Benedictine Father Columba Stewart of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville has been awarded a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
Father Stewart is executive director of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and professor of theology at St. John’s School of Theology.
Chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants, Father Stewart is one of 175 fellowship awardees appointed “on the basis of scholarly productivity, achievement and exceptional promise,” according to a news release about the award.
The fellowship will support his completion of a book, “Between Earth and Heaven: Interpreting the First Thousand Years of Christian Monasticism.”
His research will take place during a sabbatical in academic year 2016-17. During that time, Father Stewart will be in residence as a member of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
“As un-Benedictine as it might be to celebrate honors, St. John’s University is extremely proud of Father Columba and this recognition by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation,” said Michael Hemesath, president of St. John’s University. “Father Columba is a world-renowned scholar on monasticism and a tireless leader in the field of manuscript preservation. This acknowledgement of his work is a great and well-deserved honor.”
A graduate of Harvard, Yale and Oxford universities, Father Stewart has published extensively in his research field of early Christian monasticism. In 2009-2010, he was the recipient of a yearlong research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a residential fellowship in Byzantine Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library in Washington, D.C.
Since 2003, Father Stewart has served as executive director of HMML, a global organization within St. John’s University that is a world leader in manuscript preservation. He has developed HMML’s extensive manuscript digitization initiatives in historic Christian and Muslim communities in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India and Africa.
Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $334 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals. Only three other St. John’s University faculty have received Guggenheim Fellowships: J. F. Powers (1948), Bryan Hays, OSB (1952 and 1953) and Jon Hassler (1980).