Periodicals That Contemplatives Will Enjoy

Periodicals That Contemplatives Will Enjoy March 6, 2018

Yesterday I received this message:

Hi, Mr. McColman, Quick question. Are there any periodicals, journals, etc. that publish primarily articles about the subjects about you write that you recommend? Best regards and looking forward to the new book.

This is a great question and unfortunately I don’t know of a mainstream journal or magazine that publishes literature specifically for contemplatives and students of mysticism. I imagine some magazines associated with Catholic religious orders, like America (published by the Jesuits) or St. Anthony Messenger (published by Franciscans) would have some contemplative writing, at least from time to time. But these are more general-interest magazines, so you might find more writing to your liking by looking at journals that are more literary or scholarly in tone.

Here are four such journals that I’m aware of. There may be others.

Probably your best bet in terms of finding a contemplative periodical would be Oneing, a journal published by Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation. Describing itself as “the biannual literary journal of the Rohr Institute, ” it appears that there are nine issues in print currently. Some of the contributors who appear in various issues include Rohr (of course), Cynthia Bourgeault, Mark Burrows, Diana Butler Bass, James Finley, and many others. Each issue has a specific theme, such as “Transformation,” “Innocence,” and “Ripening.” You can buy individual copies directly from the CAC’s website (I looked for subscription information but couldn’t find it); alternatively you can buy copies from Amazon, either in print or in Kindle version. Click here to browse issues of Oneing on

The other options for contemplative essays or writings would include journals published by monastic orders. There are a number of those that you can find, most likely in Catholic college or university libraries, and of course religious orders may have a selection in their libraries too but those are generally not open to the public. Here are just a few of such periodicals that I am familiar with, and when possible, a link to their website so you can so some exploring for yourself:

Cistercian Studies Quarterly, in the words of its website, “is an international review of the Christian monastic and contemplative spiritual tradition. Issues often include studies of the early desert tradition, Cassian, the Rule of Saint Benedict, Gregory the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux, Ælred of Rievaulx, and other Cistercian men and women from the twelfth century to the present. CSQ also features a wide spectrum of contemporary essays and book reviews.” Founded in 1966, this journal features the work of authors like Michael Casey, Marsha Dutton, Charles Cummings, Gail Fitzpatrick, and many others. If I were going to subscribe to just one periodical, CSQ would be the one I would choose. Their website is Subscriptions are currently $40/year.

American Benedictine Review is a quarterly journal published by a consortium of Benedictine communities and edited by Terrence Kardong, OSB. Like its Cistercian counterpart, the journal features articles and reviews covering aspects of monastic history from the early centuries of the desert monastics to the present day. Authors whose work has appeared in this journal over its 60+ year history include Kardong, Hugh Feiss, OSB, Aquinas Böckmann, OSB, Timothy Fry, OSB, Jean Leclercq, OSB, and many others. They published four essays by Thomas Merton (under his monastic name Louis). Visit ABR’s website at . Subscriptions are currently $35/year.

Magistra, published twice a year by the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastical Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, is “A Journal of Women’s Spirituality in History.” Edited by Judith Sutera OSB, Magistra is described on its website as “a vehicle for the study of the spirituality of women in all time periods and all religious traditions.” Visit Magistra’s website at — you can contact the editor to learn more about the journal including a list of authors and articles. Subscriptions are currently $20/year.

I hope this is helpful. As you can see, there are plenty of resources for those willing to do a bit of digging.

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