We feature books by Fr. Jerome Kodell and the late Fr. Hugh Assenmacher of blessed memory. We asked Fr. Jerome to share with us a brief description about how he began to undertake writing:

abbot-jerome.jpgI got my start in writing thanks to Abbot Michael Lensing and Father David Flusche. Father David had been my senior class English teacher in Subiaco Academy, and already when I was still a junior monk he asked me to start contributing to our community’s newsletter, the Abbey Message. Up to then I had given little thought to writing for publication and certainly not to a career involving writing. If I had had any plans for what I would be doing as a monk, it was that I would be assigned to teaching English in the Academy (which did happen), following in the steps of monks with aptitudes similar to mine.

But what caught my imagination after I had gotten started was the example of Abbot Michael and Father David in their writing ministry. They had been the first editors of the Abbey Message, and their combined tenure gave the publication its direction for a long time. Both of them treated their writing as a vocation, a mission to inform about the faith and to guide people spiritually in their daily lives. They not only had the knowledge and experience, they had the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Father David had a hard time getting me on track. I had the words and I could put them on paper, but I wasn’t communicating. It wasn’t clear who or where my audience was. He taught me to put myself in the position of a reader who didn’t know what was in my mind and to see if what I said made sense. He taught me to prefer simple declarative sentences and to avoid ten-gallon words and latinisms, and to reach into the strong side of English rooted in Anglo-Saxon.

Abbot Michael changed the direction of my life when he sent me to study Scripture, and when I returned I began to follow in the footsteps of my two mentors in sharing what I was learning by speaking and writing. A blessing that soon came my way was Little Rock Scripture Study, where I was saved from isolated thinking in my room by experiencing the Bible with real people -- real, intelligent, faith-filled people. They inspired me eventually to write The Catholic Bible Study Handbook.

When I became abbot, I didn’t expect to have the time to write books, and I was right in one sense and wrong in another. I wrote articles but not books. But then I was encouraged to gather together in book form articles and conferences I had originally prepared for the Abbey Message or for our monastic community.

I feel very blessed that I have been able to write, and even more, that people are willing to read what I write. One of the things I came to appreciate was that once a book appears in print it begins to work on its own, and I can sit back and be lazy again.


  • John the Baptist: Forerunner (autographed)

    John the Baptist: Forerunner (autographed)

    A fiery preacher and humble servant to the coming kingdom of God, John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. Three gospel passages capture his message and its meaning and invite us to make way for Jesus in our hearts and in our world. This small...

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  • Barnabas: Man for Others (autographed)

    Barnabas: Man for Others (autographed)

    Among the leaders of the early church, Barnabas is not as well known as the likes of Peter or Paul. However, Barnabas vouched for Paul before the other apostles, traveled with him as an evangelizer, and then stepped aside when circumstances and Divine...

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  • Is God in My Top Ten? (autographed) Is God in My Top Ten? (autographed)

    Is God in My Top Ten? (autographed)

    Is your life running out of control? Work, sports, picking up the kids, getting to Mass, doing the shopping...every day you are barraged with responsibilities. With such a busy schedule, you may struggle to put God first in your life, while distractions...

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  • Twelve Keys to Prayer (autographed)

    Twelve Keys to Prayer (autographed)

    This is a signed autographed book by Father Jerome Kodell, O.S.B., a monk of Subiaco Abbey. With all of the information available about prayer, people wonder how to sort through it all. How do we learn to pray? When should we pray? What do we pray about?...

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  • Life Lessons from the Monastery (autographed)

    Life Lessons from the Monastery (autographed)

    In thirty short reflections, Father Jerome Kodell (the 6th Abbot of Subiaco Abbey) provides a lifetime of wisdom on living the Christian life. Drawing on Scripture, the Rule of St. Benedict, and other spiritual writings, Kodell helps us to realize that...

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  • The Catholic Bible Study Handbook (autographed)

    The Catholic Bible Study Handbook (autographed)

    Written and signed by Father Jerome Kodell, O.S.B. (the 6th Abbot of Subiaco Abbey), the Catholic Bible Study Handbook offers Catholics a popular approach to personal and group Bible study. Everything you need to know to begin studying the Bible is...

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  • The Eucharist in the New Testament (autographed)

    The Eucharist in the New Testament (autographed)

    Written by Father Jerome Kodell, O.S.B. (the 6th Abbot of Subiaco Abbey), this short study of the Eucharist in the New Testament has two parts. The first part seeks to uncover the origins of the Eucharist and to trace developments in the earliest...

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