the arms of God, acknowledging our weakness and trusting in his fatherly goodness to the point of audacity." (p. 215) Such conviction, expressed while nearly at the point of death, finds its spiritual complement in St. Benedict's "little Rule for beginners": "Let us then never withdraw from discipleship to him, but persevering in his teachings in the monastery till death, let us share the suffering of Christ through patience, and so deserve also to share in his kingdom." (p.Read more ›
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By R. Trexler on May 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
St Benedict & St Therese can be read for several reasons and will appeal to a variety of readers. First, it offers an insightful analysis and comparison of the spirituality of Benedict "The Little Rule" and Therese "The Little Way." On another level, it is offers a practical application of their principles for our own spiritual direction. And to add pleasure to delight, it presents both of these in a VERY well-written, sometimes Chestertonian style. Longenecker often surprises you by reaching past the usual spiritual platitudes for the deeper truths. His manner is sometimes humorous, but never trite. His style is often breezy, but never without weight. Here are two examples:
ON MIRACLES: "The main problem for sophisticated people is not that miracles are incredible, but that they are an error in taste. . . . Benedict and Therese call us to follow a little way, and it may be that for humility to begin growing, our grown-up taste must be the first to go. Miracles, relics, sentimentality, pilgrimages, and wonderful answers to prayer lie at the heart of ordinary religion, and since Benedict and Therese are apostles of the ordinary it is fitting that their religion sits happily among the sentimental, the miraculous, and the tasteless." (p.47-48)
ON OBEDIENCE: "Obedience promises freedom, but there is a huge risk because obedience also threatens the most odious form of slavery. Religious people have an unfortunate taste for Pharisaism, and the call to obedience attracts two kinds of Pharisees - those who love to dominate and those who love to be dominated." (p.86)
Anyone who bemoans the meager fare of 90% of what is currently published to inspire and educate the aspiring Christian, should buy this book to ensure that the more worthy 10% will not disappear forever.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sister Marija on September 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Discovering Dwight Logenecker's book was for me both providential and felicitous. I procured this book to hoping it might enable a friend and devotee of St Therese to share my interest in the monastic spirituality of St. Benedict. (Those who read this book will probably come to it as clients of one or other.) The Benedictine charism is usually equated with Liturgy, schools of impressive erudition and a long monastic history while Therese's seems a simple spirituality, of an incredibly popular saint - and of "roses".

The Little Rule and the Little Way demonstrates the Gospel spirituality of both saints. Benedict and Therese learned humility and simplicity from our Lord who said "Come to Me all you who are weary.. learn of Me for I am meek and humble of heart". Gospel spirituality is the hope of our era. Benedict and Therese seem sent by God to recast the message. Both are apostles of humility and love; both address the ordinary Christian. Each has his/her own style and "wrappings" In his `little Rule' Benedict wants "everything be so arranged that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from" and Therese's `little Way" is for `weak and imperfect souls' - but "to love one must give all, and even one's self", she herself being the model for her serious disciple.

Six modern popes designated these saints as sent by God, given to the Church and humanity at crucial times. [Of course I am happy to find a book that juxtapostions these saints, separated by some 12 hundred centuries.]

St Pius X referred to Therese as "the greatest saint of modern times"; she was for Pius XI "the Star of my Pontificate" and John Paul proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church. In 1947 Pope Pius XII stated "St.
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