Scope and Contents
This collection is divided into four series: 1) Audio-visual materials 2) Graphic materials 3) The M. Basil Pennington, OCSO Papers - 236 archival boxes and 4) The Pennington Family Collection - 50 archival boxes. The first three series cover the career of Father M. Basil Pennington, OCSO (1931-2005) as a Trappist monk and focuses largely on his writings and presentations on centering prayer, as well as his involvement in ecumenism and interfaith relations. It is comprised primarily of typescripts of Pennington's books and articles, as well as published newspaper and periodical articles. It also includes conference materials, pamphlets, diaries, correspondence, notes, newspaper clippings, documents relating to various Cistercian monasteries and multimedia recordings that belonged to Pennington. The fourth series, the family collection, contains genealogical material on the Pennington family and its origins in England, including correspondence between family members and others, as well as photographs (prints and digital images).
Biographical / Historical
M. Basil Pennington (1931-2005) was born in Brooklyn, NY and died in Worcester, MA. He received degrees from Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception, 1951; Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, S.T.L., 1959; Pontifical University of the Gregorianum, J.C.B., 1962, J.C.L., 1963 and did graduate work at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Benedictine International College of St. Anselm. He held memberships with Studies in Formative Spirituality (international board of consultants), Canon Law Society of America, Catholic Theological Society of America, and Association of Cistercian Scholars.
Pennington was a writer, educator, and Cistercian monk and abbot. He entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO; also known as Trappists) in 1951 and ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, in 1957, at St. Joseph's Abbey, Spencer, MA. There he served as a professor of moral theology, from 1959-61, a professor of theology and church law, 1963-2005, a pastoral counselor at Retreat House, 1959-61 and 1963-2005, librarian at Institute of Monastic Studies, 1960- 61, a lecturer at the institute, 1971-72, assistant director of novices, summer 1962, and vocation director, 1978-81. He was the head of Monastic Council on Church Law, 1964-2005, a member of the Commission of Law, Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, 1969-2005, and the head of Interreligious Monastic Colloquium, 1977. He was also a member of advisory board, Center for Contemplative Studies, North American Board for East-West Relations, and a member of board of directors of the Lilly Foundation, the John Paul II Center for Prayer and Study for Peace and Food for the Poor, the Mastery Foundation and a member of Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality and Academie Nationale de Reims. He also served as the founding editor of Cistercian Publications, 1968-73, and was chairperson, 1973-76. Additionally, he was the organizer and director of ecumenical conferences and symposia, a guest lecturer at conferences, institutes, and universities all over the world and a consultant to the Second Vatican Council.