SUGGESTION: Wilfrid Stinissen OCD

Page 1 of 1 (4 items)
This post has 3 Replies | 1 Follower

Posts 8899
fgh | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Dec 30 2013 8:15 PM

(Please excuse the length, but he is worth it!)

A month ago today* (very fittingly the last day of the church year), Sweden lost its greatest spiritual writer and director, as Br Wilfrid Stinissen OCD** left us for the Great Meeting he'd longed for his entire life.

This is a man who came to Sweden to live a secluded life in a "desert monastery" in the middle of nowhere, who rarely left it, and who never wanted to be a writer, yet ended up publishing about 30  books (translated into 20-odd languages), spending thousands of hours giving direction to those who searched him out, and probably influencing as many people as some of your American megachurch pastors. They had to borrow Lund Cathedral for his funeral. Quite possibly the first Catholic funeral there since the Reformation.Smile

I've never read Brennan Manning, so I can't say for sure, but I'm getting the impression that the two of them have some things in common. Both are Catholics who've become immensely popular with Evangelicals, and both have a strong focus on God's mercy and work in those who are scarred in one way or another. But where Manning was a Mary Magdalene or Lost Son kind of figure, Br Wilfrid was a Mary, or the Older Son such as he should have been. And where Manning, from what I understand, concentrated on introducing people to who God really is, Br Wilfrid's charism was/is to feed their longing for Him, and to lead them deeper and deeper and then still deeper into communion with Him. 

And at that he excels. He has a rare ability to identify true holiness, and center on what is really necessary. To me, his best books are 10's on a scale to 5. Yet different peoples have different mentalities, and American spirituality seems very different to Swedish -- far less mystical and far more works-centered -- so I can't really predict how you'd respond to him, but at least for modern Swedes I don't hesitate to place him on par with giants like St John of the Cross. I won't be surprised to see a cause for his canonization when enough time has passed.

Unfortunately, only 1-2 of what I consider his best books are available in English. The others are good, but not exceptional. They wouldn't be the ones I chose to translate first. 

Here are some others that ought to be published (get Ignatius to start translating!):

  • Kristen djupmeditation (Christian deep-meditation (if that word exists in English))
  • Hör du vinden blåsa? En bok om den helige Ande (Do you hear the wind blow? A book about the Holy Spirit)
  • Evigheten mitt i tiden (Eternity in the middle of time)
  • Jag dör inte; jag träder in i livet (I'm not dying; I'm entering into life)
  • Längre in i bönens land (Further into the land of prayer)
  • Natten är mitt ljus (The night is my light (based on St John of the Cross). In my opinion perhaps his best, together with Into Your Hands, but some familiarity with John's writings would be preferable.)
  • Inre vandring (Inner pilgrimage (based on St Teresa of Avila))
  • Den enkla vägen till helighet. En bok om Thérèse av Lisieux (The simple road to holiness. A book about Thérèse of Lisieux)

(I admit to being prejudiced in favour of his 1980-1990's works. Life seems to have crushed my once so strong contemplative vein, so I haven't even read all of his latest books.Sad)

(Funny story: one of his last books is an instruction to Carmelites on how to live their Rule. That's such an incredibly narrow subject that I wouldn't blame an American publisher for hesitating. As for Sweden, we have maybe 20-30 Carmelites! But it sells. I can even find it at the public library. I dare you to find another author who could repeat that!)

* At least it was today when I started writing...

** That's the discalced Carmelites, for those of you who are monastically impaired Smile

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 670
Sleiman | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 17 2014 11:40 AM

Wonderful fgh, you got me really intrigued! I just bought "Into your hands" on Kindle and will read it tonight.

Posts 8899
fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 18 2014 1:56 AM

I'm glad to have managed to "seduce" at least one person.Smile I hope the translation does it justice, and that you like it. 

I also hope "read it tonight" meant "start it tonight". It's not a book to read through in one evening.Wink

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

Mac Pro OS 10.9.

Posts 1
Theresa | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 23 2014 11:05 PM

Thank you for listing these books.  I have been a fan of Fr. Stinissen's for many years, and have read all the English translations except the 365 Daily Meditations.  Would you consider trying your own hand at translating his works into English?  I would particularly like to read The Night Is My Light, but I am always grateful to read anything he wrote.  I am especially grateful for whatever biographical information I can find, which has been very scarce.

Page 1 of 1 (4 items) | RSS