304 pages
Paperback Original













Mark W. McGinnis
The Wisdom of the
Benedictine Elders

Thirty of America’s Oldest Monks and Nuns Share Their Lives’ Greatest Lessons
Foreword by Joan Chittister

Thirty elders of the Benedictine Order, all born between 1901 and 1925 and at home in thirty monasteries and convents across the country, share their touching and thought-provoking life stories—from the everyday rhythm and ritual of prayer and work, solitude and community, sanctity and humor, to the most challenging moments of questioning, uncertainty, and tribulation, but also to moments of infinite inner peace and mystical joy.

They tell us candidly, and with great gentleness, when and why they decided to enter the cloistered world, how the Benedictine Rule and tradition serve as foundations for their spiritual and physical lives, their celebration of the sacredness of everyday objects and chores, and their hopes for the future.

An intimate, vibrant, and deeply moving portrait of monastic life in America today, The Wisdom of the Benedictine Elders is an immensely nourishing encounter with thirty exceptional women and men and an inspirational journey into their hearts, minds, and souls.

“Wisdom is the essential quality of life to be cultivated, not simply skills or devotions or degrees. The Rule of Benedict itself is a piece of wisdom literature. It concentrates on the major questions of life, not on the mechanics of life. This book sets out to tap the roots of that wisdom.”
Joan Chittister, from the Foreword

“This is a beautiful book. Anyone who reads these stories will appreciate the wisdom that is imparted by elders who never strayed from the path prepared by St. Benedict.”
Brother Benet Tvedten, author of The View from a Monastery

“This is a wonderfully nourishing book full of honest and inspired insights...Readers will find warmth, clarity, and a spark of the divine in these lives.”
Katharine Le Mée, author of Chant