Reviews of Catholic and Benedictine books

"Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future". By Margaret J. Wheatley; Berrett-Koehler Pub. Inc., 2002.

In the opening sentence to this book the author states, “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again.” Written in short segments of quotations, stories and personal experiences it is an easy book to read in snatches, to read in those in between or waiting moments. It is a book that encourages the reader to stop reading, to reflect, and to take action.

-Review by Belinda Hill

"St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living". By Jane Tomaine; Morehouse Pub., 2005.

The author states in the welcome page,

“St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living" is designed to teach about the Rule of Benedict and to help you, the reader, (and me, the writer!) bring what we learn about this sixth-century monastic Rule into everyday twenty-first century life. As you read, you’ll discover just how much of his Rule can increase the quality of our lives by giving us 'tools' that we can use to, in Benedict’s words, 'open our eves to the light that comes from God.'” (pp. xiii-xiv).

Specifically, the book reflects on the Benedictine values of community, reflection, listening, stability, hospitality, openness and transformation, stewardship, work, service, and prayer. Each chapter pertains to one or more of the values (aspects) of the Rule, the application to everyday life, some specific activities related to the particular value, and how the Rule can be useful to all individuals.

-Review by Joyce Westgard

"The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders". By Mark McGinnis, with a foreword by Joan Chittister; Bluebridge, 2005.

"The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders" by Mark W. McGinnis compiles interviews with 30 Benedictine monks and nuns born between 1901 and 1925, including our own Fr. Clement Pangratz from Saint Martin's Abbey. These first-person accounts are frank, lucid, and inspirational in their stories about life before the monastery, reasons they became Benedictines, current monastic traditions, and hopes for the future. An important book for anyone interested in the wisdom that comes from those who have lived their lives by the Rule of Saint Benedict.

-Review by Olivia Archibald