Fr. M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. (1931 – 2005) was a Trappist monk and priest. He was a leading Roman Catholic spiritual writer, speaker, teacher, and director. He received a licentiate in Theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) and a licentiate in Canon Law at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Pennington became known internationally as one of the major proponents of the Centering Prayer movement begun at St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts, during the 1970's.


Pennington entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance at St. Joseph's Abbey in June 1951. At St. Joseph's Abbey, he was appointed professor of Theology in 1959, professor of Canon Law and professor of Spirituality in 1963, and Vocation Director in 1978. In 2000, he was appointed Superior at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri, and later that same year, he was elected Abbot of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia. He returned to St. Joseph's Abbey after retiring in 2002. He was related to the Villesviks originating from Norway. He died on June 3, 2005, the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, from injuries sustained from a car accident.


Pennington has published over sixty books, including:

  • "Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form" (1982)
  • "Monastery: Prayer, Work, Community" (1983)
  • "Called: New Thinking on Christian Vocation" (1983)
  • "Daily We Follow Him: Learning Discipleship from Peter" (1987)
  • "Mary Today" (1987)
  • "Living Our Priesthood Today" (1987)
  • "Prayertimes" (1987)
  • "Through the Year with the Saints" (1988)
  • "Monastic Life" (1989)
  • "The Monastic Way" (1990)
  • "The Fifteen Mysteries: In Image and Word" (1993)
  • "Praying by Hand: Rediscovering the Rosary As a Way of Prayer" (1995)
  • "Awake In The Spirit" (1995)
  • "Daily We Touch Him" (1997)
  • "A Place Apart: Monastic Prayer and Practice for Everyone" (1998)
  • "Lectio Divina" (1998)
  • "Centering Prayer in Daily Life and Ministry" (1998)
  • "Centered Living: The Way of Centering Prayer" (1999)
  • "Living in the Question: Meditations in the Style of Lectio Divina" (1999)
  • "True Self/False Self: Unmasking the Spirit Within" (2000)
  • "Eucharist: Wine of Faith, Bread of Life" (2000)
  • "Listening: God's Word for Today" (2000)
  • "The Bread of God: Nurturing a Eucharistic Imagination" (2001)
  • "A School of Love: The Cistercian Way to Holiness" (2001)
  • "The Abbey Prayer Book" (2002)
  • "20 Mysteries of the Rosary: A Scriptural Journey" (2003)
  • "Call to the Center, Revised: Gospel's Invitation to Deeper Prayer" (2003)
  • "Who Do You Say I Am?: Meditations on Jesus' Questions in the Gospels" (2005)

External links

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