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Building the Benedict Option: A Guide to Gathering Two or Three Together in His Name

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Building the Benedict Option is a combination spiritual memoir and practical handbook for Christians who want to build communities of prayer, socialization, and evangelization in the places where they live and work.

Beginning when the author was a new convert, she desired more communal prayer and fellowship than weekly Mass could provide. She surveyed her friends--busy, you
Paperback, 170 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Ignatius Press
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4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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As a single grad student in an isolating environment where most of my friends are below the poverty line, I really needed this practical, adaptable guide to building community while facing exactly those challenges. To say that this book's wisdom seems obvious isn't to take away from how thoughtful and brilliant it is—but rather to highlight just how good Leah is at saying old things (let us gather, let us pray) in new ways (okay but here's how you do that if you can't cook or are really introver ...more
Jeff Miller
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review coming.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-lds-religion
A full book of Leah doing what Leah does best: bringing the deeply meaningful to the practical level, and teaching how to make practical suggestions deeply meaningful. And she doesn't just give logistical suggestions; she knows that she's somewhat idiosyncratic, so she illuminates the *principles and questions* upon which she has coalesced little local communities to empower the reader to design his own intimate, faithful community.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Creating a social movement is hard. Creating a social movement of conservatives is even harder, since for the most part progressives derive much of life’s meaning from social action, while conservatives just want to live their lives. For three years now, Rod Dreher has rung the alarm bell of his Benedict Option, warning that the hour is late, and Moloch is within the gates. Many are listening and receptive, even eager. But the Benedict Option faces challenges, of which the first is inertia, sinc ...more
Shannon Gormley
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I readily enjoyed this book. While people are attacking the concept of the Benedict Option, I feel like this book sidesteps that drama and plunges you into the trials and triumphs of actually creating Catholic community. I have spent the majority of my life in parish ministry trying to do just that, so it was refreshing to read such a book. Put prayer at the center of your friendships and you'd be amazed at how the Holy Spirit is unleashed in your life and your parish.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is such a tonic: cheerful, practical, and encouraging. I generally think Rod Dreher is on track with the Benedict Option, but his book has a tendency to gloom. So this makes a good and welcome companion volume.

I love practicing hospitality, and my husband and I have been intentional about offering our home as a place for community to be rooted, so I appreciated Libresco's practical wisdom, both in dealing with others-- there's always that one socially inept person you struggle to love-
Though I'm not convinced that Christians need a specific "Benedict Option," Libresco's book is great for anyone who wants to cultivate more community and fellowship in their lives. Opening our homes and lives to each other in many contexts will help us overcome the loneliness and isolation of our age. Libresco includes many examples of events she has hosted, from a poetry recitation night to a small gathering of people applying to jobs together, that inspired me to think of hospitality and fello ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book as a companion to Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option. If the Benedict Option is the treatise on the what, this is a book on the how. Leah's style is easy to read and follow and she offers plenty of personal examples to illustrate her "Little Way" of the Benedict Option. I very much recommend this book for those interested in fostering more Christian community.
Natalie Votipka
A BenOp book with nary a “head for the hills” vibe. It’s much less about escaping than it is about the value (and how-tos) of Christians being meaningfully present to one another on a day to day basis.

The author is a young professional but I found her suggestions quite relevant for families, too. It’s a good mix of practical suggestions and insightful reflection. I especially appreciated her thoughts on seeking community even in transitory states of life.

I consider myself a fairly capable reade
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great ideas, not immediately applicable to the area where I live and the age group, but the basic ideas are good. Also, not sure why she included non-Christians as I thought the plan was to preserve the faith through the moral darkness we are currently enduring, as St. Benedict did in the 6th century. Still, I do have some ideas and also either confirmation that the problems I’ve experienced with past groups were not uncommon as well as ideas for how to fix them.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good practical book on living the Benedict Option and intentional Christian community. Great practical ideas I will use.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
NOTE: This book is based off "The Benedict Option" by Rod Dreher, which I have not read. I don't think you have to read that book to appreciate this one. I found this book very relatable and balanced, not about retreating from the world, as come critics claim of Dreher's book.

4.5 stars

I've been reading several hospitality books recently, and I finally stumbled across a Catholic one! For the first 2/3 of this book, I found myself saying "Yes" over and over. Some of the issues she discusses are th
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Christian women
In August, Ignatius Press released Building the Benedict Option: A Guide to Gathering Two or Three in His Name by Leah Libresco. In 163 pages, Libresco takes the reader through her vision, experience and practical tips for making the Benedict Option within reach.
Citing smart authors with smart words in lucid language Libresco makes the case that the concept is better understood as not a call to withdraw out of our physical communities but to go deeper spiritually wherever we are, to recognize t
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am one of dozens of urban professionals who found myself practicing my faith in a very lonely way when I first moved to the city. It seems daunting to build a community of faithful from scratch in a new city, but that's precisely why the world needs more Leah Librescos, who understand that building community can be as simple as inviting everyone over for stew and a five hour Shakespeare marathon (if that be your poison). This book argues that we are stronger and happier Christians when we prac ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really good book on how to build up community in the church today. Many Catholic churches have parishioners who don't even know each other's names and have a complete lack of connectivity with each other. The author outlines lots of good community building ideas that parishes would be well advised to implement. Many Protestant churches already utilize the concept of small groups and Leah's book outlines good ways for catholic parishes to implement similar small groups in their local co ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, spirituality
Reading this book in the wake of the Pennsylvania report & church scandal makes the Benedict Option all the more appealing and important. I enjoyed reading about the author’s personal quest to create a Christian community rooted in fellowship, evangelization and prayer by opening her home to regular “events.” These were not a replacement of Mass/sacraments/church teaching but a complement - to strengthen each other in the same way the very first Christian communities would have done. I think ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
May be helpful for those who are already attracted to the idea of hosting medium to large size gatherings, but it is unconvincing for the reader not already inclined to do so. Libresco touches on quite a few topics with efficiency, but not deeply. She is obviously well-researched but it seems like Building the Benedict Option, perhaps due to its relative brevity, does not share the fruits of that research.

Her thoughts on hospitality and its benefits for both host and guest are well constructed,
K Aust
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This... was not about the Benedict Option..? Libresco is obviously very smart (she makes sure you know it), but I don’t see how suggestions for throwing pretentious intellectual parties has anything to do with the BenOp. In fact, she continually mentions non-Catholics (people who are openly hostile to prayer, pro-choicers) and how to include them. ????? I read Dreher’s book, and this feels like the opposite of his point. I don’t get it. Also - if you are not an extrovert, it’s super hard to rela ...more
Mar 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This book had some good ideas for building Christian community but it seemed like it was geared towards extroverts without small children. As an introvert with a small child I found it difficult to find the suggestions (many of which involved hosting large social gatherings) applicable to my temperament/life situation.
Rebecca Vanecek Gerhard
This book does expand on the ideas of the Benedict Option, but mostly for young adults or those just starting family. I would love to see a revised edition in 10 years with ideas that would include lots of children.
E.H.  Holguin
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Going into this book, I was very skeptical of the Benedict Option. Leah Libresco did a great job of helping me realize that I was misunderstanding what the Benedict Option is, and how I can better incorporate the charism of hospitality into my life.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is very clear and occasionally helpful, but I'm really not the right reader for it. I lack too many of Libresco's cultural touchstones and religious commitments. But I would buy this in a heartbeat for a 20- or 30-something nerdy Catholic without children living in a big city.
Rick Shafer
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really helpful book for seeing church as community. I am not Roman Catholic, so there was some sifting of principles for me but I'm very glad I found this book and I have passed it to others.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A well written and resonate book on the topic of creating real community in the here and now.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Some interesting ideas here. Would be good for a study group.
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We are preparing to begin a small group / dinner group in our home soon, hoping to live out Acts 2:42 and build community.

This book is excellent heart and practical preparation.
Trisha Hones
rated it it was amazing
Jan 13, 2019
James Perkins
rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2018
Moriah Speciale
rated it liked it
Sep 06, 2018
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I grew up as an atheist on Long Island. When I went to college, I picked fights with the most interesting wrong people I could find — which turned out to be the campus Catholics.

After reading an awful lot of books, years of late-night debates (the kinds that tended to include sentences like “Ok, imagine for the moment that God is a cylinder…”), and a fair amount of blogging, I was surprised but pl