This love of learning flows both from our Benedictine patrimony and our Christian inheritance. In an age where most were illiterate, St Benedict's disciples were plunged into, and advanced, a culture of reading, writing and study. Centred on the Word of God, monastic study brings together head and heart in the pursuit of true wisdom rather than simply knowledge. Evagrius wrote, 'If you are a theologian, you will pray truly, and if you pray truly, you are a theologian.'
('Chapters on Prayer', 61).
Closer to our own day, Dame Maria Boulding would remind novices of the Scriptural command that God is to be loved with totality of heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37, cf. Deut. 6:5). From this we can see how study is part of our Christian discipleship and promotes the integral growth of the person made in the image and likeness of a God who is 'all Mind, all Spirit...all Thought, all Word, all Hearing...all Light and the source of everything that is good,' St Irenaeus of Lyons, 'Against Heresies' Bk II, 13, 3.
Etching of Dame Laurentia McLachlan from the Window of the Millennium by Mark Cazalet.
Reproduced courtesy of Dean and Chapter, Worcester Cathedral.