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Basil Pennington

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Title: Basil Pennington  
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Subject: Centering prayer, St. Joseph's Abbey, Massachusetts, Trappists, Contemplative Outreach, Catholic spirituality
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Basil Pennington

Dom 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.

Pennington was an alumnus of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas Angelicum where he obtained a licentiate in Theology in 1959.[1] He also earned 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 1970s.

Pennington's book Centering Prayer was first published in 1980, and had sold more than a million copies by 2002.[2][3][4] Translations of this work have been published in Spanish,[5] French,[6] Polish,[7] Portuguese,[8] and Italian.[9]


  • Life 1
  • Bibliography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Pennington entered the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, from injuries sustained from a car accident.

McGinn wrote that Pennington "not only wrote effectively about centering prayer, but he also traveled across the United States and the world spreading the practice through lectures and workshops. The renewal of contemplative prayer in the last decades of the twentieth century owes much to these efforts."[10]:98

In Pennington's obituary, McGinn stated that "For those who never met Basil Pennington, reading the published form of the journal he kept during [a visit to Mount Athos[11]] will provide a good sense of the man in all his humanity and irrepressible goodwill."[10]:98


Pennington has published over sixty books, including:

  • Pennington, M. Basil (1980). Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. (222 pages)  
  • 1982 edition by Image (Garden City, NY): ISBN 978-0-385-18179-2 (254 pages)
  • 1989 edition by St. Paul Publications: ISBN 978-971-504-344-1 (222 pages)
  • 1998 edition by St. Pauls: ISBN 978-81-7109-357-1 (219 pages)
  • 2001 edition by Doubleday (New York, NY): ISBN 0-385-18179-5 (260 pages)
  • "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)


  1. ^ Accessed 30 August, 2013
  2. ^ Lynn Garrett & Jeff Zaleski (2002). "Writings of spiritual leaders.".  
  3. ^ Jana Reiss & Jeff Zaleski (2002). "Religion notes".  
  4. ^  . On page 275: "Father Pennington helped formulate Centering Prayer... and his book Centering Prayer has sold over 1 million copies throughout the world."
  5. ^ Pennington, M. Basil (1986). La oración centrante: renovación de una antigua manera de orar (in Spanish). (Carmen Fernández Aguinaco, trans.). Narcea.   (235 pages)
  6. ^ Pennington, M. Basil (2006). La prière de silence: Renouveler une forme traditionnelle de prière chrétienne (in French). (Bernard Dionne, trans.). Novalis.   (261 pages)
  7. ^ Pennington, M. Basil (2003). Modlitwa prowadząca do środka: Powrót do starochrześcijańskiej metody modlitwy (in Polish). Homini.   (280 pages)
  8. ^ Pennington, M. Basil (2002). Oração Centrante (in Portuguese). Palas Athena.   (296 pages)
  9. ^ Pennington, M. Basil (2007). Preghiera centrica (in Italian). Gribaudi.  
  10. ^ a b  
  11. ^ M. Basil Pennington, O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978)

External links

  • Works by or about Basil Pennington in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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