The association of St. John’s Oblates with St. John’s Abbey includes being connected with the fine work of the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library (HMML). This recent video, “Faith’s Archivists,” from _The Economist_ ( http://econ.st/1NNNxWs ) gives insights into the work HMML is doing in Mali.
The discovery and preservation of documents from the Muslim world carries hopeful echoes from the twelfth century when scholarship from the Middle East during that era led to advances in Scripture scholarship, the re-discovery of Aristotle and other Hellenic philosophers, as well as the new discovery of Islamic philosophers. Needless to say, preserving these flowerings of learning in Islam’s history is a sign of hope in Muslim-Christian dialogue as well.
Mentioning this work on the feast of St. Stephen, the protomartyr, is fitting since some of the field workers who collect and digitize these records do so in very dangerous conditions, sometimes putting their lives at risk.