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Friend of the Soul

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About the Author

NORVENE VEST is the author of Preferring Christ, Bible Reading for Spiritual Growth, and No Moment Too Small: Rhythms of Silence, Prayer, and Holy Reading. An oblate of a Benedictine abbey in Valyermo, California, she leads workshops and retreats on Benedictine spirituality in the United States and Britian. Every summer she and her husband lead a Benedictine Fortnight in England and Wales. For more information, please see her website,


Norvene Vest ... views work as a holy endeavor-as vocation, stewardship, and obedience. The spiritual understanding of work, which has been operative in Benedictine monasteries around the world, sees our labor as an expression of our God-given gifts and talents. It contributes to the upbuilding of community, and it incarnates the process of serving others. Vest challenges us to unite work and prayer and, by so doing, to extend the kingdom of God. -- Frederic A. Brussat The Cultural Information Service Like Benedict, Vest applies Scripture to a workplace that little resembles biblical settings. Far from prescribing a motivational bromide to the dispirited worker, the author develops a plausible approach to sanctifying workplace relationships, tools and tasks. Cathedral Age Given the raised profile and significance of work among those who have jobs and the increasing number of people who are prevented from gaining employment owing to structural changes in the labor market, the Church must direct its energies to developing a holistic theology of work and employment. Norvene Vest has given us a valuable building block. Friend of the Soul is recommended reading. St. Mark's Review Friend of the Soul brings a book-length treatment to the popular examination of what it means to 'work and pray...' There is clearly a theology under the practice and Norvene has brought her usual thoughtful and practical eye to this. The American Monastic Newsletter A well-known interpreter of the Bendictine way, Oblate Norvene Vest articulates with empathy and clarity the anguish of those who desire their work to be life-giving and meaningful... By focusing on these timeless Benedictine principles of vocation, stewardship, and obedience, she gives the working reader a sense of inner stabilility in an increasingly chaotic workplace, and a higher vision, a place to stand from which to take risks and offer hope to the walking wounded of today's marketplace. Benedictines

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