Christian in the World

The Christian in the World Lecture Series is an integrated program of study, prayer and discussion for Catholics who want to live their faith more deeply. The program seeks to help participants gain a more profound understanding of the Scriptures and the Church, and to support lay people in exploring how to live their baptismal vocation in everyday life.


Nature Imagery in the Psalms

The fall 2022 series of Christian in the World is a four-part series by Br. Thomas Buttrick, O.S.B., on images of nature found in the psalms. The opening presentation will be Saturday morning, September 10, in the Abbey library auditorium, from 9:15 to 11:45.

The series will continue on the second Saturday of each month: October 8, November 12, and December 10. Each presentation will be in the Abbey library auditorium from 9:15 to 11:45 am. All are welcome to join the monks for Midday Prayer in the Abbey church following the monthly presentations.

Payment can also be made at the door or by check mailed to:
PO Box 614
Saint Benedict, OR  97373

Please indicate which date(s) you plan to attend, along with your name and contact information, including either an email address or phone number. You may also register and pay on the day of the lecture. Student cost is $20 per season of four lectures, or $5 per lecture. The lectures will be available as audio talks on this web page following the final presentation in December.

For more information about Christian in the World, please call Mary Ann Amsberry 503.769.3844.

Christian in the World archives

Beauty and the Search for God: A Conversation with Monk Artists of Mount Angel
Spring 2022 Panel Discussion

The spring 2022 CITW lecture was a live-streamed panel discussion with four monks of Mount Angel Abbey about faith and beauty. Among the panelists are three monk-artists. Fr. Vincent Trujillo is a master calligrapher; Fr. Teresio Caldwell is a musician and composer; Fr. Novice Jack Shrum writes icons and studied under Br. Claude Lane. Our fourth presenter is Br. Anselm Flores, who works with Fr. Nathan Zodrow, the art curator at Mount Angel, and is part of the monks’ art docent program. Moderating the discussion is Br. Thomas Buttrick.

For Benedictines, art and culture are integral to living a fully human, Christian life. Art is what happens when a person or community faithfully lives the Rule of St. Benedict with intentionality. That’s why, says Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., “a monastery feels like something. To be at Mount Angel feels like something. It’s not indifferent what the architecture is like, what art is placed on the walls, what music is chosen for each liturgy. All that constitutes our environment creates a beautiful cultural environment, a unique Mount Angel monastic environment where arts and culture are accessible and to all who come.”

A Handbook of Healing: The Therapeutic Value of Benedictine Spirituality
Fall 2021 Lecture

Dr. Jeff Thompson, a psychotherapist practicing in Yakima, Washington, and an oblate of Mount Angel Abbey, presents the Fall 2021 Christian in the World program in a three-part video series titled, A Handbook of Healing: The Therapeutic Value of Benedictine Spirituality

We are created to be in the image and likeness of God, yet at some point we realize that we somehow are not quite there. Along the way, we have lost our sense of this self, made to be in the image of God. St. Benedict, in his Holy Rule, offers a path to healing. He tells us, “Return to God.” Through his Holy Rule, St. Benedict provides us a process for our return to wholeness in God.

1. How Did We Get Here? St. Benedict and the Origin of Self
2. Where Are We Now? The Disorders of the Self
3. How Do We Get Where We’re Going? The Repair of the Self

The original presentation was livestreamed from Mount Angel in the fall of 2021. It is available to replay on the Abbey’s YouTube channel.

Developing the Monk Within in a Time of COVID
Spring 2021 Lecture

The spring 2021 Christian in the World lecture, Developing the Monk Within in a Time of COVID: What Monastic Life Can Teach Us About Coping, is a panel discussion on how living with COVID-19 restrictions has been, for some, a time to discover their inner contemplative, their “monk within.” Br. Israel Sanchez, O.S.B., moderates the panel discussion with Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., Br. Thomas Buttrick, O.S.B., and Mount Angel oblates Suzanne Kaufmann and Maizie Redner.

The original presentation was livestreamed from Mount Angel on May 8, 2021. It is available to replay on the Abbey’s YouTube channel.

Dante’s World and Ours
Fall 2020 Lecture Series

The fall 2020 Christian in the World series explores Dante’s Divine Comedy, an allegory about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free. The three lectures, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, are presented by Fr. Stephen Rowan, STB, PhD, and are available to view on Mount Angel’s YouTube channel.

Notes from Fr. Stephen Rowan

Dante was a Christian in the World. In his case, it was the world of the 13th-14th century Florence, Tuscany, and northern Italy. His great text, the Divine Comedy, is a window into his world, showing us characters whose actions earned them a place in one of three states of life after their time on earth: Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise.

If that were all it is, the Comedy would be of interest only to antiquarians or curiosity seekers. But the Comedy is also a mirror reflecting into our own times, showing how Christians in the world can find themselves — even now — under conditions that are very much like Hell, Purgatory, or Paradise. Our age, no less than Dante’s, is plagued by avarice, envy, and pride; like Dante, we have seen abuses of power in state and church; we, too, have wondered how we and our society can become “unstuck” from a tangled up state of soul and find a way out.

Dante’s Comedy is a way of speaking — an allegory — about the soul’s development from being stuck in sin to being free; from being lost to finding its true home; from fumbling in the dark to living with love in the light. It is, in the end and all along the way, a hopeful journey.
With a little guidance about Dante’s themes and style of storytelling, the Divine Comedy, which Dante intended to be a saving message for his own time, can serve the same purpose in ours.

Fr. Stephen Rowan