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Building the Benedict Option, A Guide to Gathering Two or Three Together in His Name


By Leah Libresco

Building the Benedict Option is a combination spiritual memoir and practical handbook for Christians who want to build communities of prayer, socialization, and evangelization in the places where they live and work.

Beginning when the author was a new convert, she desired more communal prayer and fellowship than weekly Mass could provide. She surveyed her friends--busy, young, urban professionals like herself--and created unique enriching or supportive experiences that matched their desires and schedules. The result was a less lonely and more boisterous spiritual and social life.

No Catholic Martha Stewart, Libresco is frank about how she plans events that allow her to feed thirty people on a Friday night without feeling exhausted. She is honest about the obstacles to prayer and the challenge to make it inviting and unobtrusive. Above all, she communicates the joy she has experienced since discovering ways to open her home (even when it was only a small studio apartment).

The reader will close this book with four or five ideas for events to try over the next few weeks, along with the tools to make them fruitful. From film nights to picnics in the park to resume-writing evenings, there are plenty of ideas to choose from and loads of encouragement to make more room in one's life for others.

"Leah Libresco is the den mother of the Benedict Option. To read this book is not just to encounter good ideas, but also to awaken to one's own gifts for hospitality and community-building."
— Rod Dreher, from the Foreword; Author, The Benedict Option

"This is an essential companion to The Benedict Option. Leah's thoughts on what real community looks like are nothing short of revolutionary."
— Jennifer Fulwiler, Author, One Beautiful Dream; SiriusXM Radio Host

"The brilliant Leah Libresco offers us an original and exciting Benedict-tinged 'option' full of joy—one that works wherever one is planted."
— Elizabeth Scalia, Author, Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life

"This book is an antidote to the isolated, disconnected culture that surrounds us today. Leah Libresco shows us that changing the world can start with something as simple as opening the doors of your home."
— Hallie Lord, Author, On the Other Side of Fear; SiriusXM Radio Host

"This little book is a kind of Babette's Feast, which takes our hunger for a higher quality faith and feeds us with a hundred delicacies that help connect us to Christ and one another."
— C.C. Pecknold, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Catholic University of America

"Smart, sensitive, and soulful! Inspired by Rod Dreher's precepts, Leah provides her own personal experience with form­ing a faith community in her home."
— Lisa M. Hendey, Founder of; Author, The Grace of Yes

"There are plenty of books and blogs and social media accounts dedicated to how to throw parties, even how to throw very Catholic parties, but this book will help you understand why to throw par­ties. And why it’s so important!"
— Kendra Tierney, Author, The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life

"A compelling fusion of charity and practicality. Leah reinvigorates natural habits of hospitality for Catholics feel­ing hesitant and helpless in the isola­tion of our time."
— Marie Bellet, Nashville Singer and Songwriter; Mother of nine

"Such an excellent and unique book: a handbook for building small Christian community through food, literature, debates, movies, music, prayer, and more. If you want to build community but don’t know where to start, read this book and learn from a true expert."
— Brandon Vogt, Founder, ClaritasU; Content Director at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

"A deeply vulnerable and refresh­ingly hopeful account of striving to live an authentically Christian life. Reading it filled me with joy and a longing to experience the Kingdom in thicker, more intentional Christian community."
— Steven Christoforou, Director of Y2AM, the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Author Leah Libresco has worked as a statistics professor, a data journalist, and a Bayesian probability instructor at an organization teaching "defensive driving for your brain". She converted to Catholicism after graduating from Yale University. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, First Things, the Weekly Standard, the American Interest, the American Conservative, America, and other outlets. She has spoken across the United States, as well as in Australia, Ireland, and Poland. Her first book is Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer.

Paperback, 2018

Eucharist and Prayer