Elders of the Benedictines:
A Portrait and Interview Project

Father Alban Boultwood, O.S.B., b. 1911

Father Alban Boultwood, O.S.B.Father Alban is the retired abbot of the Benedictine community at Saint Anselm's Abbey in Washington DC.

Q: Is there any part of the Rule of Saint Benedict that has special significance for you?

A: . . . The Rule is not superficial; it does not prescribe arbitrary pieties or mortifications. It is concerned with the gospel ideals of following Christ in simplicity and poverty, with a practical daily routine. It tries to establish a reality, not just talk of ideals. We indeed need ideals, but we cannot live on ideals. We need to live on the level of humble reality. Indeed the Rule anticipates all sorts of failures but encourages perseverance. G. K. Chesterton said, in typical paradox, "If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly." When the ideals are so high, the call so insistent, then it's worth setting out on the way, even though we may fall short in attainment. I find both the spirit and the humanity of the Rule helpful and attractive. . . .

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