This section of the Annex gives a small selection of good books about the Rule of Benedict. For a complete list, see “Suggested Reading” at the back of the book St. Benedict’s Toolbox.

Click on the book that you wish to read more about or purchase on-line.

Translations of the Rule

Fry, Timothy, OSB, edThe Rule of St. Benedict in English. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1982. (small paperback)

This is the translation that is most used in St Benedict’s Toolbox. The language is contemporary and can be readily understood.

McQuiston, John II.   Always We Begin Again. Harrisburg: Morehouse Publishing, 1996.

A wonderful contemporary paraphrase of the Rule organized by topic. A good book to have for reflection and meditation.

Books About the Rule

Chittister, Joan, OSB.   The Rule of St. Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century.  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2010.New York: Crossroad, 1997.

A reissue of Insights for the Ages, Sr. Joan offers many as she unpacks the meaning of the Rule for her readers. The Rule is divided into daily readings with Sr. Joan’s reflections on each. A great book!

Chittister, Joan, OSB.  Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of Benedict Today. San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991.

A beautifully written, thought provoking book that brings the concepts of the Rule and Benedictine spirituality into deep meaning for everyday life. Each chapter covers a key concept in the Rule.

de Waal, Esther.  Living with Contradiction: An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality. Harrisburg: Morehouse, 1997.

This excellent book focuses on the contradictions that this noted author sees in both Christianity and in the spirituality of Rule of Benedict. She addresses the Rule in light of the relationships we have to God, self, others and the world. She discusses the contradictions between solitude through prayer and the need for service in community, stressing how each is needed. At the end of each chapter she gives some wonderful reflection questions. This is the first book on the Rule that I read.

de Waal, Esther.  Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict. The Liturgical Press, 2001.

A classic on the Rule of Benedict. Organized by topic the book covers the key concepts of listening, stability, change, balance, material things, people, authority and prayer. Dr. de Waal gives us not only thorough information and explanations but also beautifully written, reflective writing about the Rule. Republished in 2001, the book contains a Preface by Kathleen Norris.

Taylor, Brian C.  Spirituality for Everyday Living: An Adaptation of the Rule of St. Benedict. Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1989.

An excellent book that gives good overviews of stability, conversion of life, and obedience along with a practical applications of the Rule. The author discusses the important areas of prayer, work and study and then addresses relationship to God, to others and to things. Meditation or discussion questions are included.

Tomaine, Jane.  The 10th Anniversary Edition – St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse, 2005.
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This edition is also available from
Tomaine, Jane.  Living Simply” from the Notes from a Monastery series. St. Meinrad Archabbey.

Jane’s booklet about living more simpy focuses on the Benedictine practice of balance, moderation, attending to the present moment, generosity of spirit and time with God. It is a part of a wonderful series of booklets about the ageless wisdom of the Benedictine way of life from St. Meinrad Archabbey.

Experiencing the Rule

The following selected books have been written by individuals who are oblates of a Benedictine monastery. These books present a contemporary application of the Rule of Benedict in daily life.

Bonomo, Carol.  The Abbey Up the Hill: A Year in the Life of a Monastic Day-Tripper. Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Publishing, 2002.
Norris, Kathleen.  The Cloister Walk. New York: Riverhead Books, 1987.

To Search for Other Books, See These Sites

 Morehouse Publishing
 Liturgical Press