In the News: Fr. Columba’s Jefferson Lecture

“A Benedictine Monk on a Mission: Unlocking the Past with a Digital Camera”
December 6, 2019
“It’s not every day that a soft-spoken monk receives a standing ovation, but Father Columba Stewart is far from ordinary. He’s been described by some as a modern-day Indiana Jones on a mission to rescue sacred texts. And it’s that work – preserving with digital technology handwritten manuscripts – that has earned him the highest honor from the National Endowment for the Humanities.” Read more.

“This Minnesota Monk Saves Ancient Manuscripts for a Digital Age”
November 22, 2019
By Jayson Casper
“Columba Stewart says preserving Muslim texts is “part of the work of evangelism.” Read more.

“Monk Sees Ancient Manuscripts as Conduit to Contemporary Peacebuilding”
November-December 2019
By Dale Sprusansky
Father Columba Stewart, a Benedictine monk and executive director of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML) at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, believes that rediscovering centuries-old wisdom can help heal the political, social and religious divides of our modern times.” Read more.

“Father Columba Stewart Honored for Dedication to Preserving Cultural Heritage”
November 14, 2019
Earlier this year, Father Columba Stewart—Executive Director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) at Saint John’s University—was named the 2019 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities. Read more.

Father Columba Stewart on Digitizing Endangered Manuscripts, Provisional Metadata, and Hope”
By Lisa Peet
October 16, 2019
Library Journal caught up with Stewart shortly afterward the 2019 Jefferson Lecture to talk about his work. Read more.

“This monk helped save ancient manuscripts from ISIS”
By John Burger
October 13, 2019
“His monastery started project in the face of a nuclear war, and ended up preserving millions of pages.” Read more.

“A Monk Who Travels the Globe Saving Manuscripts”
By Almanac on TPT
October 11, 2019
St. John’s University Benedictine monk Fr. Columba Stewart talks about preserving history. Read more.

“Benedictine estimates 70 million-plus pages of manuscripts digitized”
By Mark Pattison • Catholic News Service
October 10, 2019
“Benedictine Father Columba Stewart never imagined there would be 50 million pages of sacred manuscripts housed in the archives at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s College in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he has been since entering religious life in 1980.” Read more.

“Cold War inspired manuscript collection effort led by Benedictine”
By Mark Pattison • Catholic News Service
October 10, 2019
Benedictine Father Columba Stewart of St. John’s Abbey and University in Collegeville, Minn., delivers the 2019 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture in Washington Oct. 7, 2019. He talked about the effort begun in 1964 by Benedictine Father Oliver Kapsner to collect and copy millions of pages of sacred manuscripts. Father Stewart said the priest, spurred by the global political tension of the Cold War, feared the religious order’s heritage “would be vaporized if there were a World War III.” Read more.

“Minnesota monk to deliver prestigious lecture in Washington”
By Mohamed Ibrahim
October 7, 2019
Short article as well as MPR’s Cathy Wurzer interview of Fr. Columba about the 2019 Jefferson Lecture. Read more.

A Conversation with 2019 Jefferson Lecturer Father Columba Stewart”
By Minnesota Humanities Center
October 3, 2019
Stewart was interviewed by MHC board member Patrick Henry. Henry served as executive director of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, where Stewart is currently a resident scholar, from 1984 to 2004. Read more.

“Becoming Columba”
By Jon Parrish Peede
Fall 2019
An interview with Father Columba Stewart, 2019 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities. Read more.

“A Monk of the Secular Age: An Appreciation”
By Patrick J. Geary
Fall 2019
“The biography of Columba Stewart displayed on the home page of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library describes his extensive travels through the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and India in his efforts to help Christian and Muslim communities preserve and digitize their precious medieval and modern manuscripts.” Read more.

“From Saint Benedict to the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library”
By David Skinner
Fall 2019
“As a young man, Benedict of Nursia, born c. 480, was sent to Rome to be educated, but he was appalled by the worldly life of the capital. He withdrew and experimented with hermitism before becoming abbot of a monastery—it went badly. The monks tried to poison him. He narrowly escaped death and established his own monastery, Monte Cassino. Around 530, he devised the manual for monastic life known as the Rule of Benedict. Read more.