Spirituality

Spirituality and mysticism are presently of widespread interest in the community. We have uniquely important holdings on Christian mysticism and on the history of spirituality, and a rich collection of classic spiritual writings from across the centuries, as well as representative holdings on Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic and other spiritual traditions.

Among the many modern authors the Thomas Merton holding is especially extensive and is thought to be the most comprehensive in Australia. There are also extensive holdings on women’s spirituality and mysticism.

Standing orders to series include Cistercian Fathers, Cistercian Studies, Classics of Western Spirituality, Matrologia Latina, World Spirituality, Modern Spiritual Masters, and the specialist index Bibliographia Internationalis Spiritualitatis. Monographs and periodicals are collected in major European languages.

As well as material for specialists and scholars, the Library includes a very large collection of devotional material, including prayer-books, meditations, retreats, guides to prayer, and other works for spiritual reading. Special attention is being given to the collection and retention of older devotional works, including meditations and prayer-books, which document the traditional piety and practices of the Catholic community, a literature now becoming surprisingly scarce. This collection area also includes extensive material on hagiography, lives of saints, and Christian biography.

There is a large collection of monographs on monastic and religious life, which provides a significant resource also for the history of religious women. It is hoped to further develop this part of the collection through our project “Bibliographical Heritage of Religious Instituteby offering the Library as a repository for works representing the spiritual traditions of the religious congregations.

The most important periodicals in the area of spirituality are subscribed to in various languages. About half our journal holdings in this area are unique nationally.

Although our main focus is on the Catholic tradition, there are holdings also on Protestant and Orthodox traditions, and on Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist mysticism, and on comparative religion.