The Forgotten Desert Mothers: Sayings, Lives, and Stories of Early Christian Women

Paulist Press
3
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In introducing readers to the sayings, lives, stories, and spirituality of women in the early Christian desert and monastic movement, the author finally sets the record straight that women played an important, influential role in early Christianity. The book journeys between desert, monastery, and city to reveal the stories of ascetics and solitaries whose stories rarely are heard.
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About the author

Laura Swan, O.S.B., writer and spiritual director, holds graduate degrees in theology and spirituality. She is a member and former prioress of Saint Placid Priory in Lacey, Washington, and is the author of Engaging Benedict: What the Rule Can Teach Us Today (Christian Classics, 2005).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Paulist Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2001
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Pages
218
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ISBN
9780809140169
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Antiquities & Archaeology
Religion / Christianity / History
Religion / Monasticism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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When St. Benedict wrote his ?little rule for beginners? in the fifth century, he could not have known it would shape the lives of religious men and women for more than fifteen hundred years. Offering instruction on prayer and community life, Benedict?s Rule espouses the values of humility, prayer, and hospitality that have marked the lives of Benedictines throughout the ages. Benedictines are those persons who commit themselves to the Rule of Benedict, and have been popes and widows, scholars and mystics and lay people from many religious traditions, including Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans. They have lived in monasteries and ashrams, in busy urban centers, and in desert hermitages. Dedicated to God and the practices of the Liturgy of the Hours and monastic life, Benedictines have made significant contributions to chant, theology, and the preservation of spiritual works of literature and scholarship. Represented here is the work of major Benedictine figures throughout the ages, beginning with Pope Gregory?s account of the life of Benedict and arriving at recent statements by the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses on conflict in the world. Along with the Rule, the writing of these Benedictines remains as relevant today as in any age. ?Swan and Zagano?s book is a useful starting point for anyone seeking to explore the Benedictine tradition through selected primary texts with biographical introductions. It is accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and will urge them to launch out into other depths of discovery, where they will come to know more fully the author?s claim that ?Benedictine spirituality is enjoying a renaissance.?? S. Ephrem Hollermann, OSB Associate Professor of Theology College of Saint Benedict/Saint John?s University?Sr. Laura Swan?s The Benedictine Tradition is a lovely resource of Benedictine riches for anyone who desires to go more deeply into the nature of the Benedictine life of the spirit. From a 1500-year tradition, she has lovingly selected fourteen figures or groups, each representing a significant quality of Benedictine life. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Benedict?s Rule giving a clue to the quality for which this Benedictine is chosen. A very useful and helpful introduction to teach figure follows, along with some lovely selections from each one?s writings. I found myself slowing down as I read, to be nourished at leisure by the profound words of these persons committed to the Benedictine way. Sr. Laura closes with a chapter quoting from Benedictine prioresses as they reflect in writing on the monastic tradition in light of the demands of contemporary society. Those reflections offer a mirror for the whole of Sr. Laura?s book, which serves as a meditiation on how to be ?in but not of the world,? as a witness and sign of the love of Christ.? Norvene Vest Spiritual Director and Author ?Laura Swan?s eminently useful and enjoyable anthology fills an important gap in contemporary sources for the study of Benedictine spirituality. It stimulates a taste for the multiple, rich expressions of that fifteen century tradition and could well be a handbook for further study. This small volume includes a succinct historical overview of the tradition along with short biographies of some major teachers and writers as context for what can necessarily be only a few well-chosen, brief but substantial and often inspiring, selections from original text. I recommend it for college students, those beginning or renewing their monastic life, Benedictine oblates, and anyone looking for a sure guide to the basic but varied contour of Benedictine history and spirituality.? Katherine Howard, O.S.B. St. Benedict?s Monastery St. Joseph, Minnesota ?In her new book The Benedictine Tradition, Laura Swan has gathered together a very useful collection of readings. Since these selections are gleaned from her own practice of lectio divina, they will prove fruitful for the lectio of others. She has not contented herself with the usual well-known authors, but has ranged far and wide for her anthology. So we hear not only from Pope Gregory, but also from Raissa Maritain; not only from Venerable Bede, but also from Bede Griffiths. Finally , Sister Laura gives us more than little snippets; she gives us substantial excerpts for our spiritual nourishment.? Terrence Kardong, O.S.B. Assumption Abbey Richardton, North Dakota
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When St. Benedict wrote his ?little rule for beginners? in the fifth century, he could not have known it would shape the lives of religious men and women for more than fifteen hundred years. Offering instruction on prayer and community life, Benedict?s Rule espouses the values of humility, prayer, and hospitality that have marked the lives of Benedictines throughout the ages. Benedictines are those persons who commit themselves to the Rule of Benedict, and have been popes and widows, scholars and mystics and lay people from many religious traditions, including Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, and Lutherans. They have lived in monasteries and ashrams, in busy urban centers, and in desert hermitages. Dedicated to God and the practices of the Liturgy of the Hours and monastic life, Benedictines have made significant contributions to chant, theology, and the preservation of spiritual works of literature and scholarship. Represented here is the work of major Benedictine figures throughout the ages, beginning with Pope Gregory?s account of the life of Benedict and arriving at recent statements by the Conference of Benedictine Prioresses on conflict in the world. Along with the Rule, the writing of these Benedictines remains as relevant today as in any age. ?Swan and Zagano?s book is a useful starting point for anyone seeking to explore the Benedictine tradition through selected primary texts with biographical introductions. It is accessible to readers of all backgrounds, and will urge them to launch out into other depths of discovery, where they will come to know more fully the author?s claim that ?Benedictine spirituality is enjoying a renaissance.?? S. Ephrem Hollermann, OSB Associate Professor of Theology College of Saint Benedict/Saint John?s University?Sr. Laura Swan?s The Benedictine Tradition is a lovely resource of Benedictine riches for anyone who desires to go more deeply into the nature of the Benedictine life of the spirit. From a 1500-year tradition, she has lovingly selected fourteen figures or groups, each representing a significant quality of Benedictine life. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Benedict?s Rule giving a clue to the quality for which this Benedictine is chosen. A very useful and helpful introduction to teach figure follows, along with some lovely selections from each one?s writings. I found myself slowing down as I read, to be nourished at leisure by the profound words of these persons committed to the Benedictine way. Sr. Laura closes with a chapter quoting from Benedictine prioresses as they reflect in writing on the monastic tradition in light of the demands of contemporary society. Those reflections offer a mirror for the whole of Sr. Laura?s book, which serves as a meditiation on how to be ?in but not of the world,? as a witness and sign of the love of Christ.? Norvene Vest Spiritual Director and Author ?Laura Swan?s eminently useful and enjoyable anthology fills an important gap in contemporary sources for the study of Benedictine spirituality. It stimulates a taste for the multiple, rich expressions of that fifteen century tradition and could well be a handbook for further study. This small volume includes a succinct historical overview of the tradition along with short biographies of some major teachers and writers as context for what can necessarily be only a few well-chosen, brief but substantial and often inspiring, selections from original text. I recommend it for college students, those beginning or renewing their monastic life, Benedictine oblates, and anyone looking for a sure guide to the basic but varied contour of Benedictine history and spirituality.? Katherine Howard, O.S.B. St. Benedict?s Monastery St. Joseph, Minnesota ?In her new book The Benedictine Tradition, Laura Swan has gathered together a very useful collection of readings. Since these selections are gleaned from her own practice of lectio divina, they will prove fruitful for the lectio of others. She has not contented herself with the usual well-known authors, but has ranged far and wide for her anthology. So we hear not only from Pope Gregory, but also from Raissa Maritain; not only from Venerable Bede, but also from Bede Griffiths. Finally , Sister Laura gives us more than little snippets; she gives us substantial excerpts for our spiritual nourishment.? Terrence Kardong, O.S.B. Assumption Abbey Richardton, North Dakota
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