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Sacred architecture as reality and metaphor in secularised Western society Christian monasteries and convents, built throughout Europe for the best part of 1,500 years, are now at a crossroads. This study attempts to understand the sacred architecture of monasteries as a process of the tangible and symbolic organisation of space and time for religious communities. Despite the weight of seemingly immutable monastic tradition, architecture has contributed to developing specific religious identities and played a fundamental part in the reformation of different forms of religious life according to the changing needs of society. The cloister is the focal point of this book because it is both architecture, a physically built reality, and a metaphor for the religious life that takes place within it. Life Inside the Cloister also addresses the afterlife and heritagisation of monastic architecture in secularised Western society.
Winner (Honourable Mention), 2014 BC Historical Federation Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing. Each year, visitors from all parts of the globe find their way to a sequestered Benedictine monastery in the hills of Mission, BC, and view the art and sculptures that beautify the abbey and its walls. But the man responsible for this work rarely ventures outside the monastery, never mind the province. He is an artist who has seen few of the masterpieces of Western art that inspire him in person; he is a musician who has seldom attended a concert; and he is an intellectual who, at his own insistence, dropped out of high school as early as he could. Acknowledged by some as one of the major British Columbian artists of his generation, Dunstan Massey could have developed a successful public career in Vancouver or Toronto as an artist or musician—or perhaps even as an actor or academic. But none of this happened because at the age of 18 he renounced every one of these possibilities and dedicated his life to God. Daphne Sleigh introduces both the artist and his art in this fascinating and lavishly illustrated new biography.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR “Vivid, compelling... An embrace of moral and spiritual contemplation.” –The New York Times “A remarkable piece of writing. If read with humility and attention, Kathleen Norris's book becomes lectio divina, or holy reading.” –The Boston Globe From the iconic author of Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, a spiritual journey that brings joy to the meanings of love, grace and faith. Why would a married woman with a thoroughly Protestant background and often more doubt than faith be drawn to the ancient practice of monasticism, to a community of celibate men whose days are centered on a rigid schedule of prayer, work, and scripture? This is the question that poet Kathleen Norris asks us as, somewhat to her own surprise, she found herself on two extended residencies at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. Part record of her time among the Benedictines, part meditation on various aspects of monastic life, The Cloister Walk demonstrates, from the rare perspective of someone who is both an insider and outsider, how immersion in the cloistered world-- its liturgy, its ritual, its sense of community-- can impart meaning to everyday events and deepen our secular lives. In this stirring and lyrical work, the monastery, often considered archaic or otherworldly, becomes immediate, accessible, and relevant to us, no matter what our faith may be. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Templars' and Hospitallers' daily business of recruitment, fund-raising, farming, shipping and communal life explored alongside their commitment to crusading.
During the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries a group of monks with occult interests donated what became a remarkable collection of more than thirty magic texts to the library of the Benedictine abbey of St. Augustine’s in Canterbury. The monks collected texts that provided positive justifications for the practice of magic and books in which works of magic were copied side by side with works of more licit genres. In Magic in the Cloister, Sophie Page uses this collection to explore the gradual shift toward more positive attitudes to magical texts and ideas in medieval Europe. She examines what attracted monks to magic texts, in spite of the dangers involved in studying condemned works, and how the monks combined magic with their intellectual interests and monastic life. By showing how it was possible for religious insiders to integrate magical studies with their orthodox worldview, Magic in the Cloister contributes to a broader understanding of the role of magical texts and ideas and their acceptance in the late Middle Ages.
A Social History of the Cloister is a study of life in teaching convents across France through two hundred years of history, a history that provided the beginnings and inspiration for most of today's institutions for the Catholic education of girls.

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