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Benedicta Ward

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Benedicta Ward

Florence Margaret Ward

(1933-02-04) 4 February 1933 (age 89)[1]
Durham, England
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisMiracles and Miracle Collections, 1015–1215 (1978)
Doctoral advisorSir R. W. Southern[1]
Academic work
  • Theology
  • history
Sub-disciplineHistory of Christianity
InstitutionsHarris Manchester College, Oxford
Main interests

Sister Benedicta Ward SLG (born Florence Margaret Ward, 1933 – 2022) was a theologian and historian of early Christian spirituality at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.[1] She was particularly known for her research on the Desert Fathers, popularizing the collection known as the Apophthegmata Patrum. She wrote extensively on Anselm of Canterbury and Bede.[2] She died in 2022.[3]


Ward wrote a number of books and articles, including translations of premodern texts. She was also a regular public speaker, including on the BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects. A festschrift was published in her honour in 2014.[4][5]


  • Ward, Benedicta (1973). The prayers and meditations of St. Anselm. Penguin classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-044278-6.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1975). The sayings of the Desert Fathers: the alphabetical collection. London: Mowbray. ISBN 978-0-264-66124-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1975). The wisdom of the Desert Fathers: the Apophthegmata Patrum (the anonymous series). Fairacres publication. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0034-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1976). The Influence of Saint Bernard: Anglican essays. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0061-3.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1977). Anselm of Canterbury, a monastic scholar: an expanded version of a paper given to the Anselm Society, St. Augustine's College, Canterbury, in May 1973. Fairacres publication. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0067-5.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1978). Liturgy today: the Divine office and the eucharist. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0028-6.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1987). Miracles and the medieval mind: theory, record and event, 1000–1215 (2 ed.). Aldershot, Hampshire: Scolar Press. ISBN 978-0-85967-731-8. [Revised version of her thesis: Ward, Benedicta (1978). "Miracles and miracle collections, 1015-1215". University of Oxford. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)]
  • Ward, Benedicta (1987). Harlots of the desert: a study of repentance in early monastic sources. London: Mowbray. ISBN 978-0-264-67152-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1988). The desert of the heart: Daily readings with the Desert Fathers. London: Darton, Longman and Todd. ISBN 978-0-232-51769-9.
  • Leech, Kenneth; Ward, Sr Benedicta SLG (1995). Julian Reconsidered. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0122-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1990). Daily readings with the desert fathers. Springfield, IL: Templegate. ISBN 978-0-87243-185-0.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1990). The venerable Bede. Outstanding Christian thinkers. London: Chapman. ISBN 978-0-225-66574-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1991). Bede and the psalter. Jarrow lecture. Vol. 1991. Jarrow on Tyne: Bealls.
  • Intellectual life in the Middle Ages: essays presented to Margaret Gibson. Lesley Smith, Benedicta Ward (eds.). London: Hambledon Press. 1992. ISBN 978-1-85285-069-2.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Ward, Benedicta (1992). Signs and wonders: saints, miracles, and prayer from the 4th century to the 14th. Collected studies. Aldershot, Hampshire: Variorum. ISBN 978-0-86078-316-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1999). High king of heaven: aspects of early English spirituality. London: Mowbray. ISBN 978-0-264-67446-9.
  • An introduction to Christian spirituality. Ralph Waller, Benedicta Ward (eds.). London: SPCK. 1999. ISBN 978-0-281-05226-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Ward, Benedicta (2002). Bede and the Psalter. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0159-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2001). Pilgrimage of the heart. Fairacres: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0155-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2002). The English mystics revisited. Oxford: Farmington Institute for Christian Studies.
  • Joy of heaven: springs of Christian spirituality. Benedicta Ward, Ralph Waller (eds.). London: SPCK. 2003. ISBN 978-0-281-05496-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  • Ward, Benedicta (2003). The Desert Fathers: sayings of the early Christian monks. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-044731-6.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2004). Bede, teacher of the English. Oxford: Farmington Institute for Christian Studies.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2008). Christ within me: prayers and meditations from the Anglo-Saxon tradition (2 ed.). Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. ISBN 978-0-87907-213-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2009). Anselm of Canterbury: his life and legacy. London: SPCK. ISBN 978-0-281-06104-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2012). The Our Father. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0202-0.
  • Williams, Rowan; Ward, Benedicta (2012). Bede's ecclesiastical history of the English people: an introduction and selection. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-4411-2354-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta; Savage, Paul; Elder, E. Rozanne (2012). The great beginning of Cîteaux: a narrative of the beginning of the Cistercian order: the Exordium magnum of Conrad of Eberbach. Cistercian fathers series. Trappist, KY: Cistercian Publications. ISBN 978-0-87907-172-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2016). Monastic hours of prayer. Oxford: SLG Press. ISBN 978-0-7283-0283-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2018). Give love and receive the Kingdom. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press. ISBN 978-1-64060-097-3.


  • Ward, Benedicta (1970). "The Wounds of Christ: Reflections on this Devotion in the Middle Ages and in the Methodist Revival". Fairacres Chronicle. 2 (4): 25–29.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1972). "Enthusiasm in the "Exordium magnum cisterciense"". Cistercian Studies. 7: 154–159.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1973). "La conférence internationale d'études sur S. Pierre Damien du 2 au 7 octobre 1972". Collectanea Cisterciensia. 35: 149–151.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1973). "L'enthousiasme religieux dans le Grand Exorde cistercien. "Exordium Magnum Cisterciense", de Conrad, moine d'Eberbach". Collectanea Cisterciensia. 35: 58–63.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1973). "The place of St Anselm in the development of Christian prayer". Cistercian Studies. 8: 72–81.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1973). "St Bernard and the Anglican Divines: Reflections on Mark Frank's Sermon for the Circumcision". Bernard of Clairvaux: studies presented to Dom Jean Leclercq. Cistercian studies. Washington, DC: Cistercian Publications. pp. 187–195. ISBN 978-0-87907-823-2.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1974). "Charismatic prayer and monastic liturgy". Cistercian Studies. 9: 366–375.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1976). "'Faith Seeking Understanding': Anselm of Canterbury and Julian of Norwich". Julian of Norwich: four studies to commemorate the sixth centenary of the revelations of divine love. Oxford: SLG Press. pp. 26–31. ISBN 978-0-7283-0022-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1976). "Miracles and history: a reconsideration of the miracle stories used by Bede". In Gerald Bonner (ed.). Famulus Christi: essays in commemoration of the thirteenth centenary of the birth of the Venerable Bede. London: SPCK. pp. 70–76. ISBN 978-0-281-02949-5.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1976). "The desert myth: reflections on the desert ideal in early Cistercian monasticism". In M. Basil Pennington (ed.). One yet two: monastic tradition, East and West: Orthodox-Cistercian Symposium, Oxford University, 26 August–1 September, 1973. Cistercian studies. Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications. pp. 183–199. ISBN 978-0-87907-829-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1977). "The relationship between hermits and communities in the west with special reference to the twelfth century". In A. M. Allchin (ed.). Solitude and communion: papers on the hermit life given at St David's, Wales in the autumn of 1975. Fairacres publication. Oxford: SLG Press. pp. 54–63. ISBN 978-0-7283-0072-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1981). "The miracles of Saint Benedict". In E. Rozanne Elder (ed.). Benedictus, studies in honor of St Benedict of Nursia. Cistercian studies. Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications. pp. 1–14. ISBN 978-0-87907-867-6.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1982). "'Signs and Wonders': Miracles in the Desert Tradition". Studia Patristica. 18: 539–542.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1983). "'Inward feeling and deep thinking': The Prayers and Meditations of St Anselm Revisited". Anselm Studies. 1: 177–184.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1984). "Traditions of Spiritual Guidance: Spiritual direction in the Desert Fathers". The Way. 24. 24 (1): 61–70.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1984). "Laudabiliter vixit: The Death of the Saints in Some 12th-Century Sources". Fairacres Chronicle. 17 (1): 7–13.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1985). "Apophthegmata Matrum". Studia Patristica. 16: 63–66.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1985). "The desert of the heart: Importance of the desert fathers today". Holy Land. 5 (1): 14–21.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1985). "The image of the prostitute in the Middle Ages". Monastic Studies. 16: 39–49.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1985). "A Converting Ordinance: Some reflections on the hymns of Charles Wesley in the light of medieval biblical commentary". Fairacres Chronicle. 21 (1): 13–25.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1985). "Bede and the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons". Word and Spirit. 7: 34–46.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1986). "Gregory the Great". In Cheslyn Jones; Geoffrey Wainwright; Edward Yarnold (eds.). The Study of spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 277–280. ISBN 978-0-19-504169-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1986). "Anselm of Canterbury". In Cheslyn Jones; Geoffrey Wainwright; Edward Yarnold (eds.). The Study of spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 280–282. ISBN 978-0-19-504169-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1986). "The new orders". In Cheslyn Jones; Geoffrey Wainwright; Edward Yarnold (eds.). The Study of spirituality. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 283–291. ISBN 978-0-19-504169-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1986). "A Tractarian inheritance: the religious life in a patristic perspective". In Geoffrey Rowell (ed.). Tradition renewed: the Oxford Movement Conference papers. London: Darton, Longman, and Todd. pp. 214–225. ISBN 978-0-915138-82-1.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1987). "Translator's charity". In William Radice; Barbara Reynolds (eds.). The Translator's art: essays in honour of Betty Radice. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books. pp. 206–262. ISBN 978-0-14-009226-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1989). "The spirituality of St. Cuthbert". In Gerald Bonner; D. W. Rollason; Clare Stancliffe (eds.). St. Cuthbert, his cult and his community to AD 1200. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell Press. pp. 65–76. ISBN 978-0-85115-510-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1989). "The religious world of the twelfth century, II: Anselm of Canterbury and his influence". Christian spirituality 1. pp. 196–205.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1990). "Saints and Sybils: Hildegard of Bingen to Teresa of Avila". In Janet Martin Soskice (ed.). After Eve: Women, theology, and the Christian tradition. London: Marshall Pickering. pp. 103–118. ISBN 978-0-551-02039-9.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1991). "Theodore of Tarsus: a Greek archbishop of Canterbury". Sobornost. 13: 41–53.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1992). "Two letters relating to relics of St. Thomas of Canterbury". Intellectual life in the Middle Ages: essays presented to Margaret Gibson. Lesley Smith, Benedicta Ward (eds.). London: Hambledon Press. pp. 175–184. ISBN 978-1-85285-069-2.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1992). "Discernment: a rare bird". The Way. Supplement 64: 10–18.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1992). "Lady Julian and her audience: "mine even-Christian"". In Geoffrey Rowell (ed.). The English religious tradition and the genius of Anglicanism. Wantage: Ikon. pp. 47–63. ISBN 978-1-871805-01-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1993). "'In medium duorum animalium': Bede and Jerome on the Canticle of Habakkuk". Studia Patristica. 25: 189–193.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1995). ""To my dearest sister": Bede and the educated woman". In Lesley Smith; Jane H. M. Taylor (eds.). Women, the book, and the godly: selected proceedings of the St. Hilda's conference, 1993. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Brewer. pp. 105–111. ISBN 978-0-85991-420-8.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1997). "St Frideswide of Oxford". In Henry Wansbrough; Anthony Marett-Crosby (eds.). Benedictines in Oxford. London: Darton, Longman and Todd. pp. 3–10, 278. ISBN 978-0-232-52176-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1999). "Monks and miracle". In John C. Cavadini (ed.). Miracles in Jewish and Christian antiquity: imagining truth. Notre Dame studies in theology. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. pp. 127–137. ISBN 978-0-268-01217-5.
  • Ward, Benedicta (1999). "The medieval West". In Adrian Hastings (ed.). A world history of Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. pp. 110–146. ISBN 978-0-8028-2442-4.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2000). "Pastoral care and the monks: 'Whose feet do you wash?'". In G. R. Evans (ed.). A history of pastoral care. London: Cassell. pp. 77–91. ISBN 978-0-225-66840-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2001). "Bede the theologian". The medieval theologians. pp. 57–64.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2003). "Anselmo di Canterbury: maestro di preghiera". In Inos Biffi; Costante Marabelli; Stefano Maria Malaspina; Ermanno Bencivenga (eds.). Anselmo d'Aosta, educatore europeo: convegno di studi, Saint-Vincent, 7-8 maggio 2002. Biblioteca di cultura medievale. Milan: Jaca. pp. 135–156. ISBN 978-88-16-40624-7.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2004). "Beda Venerabilis: "Doctor Anglorum"". In Johannes Arnold; Rainer Berndt; Ralf M. W. Stammberger (eds.). Väter der Kirche: ekklesiales Denken von den Anfängen bis in die Neuzeit: Festgabe für Hermann Josef Sieben, SJ, zum 70. Geburtstag. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh. pp. 533–542. ISBN 978-3-506-70423-8.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2008). "The prayers and meditations of St. Anselm of Canterbury". In Roy Hammerling (ed.). A history of prayer: the first to the fifteenth century. Brill's companions to the Christian tradition. Leiden: Brill. pp. 243–254. doi:10.1163/ej.9789004171220.i-460.68. ISBN 978-90-04-17122-0.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2010). "Relics and the medieval mind". International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church. 10 (4): 274–286. doi:10.1080/1474225X.2010.506763. ISSN 1474-225X. S2CID 170413618.
  • Ward, Benedicta (2011). "Miracles in the Middle Ages". In Graham H. Twelftree (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Miracles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 149–164. doi:10.1017/CCOL9780521899864.009. ISBN 978-0-511-97639-1.



  1. ^ a b c Mattos, Dominic (2014). "Benedicta Ward, SLG, in a few words: nun, scholar, teacher" (PDF). In Santha Bhattacharji; Dominic Mattos; Rowan Williams (eds.). Prayer and thought in monastic tradition: essays in honour of Benedicta Ward SLG. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. pp. 329–334. doi:10.5040/ ISBN 978-0-567-08295-4.
  2. ^ Stoudt, Debra L. (2005). "Benedicta Ward, S.L.G. (1933–): The love of learning and the love of God". In Jane Chance (ed.). Women medievalists and the academy. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 945–954. ISBN 978-0-299-20750-2.
  3. ^ "Benedicta Ward SLG (1933-2022)". Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  4. ^ Prayer and thought in monastic tradition: essays in honour of Benedicta Ward SLG. Santha Bhattacharji, Dominic Mattos, Rowan Williams (eds.). Edinburgh: T&T Clark. 2014. doi:10.5040/9780567659620. ISBN 978-0-567-08295-4.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "Launch of Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition: Essays in Honour of Sr Benedicta Ward SLG". The T&T Clark Blog: Theology and Biblical Studies. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2018.