home page links quotes statistics mission statement success stories resources Lighter Side Authors! Search Page
Posted March 27, 2007

Monasticism and Benedict are
the Rage of the Day! But Why?

The Monastic Movement, and especially the Benedictine Movement is being revisited today with a new vigor, even among the Protestants. Jennifer Trafton, the editor of Christian History and Biography traces the reasons for this in telling us:

“Not long ago a church history professor at a prominent Protestant seminary remarked to us, “No topic touches young students more than monasticism.” Surprised? We were. Why monasticism? Why now?

In 1996 Kathleen Norris’s Cloister Walk [cited on our website] the quiet memoir of a Protestant woman’s experience in a Benedictine monastery, became an unexpected New York Times bestseller. In recent years, monastic spiritual disciplines such as lectio divina, a way of meditating on Scripture, have enjoyed newfound popularity among laypeople — seen, for example, in Eugene Peterson’s Eat This Book, published by Eerdman’s in 2006. In the midst of a frenetic, fragmented culture that glorifies independence, busyness, and material gain, many are seeking out a counter culture lifestyle that values prayer, silence, simplicity, liturgy, hospitality, community, and care for the poor.

Just do a quick search on Amazon.com and you’ll see what I mean. Titles like Seeking God: The Way of Benedict, St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living, or How to Be a Monastic an Not Leave Your Day Job all testify to the fact that people are finding something they long for in the simple ideals of the pioneering sixth-century monk Benedict of Nursia and the movement he sparked. And they are struggling to know how to apply those ideals in the rough and tumble 21st century.