For the 2011 – 2012 academic year, the Collegeville Institute recognized Kathleen Norris as the Kilian McDonnell Writer-in-Residence.
Kathleen Norris was born on July 27, 1947 in Washington, D.C. She grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Lemmon, South Dakota.
Norris . . . is one of history’s writing pilgrims but also a contemporary American one, boldly willing to forsake any number of cultural fads, trends and preoccupations in favor . . . [of a] searching expedition within herself. . . .
– The New York Times Book Review
Kathleen discovered her love of poetry when she began attending Bennington College in Vermont, and to date, has published seven books of poetry. Her first book of poems was entitled Falling Off and was the 1971 winner of the Big Table Younger Poets Award. In 1993, Kathleen finished writing her first nonfiction book, Dakota: A Spiritual Journey, while she was a Resident Scholar at the Collegeville Institute. Dakota stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for 17 weeks. She started writing both The Cloister Walk (1996) and Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith (1999) during her second residency at the Institute. The Virgin of Bennington, which was published in 2002, is a continuous narrative in which she shares the period from her sheltered youth to her entrance into the New York art world. Other books include The Quotidian Mysteries (1998), Holy Twins (2001), Mother (2000), Journey: New and Selected Poems (2001), and Little Girls in Church (1995). Her latest book, Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life, was published in September of 2008. Kathleen is also the coauthor of several other books. Kathleen’s work has been compared to that of Thomas Merton, and she’s been described by the Chicago Tribune as a “Midwestern, late-20th century mystic.”