Dwelling in the Wilderness: Modern Monks in the American West (Paperback)

Dwelling in the Wilderness: Modern Monks in the American West By Jason M. Brown Cover Image
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days


What might the lives of contemporary monastics teach us about putting down roots? Whereas many of us are constantly on the go, stressed out, and focused on productivity, the life of a monk prioritizes staying put and paying attention. Many monks take a vow of stability that commits them to their home monastery, leading them to develop a deep connection with and knowledge of the land they inhabit. The monastic life teaches those who practice it to move more slowly through the world, and the monastic sense of place may even hold a key to responding to the growing ecological crisis threatening our environment.

Dwelling in the Wilderness examines how contemporary Benedictine Roman Catholic monks in the American West fall in love with their landscapes and how, in troubled times, we might do the same. Jason Brown travels to four monasteries--the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur, California; the Abbey of Our Lady of New Clairvaux in Vina, California; Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey in Carlton, Oregon; and the Monastery of Christ in the Desert in Abiquiu, New Mexico--and spends time with the monks there, following their daily routine of prayer and tending to the land. He learns how the places they inhabit are essential to their daily spiritual practice and how they construct deeper theological meaning from the natural world.

Illustrated with Brown's photography of monastic landscapes, his journey as a pilgrim anthropologist is astute, insightful, and intimate. He explores theories of environmental perception, philosophy, and symbolic landscapes in accessible language. Bringing theological reflection to the power of contemplative ecology in an era many are calling the Anthropocene, or the age of human domination, he leads us to reconsider our relationship with our natural homes.

About the Author

Jason M. Brown is a lecturer in the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. He holds a doctoral degree in resources, environment, and sustainability from the University of British Columbia and joint master's degrees from Yale University in forestry and ecology. He lives in Vancouver and blogs at holyscapes.org.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781595349798
ISBN-10: 1595349790
Publisher: Trinity University Press
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2024
Pages: 176
Language: English


Digital Audio Books

Get a Gift Card

Gift Cards

Nine Stores in Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties

Petaluma Store

140 Kentucky Street
click for hours & info


140 Kentucky Street
click for hours & info

Sebastopol Store

138 N.Main Street
click for hours & info

Santa Rosa Store

(Montgomery Village)
775 Village Court
click for hours & info

Healdsburg Store

104 Matheson Street
click for hours & info

Napa Store

1300 First Street, Suite 398

click for hours & info

Calistoga Store

1330 Lincoln Avenue
click for hours & info

San Rafael Store

1200 4th Street

click for hours & info

Novato Store

999 Grant Avenue
Suite 105
(415) 763-3052
click for hours & info

Larkspur Store
2419 Larkspur Landing Circle
(415) 870-9843
click for hours & info

Headquarters (Offices)

139 Edman Way 
click for hours & info