Norvene’s Books

For more information, you can also visit Norvene’s Amazon page.

NOTE: For previous books now formally out of print, please check or your favorite book distributor by author’s name.

Norvene Vest books are listed and briefly described here.

Norvene’s first published book is Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary and Workbook on the Rule of St. Benedict. Each entry contains (1) a few verses of Benedict’s basic document for monastic life, (2) a few paragraphs about what Benedict intended there, and (3) a few paragraphs of my personal reflections on those verses. (4) Then the reader is asked to note his or her own reflections on this in a journal. Church Publishing, 1990.

The next three books, all published by Cowley Publications, now out of business. But the Liturgical Press is officially distributing No Moment Too Small, and Rowman and Littlefield are officially distributing Friend of the Soul and Desiring Life. Most distributors are happy to sell books through any bookstore or website. No Moment is about the spiritual basics of life as a Benedictine oblate (as modified, of course, by each specific monastery), Friend is about faith at work, and Desiring is about the deepening delight of life in Christ (1994-2000).

Subsequently, in cooperation with SDIworld, Norvene collected and edited a group of essays to aid in training Spiritual Directors. Contributors were seasoned and wise companions, first in Still Listening, on topics that might arise in deep conversations about God in one’s life, and subsequently in Tending the Holy on patterns of companioning within various religious traditions. In the first, Norvene’s own essay was on wary seekers, and in the second on feminist spiritual direction. (Morehouse Publishing, an imprint of Church Publishing, 2000 & 2003)


Meanwhile, Norvene had published two other books supporting the Benedictine charism. The only biography of Benedict had been written by 5th Century Pope Gregory, and Norvene retold that hagiography for the 20th Century young at heart. Called simply Benedict: Stories of the Great Saint, the first edition was illustrated by Benedictine father Maur-Etienne van Doorslaer, then at St. Andrew’s Abbey, and published by Source Books in 1997. Later, Benedict’s cover was changed to the photograph on the right.

The companion book was initially published by Harper SF called Bible Reading for Spiritual Growth, an introduction to the foundational Benedictine practice of lectio divina. Subsequently it was and is published by Upper Room Books under the title, Gathered in the Word: Praying the Scripture in Small Groups, and including an addition on individual lectio.


And then… Norvene completed her doctoral work at Pacifica Graduate Institute, with a dissertation on Re-Visioning Theology, outlining her personal and scholarly theology using the wisdom of the imaginal, feminist thought, and the philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. The book was initially published by Paulist Press in 2011, but due to a leadership change at the Press, it was discontinued within the year. Nonetheless, some copies are still available at Amazon and other online book-sellers. Here is its cover.


What is Your Practice? Lifelong Growth in the Spirit, by Liz Forney & Norvene Vest,  Morehouse Publishing, 2015. This book includes chapters on Gratitude, Storytelling, Time and Money, Prayer, Art & Play, Virtue, Service, and Resilience.


Dr. Vest’s latest book is Claiming Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power, seeking an important place for the sacred in public policy. Cultural forces that have shifted America away from its original dependence on God are described, and then spiritual practices in community are shown to have power when people gather to participate in speaking truth. The publisher is The Liturgical Press, 2022.