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Finding Sanctuary: Monastic Steps for Everyday Life

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  471 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, host of the BBC television series The Monastery, suggests the teachings of St. Benedict are a tool for everyday life 'for those who are religious and for those simply searching for spiritual guidance.

The Monastery involved five non-monks living the monastic life for forty days while TV cameras tracked their progress. The
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Liturgical Press (first published 2006)
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Brian Robbins
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Was sent this by a friend and was unsure what to expect. A book to accompany a TV series I didn't see, I probably would not have picked it up of my own accord, but have rarely been so grateful for an unsolicited book sent to me.

Christopher Jamison managed to use the 170 small pages of quite large print to provide a great distillation of learning and wisdom, in a very accessible way. It was full of very helpful and encouraging material, but not at all short on challenge.

One of those books that
Kevin Orth
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It is important to me that a spiritual/religious author have appreciation, respect, and acknowledge systems and beliefs outside the primary focus and practice of the author. Jamison speaks thoroughly and in depth of the Benedictine monastic tradition as well as throughout acknowledging and drawing parallels, pointing out similarities among other traditions. He remains very true and sincere in the path he has chosen and speaks at the same time appreciating the ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book while at Holy Island in England in May, so it will always have a special place in my heart and remind me of my trip. My soul felt called to buy the book. In England, the sacred places just seem a little more sacred than the ones I’m used to in the U.S. They feel like comforting sanctuaries, and that was a feeling I wanted to keep cultivating in my everyday life.

This book took me a while to finish, just because it was not a fast read. I really wanted to spend time with each
Ade Bailey
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirit, reference
Came my way accidentally. I'd put it onto an amazon order before Christmas as a present for someone who liked the Abbot's words, but I found her a signed copy in a local bookshop. So I got it along with my first January order from amazon since I had not deleted the order list. I like it. I saw the TV series, and have a soft spot for Abbots and monasteries. Seven steps to sanctuary. But I fall at the first which is being nice to everyone all the time, and I kind of resent the routine and somewhat ...more
Pat Loughery
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Finding Sanctuary
by Abbot Christopher Jamison
Liturgical Press (2006)

Description of the Book
Modern life is characterized by an overwhelming sense of busyness. The Rule of St. Benedict, written 1500 years ago for an Italian abbey, provides practical insights about Christian living that can be applied today and provide sanctuary from this busyness for everyday people and monastics alike.

Interpretation of the Book
Finding Sanctuary grew out of Abbot Jamison’s experience on the BBC reality TV show
Jan Anne
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
7/15 // Wonderful.
Louise Armstrong
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I read the large print version, which is called Finding Happiness. I think they are the same.

I liked the beginning of this book, as usual, not into the Christian thought. It was interesting how he treated vices as demons - at times personifying them to the point where they have independent life, then shying away from that thought.

I noticed that he placed the blame on Adam and Eve for eating the fruit of knowledge. When I was at the convent (60 years ago!) the blame was Eve's. Wicked Eve, she
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a relatively slim volume which makes a connection between Benedictine spirituality and everyday life- an abiding theme in my reading, but one which fascinates me. The author is the abbot of Worth Abbey- famous for the scene for the BBC reality show- The Monastery. Abbot Christopher references the series at several points and uses it to bounce his ideas about applying monastic wisdom to one's own life.

Abbot Christopher's starts with an examination of today's society and its compulsive
Barbara von der Osten
With a wonderful introduction of the busyness of life we find ourselves in these days, thanks largely to increased consumerism, Abbot Jamison begins the process of building sanctuary, step by step, by “Monastic Steps”. These seven steps are: (1) Silence, (2) Contemplation (prayer and divine reading), (3) Obedience, (4) Humility, (5) Community, (6) Spirituality, and (7) Hope. This is a tremendous guide that makes total sense, logically and intuitively. What a wonderful book, to read over and over ...more
Insights into the Rule of St Benedict and tips of how to apply them to every day life.
Tim Else
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read, very insightful.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, gained an awful lot of insight, well worth a read for religious and non religious alike.
Simon Fermor
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Digs into the contradictions and pressures of modern life and how monastic habits can help one lead a more balanced life.
Anne Kadet
Strong start but preachy toward the end.
Andy Gore
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoughtful exploration of what Sanctuary means as a model for living within the heart of faith and spirituality; or as Jamison would say, religion.
K.B. Walker
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian, 2017-books
This was a thought-provoking read and I look forward to studying it more closely during Lent.
Andrew Doohan
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This a wonderful summary of the beauty and wisdom to be found in the Rule of St Benedict as expressed by someone who has lived that Rule for over forty years.

Inspired by his community's involvement in a BBC TV series entitled The Monastery, and using the imagery of building a sanctuary, Abbot Christopher Jamison draws out the fundamental lessons of the monastic life has for the everyday life of the Christian - or indeed non-believer.

This book is very accessible, very readable, thought-provoking,
Sarah Potter
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago, I watched the TV series The Monastery, in which five very modern men came to live the monastic life for forty days and forty nights. Finding it inspiring, I then bought the book that went with the series, written by the Abbot of that monastery, Christopher Jamison, but never got around to reading it until now.

I have to be in the right mood to read non-fiction and am particularly cautious about what I read about religion, but this book isn't in the least preachy. The Abbot is
Derek Winterburn
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This is book is written out of life of prayer and reflection. Although its occasion was a follow on to a reality TV show - The Monastery it has a timeless quality.

Jamison's artifice is that we can build our own sanctuary by some religious disciplines, usually illustrated from the Rule of Benedict. He is writing specifically to offer guidance to a life less busy. In doing so he gives gentle direction in silence, contemplation, obedience, humility, community, spirituality (Christian) and hope. He
Laura Macdonald
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
The author, who is the Abbot of Worth Abbey in the UK, has many points to make in this book which would be relevent to both the religious and the non-religious. His gentle approach at times, felt like a very clever way to convert me to Christianity, but perhaps that was just my own paranoia, as the advice that he gives applies more to the busy lifestyles which we have willingly and gradually seized, so that most of us feel like we are always either chasing our tails or chasing the wrong dreams, ...more
Charles Gates
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An enjoyable, helpful, instructive book about monastic life and how we who are not monastics but who are interested in spiritual matters might benefit in our daily lives from lessons learned from the experience of monks. The book stems from a British TV series about life in a Catholic monastery (in this case Worth Monastery, a Benedictine monastery not far from London). It's designed to reach out in a friendly and accessible manner to any one, of any Christian sect or even non-Christian, who ...more
Karin Jenkins
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book grew out of the BBC series The Monastery when 5 secular men spent time at Worth Abbey and caused the monks to think about how aspects of their life could be adapted to benefit ordinary people. I don't agree with his thesis that consumerism is the only reason people are too busy - it's part of it but it's more complicated than that! There's a wonderful quote about people " calling whatever appeals to them holy . . "which sounds very modern but turns out to be from the seventh century- ...more
Sep 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
I heard the Audible edition. Those who saw the British TV series, 'The Monastery' will recognise Jamison and Worth Abbey. This book is a helpful and accessible guide for anyone wanting to be nourished by the Benedictine approach to the Christian life. More than information, it opens up experiences and opportunities for the listener or reader. It also offers some thoughts for those who are toying with questions around religion and spirituality and the connection between the two. The Lectio Divina ...more
Richard Sayers
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-to-revisit
I saw this book initially in the English Heritage gift shop of St Augustine's Abbey and some months later after watching "The Monastery" repeats online, purposefully purchased the book. It is a very useful book and one that can be re visited time and time again. Certainly not preachy and is for the common good. Putting some of its hints and tips into practice maybe difficult for some but worth persevering with.
Amy Perry
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
While I'm still on the fence re. God, this book certainly makes a good case for him without being preachy or judgemental, the observations are spot on and beautiful, the book really makes you think and want to change your lifestyle. It was a book I feel glad to have read and while my religion remains an intensly personal thing this book has made those first steps to something else that little bit easier, a beautiful and inspiring piece of work.
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is the best introduction to TRUE CHRISTIAN prayer that I have ever found!!! It is written to a non-Christian audience, so I feel 100% comfortable giving this to anyone I meet. It is non-threatening Christian literature to those who are on the fence or even hostile to Christianity. It gives great commentary on society and culture and teaches the importance of silence and meditation for wherever you are on your spiritual journey.

This book is a one-in-a-million find!!!
An exploration of the Benedictine Rule which does not fall short of ensuring ways of applying this rule to the whole of life are explored. Links in helpfully with the story of the five men who featured in the BBC series "The Monastery" and each chapter ends with good follow up suggestions.

Angela Milne
Sep 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring read, st Benedicts teachings and steps for monastic living are brought out of the monastery into our modern world. Practical methods to assist in creating peace and stillness in our own inner sanctuary within our hectic modern lifestyles. A book which can be read and further studied by all faiths and people of no specific faith. Definitely worth a second or third read.
Dave Lusby
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-non-fiction
As someone who finds it hard to exist without some kind of aural activity taking place, this little 'guide to calm' is really quite useful. Even though the author is a Benedictine Abbot, he manages to avoid being preachy and has written a book for everyone regardless of faith or lack of, who is maybe finding life just too busy, noisy and relentlessly 'on.'
Jan 10, 2012 added it
Shelves: spirituality
Brief meditations on Benedictine spirituality. Central device is use architectural metaphor to consider, chapter by chapter, monastic practices. One chapter on building a door, another on laying the floor, building the walls, etc. Chapter topics include silence, community, obedience, humility, etc. Funny and moving at times.
Regina Heater
Jun 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: god-books
Highly recommended. The author's metaphor of building a sanctuary for one's life using Benedict's Rule is creative and an excellent introduction to the Rule and applying it to the laity. A great resource for a short-term group study, as the chapters are short yet filled with discussion points.
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