The book would be a valuable addition to the spirituality section of any college or university library.
[P]rovides an introduction to the radiant history of the Benedictines.
American Benedictine Review
The Benedictine Tradition: Spirituality in History compiles writings of notable Benedictines throughout history; the essays reflect the power of faith and individual dedication to service, profound aspects that speak to the reader as strongly today as they did when first written. Highly recommended.
Midwest Book Review
Laura Swan presents Benedictine spirituality through the lives and writings of great saints, scholars, abbots, and martyrs. Swan writes concise essays about 13 Benedictines, along with excerpts from their writings. It’s an excellent way to learn about this great spiritual tradition.
People of the Book
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, O.S.B., 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
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., Saint 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