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Around the Monastic Table -- RB 31-42
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About the Author

Aquinata Boeckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant' Anselmo. She is the author of Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Around the Monastic Table, and A Listening Community, all published by Liturgical Press.

Reviews

Students of the Rule of St. Benedict will find a wise resource on practicalities for living a disciplined life, flowing from a deep, reflective study on its content.Horizons
. . . offers rich fare for all who strive to live according to Benedict's wisdom. Around the Monastic Table leads us into a deeper understanding of our monastic practices and traditions and invites us to live them accordingly.Cistercian Studies Quarterly
This is a . . . remarkable book.PAX
[T]his volume is one of the most significant and engaging works in recent memory on the ethics of food and eating within the life of the Church community.The Englewood Review of Books
Aquinata Boeckmann has the rare combination of highly-skilled textual analysis and sensitivity to the lived experience of Benedictine monastic life. This combination makes her work uniquely valuable as a contemporary exploration of the Rule rooted in the text and its sources. Her topic is aptly chosen, since Benedict's traditional model of family dining is an `endangered species' of social interaction today, even in monasteries. Following Benedict's lead in the Rule, Sister Aquinata situates eating together within a network of monastic social connections related to the use and sharing of material goods. Food, drink, tools, care for one another: all of these converge at the common table, like the monastic community itself. As she traces each thread of this intricate network, Sister Aquinata shares her lifetime of study and personal engagement with this most basic source of the western monastic tradition.Father Columba Stewart, OSB, DPhil, Vice-President
Sr. Aquinata Boeckmann's book Around the Monastic Table is a precise commentary on the chapters in RB which deal with the practical details of daily living. Her years of dedicated scholarship and of living the Rule have yielded high dividends for the advantage of the ordinary reader. Rather than write an academic treatise or merely tell us what Benedict says, the author invites us to accompany her on a journey of discovery. Without demanding more preparation than the average reader has, she works us hard so that we can come to see for ourselves something of the subtle wisdom of Saint Benedict, expressed in his ordering of daily life. The resulting insights are profoundly satisfying. The author is to be congratulated on the effectiveness of her pedagogical approach. An important book on less commonly treated aspects of Benedictine spirituality.Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO, Tarrawarra Abbey, Yarra Glen, Australia
The table Sister Aquinata Boeckmann spreads in her commentary on chapters 31-42 of the Rule of St. Benedict offers choice food for the mind, the soul, and the heart. Her detailed exegesis of the text of these chapters is enriched by her full and deep knowledge of the whole monastic tradition. Her understanding of the human heart and the human community is equally full and deep. Monastic readers will find here an exposition of the tradition that instructs and a compassion for humanity that moves the heart to deeper monastic commitment. Other readers will recognize the truth of Sister Aquinata's understanding of humanity in Christ and find inspiration for living fully human lives.Sister Shawn Carruth, OSB
With skill and "heart," Sister Aquinata Boeckmann uncovers in chapters 31-42 of the Rule of Benedict a comprehensive spiritual vision mirrored in the image of the common table. While one could easily miss the profound connections in these seemingly disparate chapters of the Rule, Boeckmann's meticulous and critical analysis of these chapters as if they were a unified whole, uncovers the truth that in Benedictine monastic living, liturgy, common meals, and daily service belong together as do the oratory, refectory, and workplace.Sr. Ephrem Hollermann, OSB, PhD, Associate Professor of Theology, Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University, St. Joseph, Minnesota

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