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Benedictine Men and Women of Courage: Roots and History Paperback – November 17, 2014
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From the Back Cover
Explore the intrigue, controversy, courage and inspiration of fifteen centuries of global monastic life.
From the early desert to the present, this fast-paced book surveys the vast landscape of saints, scholars, mystics and reformers whose impact continues to shape worldwide monastic life. As 21st-century challenges intensify, these monastic roots offer global Christianity insight not only into its past but also into its emerging future.
"As the issues of monastic life and history only become more and more complex, Sister Ann Kessler is one of the foundational voices we need to hear. Without this wide-ranging and inclusive chronicle, the history of fifteen centuries of monasticism is left with a very valuable missing piece."
--Joan Chittister, O.S.B.
--Benet Tvedten, O.S.B.
"This book is not only a vast treasury of Benedictine history, but is a valuable resource for scholars interested in social, intellectual, cultural and gender studies."
--L. S. Domonkos, Ph.D.
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The reader comes to know the major figures, male and female, that have shaped the development of the Benedictines. Kessler does not minimize their very human qualities. Rather she presents them as complex humans with both virtues and foibles, moments of unity and of dissension. Not only are there internal struggles over the centuries, but the monasteries are also subject to the fluctuation of the political tides, both within the Church and within the various countries where they are located. Yet this Rule continues to guide monks, nuns, oblates, and others around the world despite its periods of "change, adaptation, decline, restoration and renewal" across the centuries.
This book serves an important function in putting together in one place a comprehensive history of the Benedictine. Over the years many accounts have failed to include the influence of the numerous women and their monasteries that are part of the Benedictine story. This history remedies that problem. In addition the author provides extensive endnotes and bibliography for further research.
Having had the opportunity to live in Benedictine monasteries in Peru and the United States, I was fascinated to learn more about individuals I had heard mentioned and about their influence, as well as gain a more comprehensive understanding of the trajectory of their history. The book is highly readable. I would caution, though, that it is not for the casual reader, but serves as a valuable resource for scholars and anyone with a deep interest in Benedictine history.
by Barbara Heming
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women