Birds flying from trees
Franciscan Spirit Blog

7 Books on Catholic Saints to Read in 2020

Jan 1, 2020
7 Books on Catholic Saints to Read in 2020

The saints and blesseds whose lives are described in this book are special signs of God’s activity. Their surrender to God’s love was so generous an approach to the total surrender of Jesus that the Church recognizes them as heroes and heroines worthy to be held up for our inspiration.

They remind us that the Church is holy, can never stop being holy, and is called to show the holiness of God by living the life of Christ.

Our holiness is the same as theirs—God’s holiness. Their lives were indeed conditioned by the culture and history of their own day; their expression of holiness is partly different from what it would be in the twenty-first century. But the essence is the same: They received God’s gift with joy. They call to us to do likewise: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy” (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

If you're looking to deepen your understanding of the saints, consider these seven titles. −Pat McCloskey, OFM

Saint Padre Pio Saint Padre Pio: Man of Hope

by Renzo Allegri

In this intimate biography, you will see the results of this humble Capuchin's prayers and discover for yourself the Source of his great hope. This updated edition contains five new chapters covering the years between beatification and canonization, St. Pio’s continued work in people’s lives, and the devotion of St. John Paul II to this extraordinary saint of our day.

Today, Padre Pio is one of the most famous saints. His popularity in the Catholic world is enormous and is always growing. Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, religious, and all believers venerate and love Padre Pio. He is also esteemed, revered, and respected by Protestants, the Orthodox, the Jews, and even in some Muslim circles.

The Way of Simple Love The Way of Simple Love: Inspiring Words from St. Thérèse of Lisieux

by Fr. Gary Caster

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, often called the "Little Flower," has inspired many people to follow Jesus according to her "little way of love." Fr. Gary Caster, whose previous books include The Little Way of Lent and The Little Way of Advent has curated a collection of quotes from this French saint. 

On her deathbed, St. Thérèse promised to spend her time in heaven doing good upon the earth. The sign of her continued care would be “a shower of rose petals.” As the time of her death drew near, her words possessed a marked enthusiasm at being able to continue serving the Lord. Those that are devoted to her know well that she makes good on her promise. This “Little Flower” from Lisieux continues to captivate women and men today. St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Dorothy Day, and many other well-known Catholic figures have had a deep devotion to St. Thérèse.

Eager to LoveEager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

by Richard Rohr

Globally recognized as an ecumenical teacher, Richard Rohr started out—and remains—a Franciscan friar. The loving, inclusive life and preaching of Francis of Assisi make him a recognizable and beloved saint across many faith traditions. He was, as Rohr notes, a master of ‘making room for it’ and letting go of that which was tired or empty.”

Francis found an “alternative way” to follow Jesus, one that disregarded power and privilege and held fast to the narrow path of the Gospel. Rohr helps us look beyond the birdbath image of the saint to remind us of the long tradition founded on his revolutionary, radical, and life-changing embrace of the teachings of Jesus.

Franciscan Saints

The Franciscan Saints

by Robert Ellsberg

In The Franciscan Saints, spiritual trailblazers span the centuries from Francis and Clare to Solanus Casey and Mychal Judge, with representatives from every walk of life and corner of the world. Each entry features the essential biographical facts and adds the insight and depth only Ellsberg can provide. The author’s sharp eye for signs and stories of holiness in the gritty, messy real world informs his selections, making his work unique.

″I read from at least one of Robert Ellsberg’s saint books every morning after my quiet sit. Now I get to read more about my own Franciscan family of saints! He is offering the world many unknown wonderful lives, inspiration from so many angles, and models of holiness in an age that no longer believes such goodness is even possible. They all tell us that it is!″ Richard Rohr, OFM.

Accidental TheologiansAccidental Theologians: Four Women Who Shaped Christianity

by Elizabeth A. Dreyer

Four women—Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Thérèse of Lisieux—have been honored with the title "Doctor of the Church." Elizabeth Dreyer examines the history-changing effect each of their unique theologies have had on our Church and our world. She explains how our understanding of the cross, the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, and the human person have been enhanced by the work of these women.

They may not have planned to be thought of as theologians, but reading about their lives, teaching, and writings will have a profound effect on how you live your faith. 

Six Ways to PraySix Ways to Pray from Six Great Saints

by Gloria Hutchinson

A vibrant prayer life is essential to every Christian, but how can we keep our prayers meaningful and our spirituality growing? Gloria Hutchinson takes you on a tour of the prayer styles of some of our greatest saints—Francis and Clare of Assisi, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Thérèse of Lisieux, and Ignatius of Loyola.

These different prayer styles from the Catholic tradition offer you new ways to energize your prayer life and show you how to pray every day and in every circumstance. By actively praising God and giving thanks, our hearts will find the resting place that we so desire. Saint Teresa of Avila said this: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing away: God never changes.”

Saint of the DaySaint of the Day

by Leonard Foley, OFM (revised by Pat McCloskey, OFM)

Did you know that our popular web feature Saint of the Day is also available in book form? This book offers a lesson and reflection on a saint for every day of the year.

The updated edition is now available for preorder. For more than forty years, Saint of the Day  has been a trusted guide, and this latest edition continues the tradition. Newly added saints and blesseds include Oscar Romero, Marie of the Incarnation, François de Laval, Miriam Teresa Demjanovich, Stanley Rother, Pope Paul VI, and Solanus Casey.

The stories of saints reaffirm that holiness is not restricted by age, sex, nationality, geography, or time in which a person lives. Saints represent almost every occupation and family background. Holy women and men use their diverse, God-given talents by witnessing in their unique way to God’s compassionate love; there are no clones among the saints.

As Catholics, our temptation is to admire saints from such a distance that we forget they were still human beings who cooperated with God’s grace as best they could each day.

Our temptation is to admire bits and pieces of a saint’s life but to affirm that, considered as a whole, this person’s life is simply too extreme and God simply could not expect that much conversion and dedication from anyone.

But God only asks that we do the best we can—in our own space, our own time, our own way. God asks for nothing more than what we are able to give.

“In His will is our peace,” sing the saints in Dante’s Divine Comedy. We cannot, however, truly be at peace unless we allow our conversion to God’s ways to be open-ended. If you'd like to learn more about these holy women and men of God, click the image above!
−Pat McCloskey, OFM

Saint books and audiobooks from Franciscan Media

Add new comment