Here are the authors and “specially recommended” books from Father John Hardon’s The Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan. Descriptions are from Wikipedia and the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Fr. Hardon’s book contains 1-2 page descriptions of each author, and additional recommended titles (and publishers) for each.
ST. IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch, and was possibly a student of John the Apostle.
- Letters. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.
ST. JUSTIN MARTYR was an early Christian apologist and saint. His works represent the earliest surviving Christian “apologies” of notable size.
- The First Apology. An early work of Christian apologetics addressed by Justin Martyr to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. It contains early mentions of matters concerning liturgy and the Eucharist, and Sunday worship.
- The Second Apology. Addressed to the Roman Senate, the supplementary or Second Apology depicts the behavior of the Christians under persecution, of which the demons are again set forth as the instigators.
ST. IRENAEUS was a Catholic Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology.
- The Presentation of the Apostolic Preaching. The author’s aim here is not to confute heretics, but to confirm the faithful by expounding the Christian doctrine to them, and notably by demonstrating the truth of the Gospel by means of the Old Testament prophecies. Although it contains fundamentally, so to speak, nothing that has not already been expounded in the “Adversus Haereses”, it is a document of the highest interest, and a magnificent testimony of the deep and lively faith of Irenaeus.
- Against the Heretics (Adversus Haereses. Irenaeus’s best-known book is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus. He emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority–episcopal councils.
TERTULLIAN was a prolific and controversial early Christian author, and the first to write Christian Latin literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against unorthodox heresy.
- Apologetical Works. Tertullian’s most famous work, consisting of apologetic and polemic. Tertullian defends Christianity, demanding legal toleration and that Christians be treated as all other sects of the Roman Empire. It is in this treatise that one finds the phrase: “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”.
- Disciplinary, Moral and Ascetical Works. De Spectaculis is one of Tertullian’s extant moral and ascetic treatises. Written somewhere between 197-202, De Spectaculis looks at the moral legitimacy and consequences of Christians attending the circus, theatre, or amphitheatre (“the pleasures of public shows”).
ST. CYPRIAN was bishop of Carthage and an important early Christian writer. He was born around the beginning of the 3rd century in North Africa, perhaps at Carthage, where he received an excellent classical education. After converting to Christianity, he became a bishop (249) and eventually died a martyr at Carthage.
- The Lapsed, the Unity of the Catholic Church. This celebrated pamphlet was read by its author to the council which met in April, that he might get the support of the bishops against the schism started by Felicissimus and Novatus, who had a large following. The unity with which St. Cyprian deals is not so much the unity of the whole Church, the necessity of which he rather postulates, as the unity to be kept in each diocese by union with the bishop; the unity of the whole Church is maintained by the close union of the bishops who are “glued to one another”, hence whosoever is not with his bishop is cut off from the unity of the Church and cannot be united to Christ; the type of the bishop is St. Peter, the first bishop.
- St. Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer. A well-known exposition.
LACTANTIUS. Taught rhetoric in various cities of the Eastern Roman Empire, ending in Constantinople. He wrote apologetic works explaining Christianity in terms that would be palatable to educated pagans while defending it from pagan philosophers. His Divinae Institutiones (“Divine Institutions”) is an early example of a systematic presentation of Christian thought. He was considered somewhat heretical after his death, but Renaissance humanists picked up renewed interest in him, more for his elaborately rhetorical Latin style than for his theology.
- The Divine Institutes. As an apologetic treatise it was intended to point out the futility of pagan beliefs and to establish the reasonableness and truth of Christianity as a response to pagan critics. It was also the first attempt at a systematic exposition of Christian theology in Latin, planned on a scale sufficiently broad to silence all opponents. The Catholic Encyclopedia said, “The strengths and the weakness of Lactantius are nowhere better shown than in his work. The beauty of the style, the choice and aptness of the terminology, cannot hide the author’s lack of grasp on Christian principles and his almost utter ignorance of Scripture.”
EUSEBIUS. became the bishop of Caesarea Palaestina c 314. He is often referred to as the Father of Church History because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church.
- Ecclesiastical History. A fourth-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Christianity from the first century. Eusebius made use of many ecclesiastical monuments and documents, acts of the martyrs, letters, extracts from earlier Christian writings, lists of bishops, and similar sources, often quoting the originals at great length so that his work contains materials not elsewhere preserved. It is therefore of historical value, though it pretends neither to completeness nor to the observance of due proportion in the treatment of the subject-matter.
ST. ATHANASIUS was a theologian, Bishop of Alexandria, Church Father, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century. He is best remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. At the first Council of Nicaea (325), Athanasius argued against Arius and his doctrine that Christ is of a distinct substance from the Father.
- The Incarnation of the Word. Completed probably early in his life, before the Arian controversy, they constitute the first classic work of developed Orthodox theology. In the first part, Athanasius attacks several Pagan practices and beliefs. The second part presents teachings on the redemption. Also in these books, Athanasius put forward the belief that the Son of God, the eternal Word through whom God created the world, entered that world in human form to lead men back into the harmony from which they had earlier fallen away. This work intentionally challenged the doctrines of Arianism, which stated that the Son was a lesser entity than the Father.
- The Life of Saint Anthony. Translated into several languages and played an important role in the spreading of the ascetic ideal in Eastern and Western Christianity.
PRUDENTIUS was a Roman Christian poet, born in the Roman province of Tarraconensis (now Northern Spain) in 348.
- Poems. Liber Cathemerinon — (“Book in Accordance with the Hours”) comprises 12 lyric poems on various times of the day and on church festivals. Liber Peristephanon — (“Crowns of Martyrdom”) contains 14 lyric poems on Spanish and Roman martyrs.
- Hymns. His hymn Da, puer, plectrum (including “Corde natus ex parentis”: “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”) and the hymn for Epiphany O sola magnarum urbium (“Earth Has Many a Noble City”), both from the Cathemerinon, are still in use today.
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouthed”, rendered in English as Chrysostom
- On the Priesthood. His most famous book.
- Address on Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children
ST. AUGUSTINE was a philosopher and theologian. Augustine, a Latin church father, is one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity. Augustine was heavily influenced by the Neo-Platonism of Plotinus. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war. When the Roman Empire in the West was starting to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name) distinct from the material City of Man. His thought profoundly influenced the medieval worldview.
- The City of God. Deals with issues concerning God, martyrdom, Jews, and other Christian philosophies. Augustine wrote the treatise to explain Christianity’s relationship with competing religions and philosophies, and to the Roman government with which it was increasingly intertwined.
- The Confessions. An autobiographical work outlining Augustine’s sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. It is widely seen as the first Western autobiography ever written, and was an influential model for Christian writers throughout the following 1000 years of the Middle Ages
- Of True Religion. Against Manicheanism.
- Enchiridion: On Faith, Hope, and Charity. A compact treatise on Christian piety, written in response to a request by an otherwise unknown person, named Laurentius, shortly after the death of Saint Jerome in 420. It is intended as a model for Christian instruction or catechesis. As the title indicates, the work is organized according to the three graces necessary for the Christian worship of God: Faith, Hope and Love. Under Faith, Augustine explains the use of the Apostles’ Creed, in teaching Christian doctrine and in refuting heresies. Under Hope, he briefly explains the Lord’s Prayer as a model of Christian prayer. The final part is a discourse on Christian love.
ST. JEROME was a Christian priest  and Christian apologist best known for translating the Vulgate.
- Letters. Jerome’s letters or epistles, both by the great variety of their subjects and by their qualities of style, form the most interesting portion of his literary remains. Whether he is discussing problems of scholarship, or reasoning on cases of conscience, comforting the afflicted, or saying pleasant things to his friends, scourging the vices and corruptions of the time, exhorting to the ascetic life and renunciation of the world, or breaking a lance with his theological opponents, he gives a vivid picture not only of his own mind, but of the age and its peculiar characteristics.
- On Illustrious (Famous) Men. Short biographies of 135 authors. Jerome himself is the subject of the final chapter. Many biographies take as their subject figures important in Christian Church history and pay especial attention to their careers as writers. It “was written as an apologetic work to prove that the Church had produced learned men.”
ST. VINCENT OF LERINS was a Gallic author of early Christian writings.
- Commonitorium. Vincentius’s object in the Commonitory is to provide himself, as he states, with a general rule whereby to distinguish Catholic truth from heresy; and he commits what he has learnt, he adds, to writing, that he may have it by him for reference as a Commonitory, or Remembrancer, to refresh his memory.
BOETHIUS was a Christian philosopher of the 6th century. He was born in Rome to an ancient and important family which included emperors Petronius Maximus and Olybrius and many consuls. Boethius was executed by King Theodoric the Great, who suspected him of conspiring with the Byzantine Empire.
- The Consolation of Philosophy. Boethius writes the book as a conversation between himself and Lady Philosophy. She consoles Boethius by discussing the transitory nature of fame and wealth (“no man can ever truly be secure until he has been forsaken by Fortune”), and the ultimate superiority of things of the mind, which she calls the “one true good”. Boethius’s work has been described as “by far the most interesting example of prison literature the world has ever seen.”
ST. BENEDICT was a saint from Italy, the founder of Western Christian monastic communities, and a rule-giver for cenobitic monks. His purpose may be gleaned from his Rule, namely that “Christ … may bring us all together to life eternal.”
- The Rule of Saint Benedict. Compared to other precepts, the Rule provides a moderate path between individual zeal and formulaic institutionalism; because of this middle ground it has been widely popular. Benedict’s concerns were the needs of monks in a community environment: namely, to establish due order, to foster an understanding of the relational nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual father to support and strengthen the individual’s ascetic effort and the spiritual growth that is required for the fulfillment of the human vocation, theosis.
THE VENERABLE BEDE was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England. “The Father of English History”.
- A History of the English Church and People. On the history of the Church in England, and of England generally; its main focus is on the conflict between Roman and Celtic Christianity. It is considered to be one of the most important original references on Anglo-Saxon history. It is believed t
ST. ANSELM was an Italian medieval philosopher, theologian, and church official who held the office of Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093 to 1109. Called the founder of scholasticism, he is famous as the originator of the ontological argument for the existence of God and as the archbishop who openly opposed the Crusades.
- Prayers and Meditations
- Why God Became Man and the Virgin Conception
ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX was a French abbot and the primary builder of the reforming Cistercian monastic order.
- The Steps of Humility. His first treatise.
- On Loving God. Bernard argues that the manner of loving God is to love without measure and gives the different degree of this love.
- Magnificat: Homilies in Praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI was a friar and the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, more commonly known as the Franciscans. He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and Italy.
- The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis is considered the first Italian poet by literary critics. He believed commoners should be able to pray to God in their own language, and he wrote always in the dialect of Umbria instead of Latin. His writings are considered to have great literary value, as well as religious.
- The Little Flowers of St. Francis. A collection of legends and folklore that sprang up after the Saint’s death.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS was a priest of the Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Order from Italy, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived as a reaction against, or as an agreement with, his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law and political theory.
- Summa Contra Gentiles. The work has occasioned much debate as to its purpose, its intended audience, and its relationship to his other works. Thomas’ work is divided into several categories: Scriptural commentaries, Aristotelian commentaries, Opuscula (or smaller works), disputed questions and theological syntheses.
- Summa Theologiae. The most famous work of Thomas Aquinas, although it was never finished. It was intended as a manual for beginners as a compilation of all of the main theological teachings of that time. It summarizes the reasonings for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. The Summa’s topics follow a cycle: the existence of God, God’s creation, Man, Man’s purpose, Christ, the Sacraments, and back to God. It is famous for its five arguments for the existence of God.
- The Catechetical Instructions. On the Creed, the sacraments, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer.
ST. BONAVENTURE was an Italian medieval scholastic theologian and philosopher and known as the “Seraphic Doctor”.
- The Journey of the Mind to God. He deals with the most important and difficult questions of philosophy in such a way that his works taken together contain the elements of a complete system of philosophy, and at the same time bear striking witness to the mutual interpenetration of philosophy and theology which is a distinguishing mark of the Scholastic period.
- The Triple Way. Summary of St. Bonaventure’s mysticism. Distinguishes the different stages or degrees of perfect charity.
- The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary
BL. JACOBUS DE VORAGINE was an Italian chronicler and archbishop of Genoa.
- The Golden Legend. A collection of fanciful hagiographies or lives of the saints, that became a late medieval bestseller. The book sought to compile traditional lore about all of the saints venerated at the time of its compilation.
DANTE was a Florentine poet of the Middle Ages. “The Supreme Poet”, “Father of the Italian language”.
- The Divine Comedy. It is widely considered the central epic poem of Italian literature, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature. The poem’s imaginative and allegorical vision of the Christian afterlife is a culmination of the medieval world-view as it had developed in the Western Church.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA was a Tertiary of the Dominican Order, and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian. She also worked to bring the Papacy back to Rome from its displacement in France, and to establish peace among the Italian city-states.
- The Dialogue. A dialogue between a soul who “rises up” to God and God himself, and recorded between 1377 and 1378 by members of her circle.
GEOFFREY CHAUCER was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat.
- The Canterbury Tales. A collection of stories (two of them in prose, the rest in verse). The tales are contained inside a frame tale and told by a collection of pilgrims on a pilgrimage from London Borough of Southwark to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The Canterbury Tales are written in Middle English.
THOMAS A KEMPIS was a late Medieval Catholic monk and author of The Imitation of Christ, one of the best known Christian books on devotion.
- The Imitation of Christ. The work is a manual of devotion intended to assist the soul with its pursuit of holiness and communion with God. Its sentences are statements, not arguments, and are pitched in the highest key of Christian experience. It was meant for monastics and ascetics. Behind and within all its reflections runs the counsel of self-renunciation.
ST. CATHERINE OF GENOA was an Italian Roman Catholic saint and mystic, admired for her work among the sick and the poor. She was a member of the noble Fieschi family, and spent most of her life and her means serving the sick, especially during the plague which ravaged Genoa in 1497 and 1501.
- Treatise on Purgatory. “[The souls in Purgatory] see all things, not in themselves, nor by themselves, but as they are in God, on whom they are more intent than on their own sufferings. . . . For the least vision they have of God overbalances all woes and all joys that can be conceived. Yet their joy in God does by no means abate their pain. . . . This process of purification to which I see the souls in Purgatory subjected, I feel within myself.”
ST. THOMAS MORE was an English lawyer, author, and statesman who in his lifetime gained a reputation as a leading Renaissance humanist scholar, and occupied many public offices, including Lord Chancellor (1529–1532). He was beheaded in 1535 when he refused to sign the Act of Supremacy that declared King Henry VIII Supreme Head of the Church of England.
- A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation. A devotional, written while More was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
- Thomas More’s Prayerbook
- Utopia. A frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs.
ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA was the principal founder and first Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
- Spiritual Exercises. A brief set of meditations, prayers and mental exercises, available in various book formats, designed to be carried out over a period of 28 to 30 days. The book is approximately 200 pages long.
- Letters and Instructions. He encouraged and exhorted his envoys in their work by his letters, while the reports they wrote back to him form our chief source of information on the missionary triumphs achieved. Though living alone in Rome, it was he who in effect led, directed, and animated his subjects all the world over.
- Autobiography. During 1553-1555, Ignatius dictated his life’s story to his secretary, Father Gonçalves da Câmara. This autobiography is a valuable key for the understanding of his Spiritual Exercises.
ST. TERESA OF AVILA was a prominent Spanish mystic, Carmelite nun, and writer of the Counter Reformation. She was a reformer of the Carmelite Order and is considered to be, along with John of the Cross, a founder of the Discalced Carmelites. In 1970 she was named a Doctor of the Church.
- The Life of St. Teresa (autobiography). The account of her spiritual life. The kernel of Teresa’s mystical thought throughout all her writings is the ascent of the soul in four stages.
- The Way of Perfection. A method for making progress in the contemplative life written by St. Teresa of Ávila for the sisters of her reformed convent of the Carmelite Order (Discalced).
- Interior Castle. It contained the basis for what she felt should be the ideal journey of faith, comparing the contemplative soul to a castle with seven successive interior courts, or chambers, analogous to the seven heavens.
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS was a major figure of the Catholic Reformation, a Spanish mystic, and Carmelite friar and priest, born at Fontiveros, a small village near Ávila.
- Ascent of Mount Carmel. Considered to be his introductory work on mystical theology, the book is a systematic treatment of the ascetical life in pursuit of mystical union with Christ, giving advice and reporting on his own experience.
- Dark Night of the Soul. Tells of the saint’s mystical development and the stages he is subjected to on his journey towards union with God. The Dark Night of the Soul is divided into two books that reflect the two phases of the dark night. The first is a purification of the senses. The second and more intense of the two stages is that of the spirit, which is the less common of the two.
MIGUEL DE CERVANTES SAAVEDRA was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright.
- Don Quixote. A classic of Western literature and regularly regarded among the best novels ever written. Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman in his fifties, decides to go out as a knight-errant in search of adventure.
ST. ROBERT BELLARMINE was an Italian Jesuit and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
- The Ascent of the Mind to God
- The Art of Dying Well
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES was Bishop of Geneva and a Roman Catholic saint. He worked to convert Protestants back to Catholicism, and was an accomplished preacher. He is known also for his writings on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual formation, particularly Introduction to the Devout Life.
- Introduction to the Devout Life. A work intended to lead “Philothea”, the soul living in the world, into the paths of devotion, that is to say, of true and solid piety. Every one should strive to become pious, and “it is an error, it is even a heresy”, to hold that piety is incompatible with any state of life.
- Treatise on the Love of God. An authoritative work which reflects perfectly the mind and heart of Francis de Sales as a great genius and a great saint. It contains twelve books. The first four give us a history, or rather explain the theory, of Divine love, its birth in the soul, its growth, its perfection, and its decay and annihilation; the fifth book shows that this love is twofold – the love of complacency and the love of benevolence; the sixth and seventh treat of affective love, which is practised in prayer; the eight and ninth deal with effective love, that is, conformity to the will of God, and submission to His good pleasure. The last three resume what has preceded and teach how to apply practically the lessons taught therein.
RICHARD CRASHAW, English poet, styled “the divine,” was part of the Seventeenth-century Metaphysical School of poets.
- Poems. The poetry of Crashaw will be best appreciated by those who can with most success free themselves from the bondage of a traditional sense of the dignity of language. The custom of his age permitted the use of images and phrases which we now condemn as incongruous and unseemly, and the fervent fancy of Crashaw carried this licence to excess. At the same time his verse is studded with fiery beauties and sudden felicities of language, unsurpassed by any lyricist between his own time and Shelley’s.
ST. MARGARET MARY ALACOQUE was a French Roman Catholic nun and mystic, who promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form.
- Autobiography. She had visions of Jesus Christ, which she thought were a normal part of human experience and continued to practise austerity. However, in response to a vision of Christ, crucified but alive, that reproached her for forgetfulness of him, claiming his Heart was filled with love for her due to her promise, she entered, when almost 24 years of age, the Visitation Convent at Paray-le-Monial on 25 May 1671, intending to become a nun.
ST. LOUIS GRIGNION DE MONTFORT. A French priest and Catholic saint, he was known as a preacher in his time and as an author.
- True Devotion to Mary. On the Roman Catholic theme of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The book attracted attention in the 20th century when in an address to the Montfortian Fathers, Pope John Paul II said that reading this book had been a “decisive turning point” in his life. Pope John Paul II (who had a strong Marian devotion) was a follower of de Montfort and singled him out in his Redemptoris Mater encyclical as a key example of Marian devotion.
ALBAN BUTLER was an English Roman Catholic priest and hagiographer.
- Lives of the Saints. The result of thirty years study, it has passed through many editions and translations (best edition, including valuable notes, Dublin, 12 vols. 1779-1780). It is a popular and compendious reproduction of the Acta Sanctorum, exhibiting great industry and research, and is in all respects the best compendium of Acta in English.
ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI was a Roman Catholic Bishop, spiritual writer, Theologian, and founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, known as the “Redemptorists,” an influential religious order.
- The Holy Eucharist
- The Glories of Mary. He had a great influence upon Mariology during the Age of Enlightenment. His often flaming Marian enthusiasm contrasted with the cold rationalism of the Enlightenment. It is mainly pastoral in nature. His Mariology rediscovers, integrates and defends the Mariology of Saint Augustine and Saint Ambrose and other fathers and represents an intellectual defence of Mariology in the eighteenth century.
- The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ
- The Way of Salvation and of Perfection
ANNE CATHERINE EMMERICH was a Roman Catholic Augustinian nun, stigmatic, mystic, visionary and ecstatic.
- The Lowly Life and Bitter Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. Anne Catherine Emmerich said that as a child she had had visions, in which she talked with Jesus, had seen the souls in Purgatory, for whom she prayed, and also the core of Holy Trinity in the form of three concentric interpenetrating full spheres – the biggest but less lit sphere represented the Father core, the medium sphere the Son core, and the smallest and most lit sphere the Holy Spirit core. Each sphere of omnipresent God is extended toward infinity beyond God’s core placed in Heaven.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, British hymn writer and theologian, was born at Calverley, Yorkshire, where his grandfather, Thomas Faber, was vicar. He was an eloquent preacher, and a man of great charm of character. It is mainly as a hymn-writer, however, that Faber is remembered.
- Growth in Holiness, or the Progress of the Spiritual Life
- The Blessed Sacrament, or the Works and Ways of God
- Spiritual Conferences
ST. PETER JULIAN EYMARD was a French Catholic priest and founder of two religious orders. Eymard was a tireless proponent of frequent Holy Communion.
- The Real Presence
- Holy Communion
- Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
- The Eucharist and Christian Perfection
ALESSANDRO MANZONI was an Italian poet and novelist.
- The Betrothed. One of the major works of Italian literature, The Betrothed was inspired by Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe and was the first Italian historical novel. It deals with a variety of themes, from the cowardly, hypocritical nature of a priest (Don Abbondio) and the heroic sainthood of others (Padre Cristoforo, Federico Borromeo), to the unwavering strength of love (the relationship between Renzo and Lucia and the struggle of these betrothed to finally meet again and get married), and offers some keen insights into the meanderings of the human mind.
PROSPER GUERANGER was a Benedictine priest, abbot of Solesmes Abbey (which he founded in the disused priory of Solesmes) and founder of the French Benedictine Congregation.
- The Liturgical Year: Advent to the Last Sunday of Pentecost. The fifteen-volume series describes the liturgy of the Catholic Church throughout the liturgical year, including the Mass and the Divine Office. Also described is the historical development of the liturgy in both Western and Eastern traditions. Biographies of saints and their liturgies are given on their feast days. The Liturgical Year has been called the “Summa” of the liturgy of the Catholic Church.
ORESTES BROWNSON was a New England intellectual and activist, preacher, labor organizer, and finally a prolific Catholic writer. Brownson is best remembered as a publicist, a career which spanned his affiliation with the New England Transcendentalists, through his subsequent conversion to Catholicism.
- Essays and Reviews Chiefly on Theology, Politics, and Socialism
MATTHIAS JOSEPH SCHEEBEN was a German Catholic theological writer and mystic. Scheeben was a mystic. His mind revelled in speculating on Divine grace, the hypostatic union, the beatific vision, the all-pervading presence of God; he had a firm believer in visions granted to himself and others, and his piety was all-absorbing. Very few minds were attuned to his; his pupils were overawed by the steady flow of his long abstruse sentences which brought scanty light to their intellects; his colleagues and his friends but rarely disturbed the peace of the workroom where his spirit brooded over a chaos of literary matters.
- The Mysteries of Christianity
WILLIAM BERNARD ULLATHORNE was an English Roman Catholic bishop and missionary in Australia.
- The Groundwork of the Christian Virtues
- The Little Book of Humility and Patience
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN was a Roman Catholic priest and Cardinal who converted to Roman Catholicism from Anglicanism in October 1845.
- Apologia Pro Vita Sua. The classic defence of the religious opinions of John Henry Newman, published in 1864 in response to what he saw as an unwarranted attack on himself, the Catholic priesthood, and Roman Catholic doctrine by Charles Kingsley. The work quickly became a bestseller and has remained in print to this day. The work was tremendously influential in turning public opinion for Newman, and in establishing him as one of the foremost exponents of Catholicism in England.
- Sermons and Discourses.
- The Idea of a University. A volume of lectures, containing some of his most effective writing.
- The Dream of Gerontius. Newman’s latest and longest poem, attempting to represent the unseen world along the same lines of Dante.
COVENTRY PATMORE was an English poet and critic.
- Poems. His best work is found in the volume of odes called The Unknown Eros, which is full not only of passages but of entire poems in which exalted thought is expressed in poetry of the richest and most dignified melody. Spirituality informs his inspiration; the poetry is glowing and alive. The magnificent piece in praise of winter, the solemn and beautiful cadences of “Departure,” and the homely but elevated pathos of “The Toys,” are in their manner unsurpassed in English poetry.
ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX was a Roman Catholic Carmelite nun who was canonized a saint and is recognized as a Doctor of the Church, one of only three women to receive that honor. She is also known as The Little Flower of Jesus.
- Autobiography. A memoir of her childhood, and the religious bestseller of the 20th century.
- This Tremendous Lover. A modern “Introduction to the Devout Life”.
- The Mystical Body; The Foundation of the Spiritual Life
FRANCIS THOMPSON was an English poet and ascetic. After attending college, he moved to London to become a writer, but in menial work, became addicted to opium, and was a street vagrant for years. A married couple read his poetry and rescued him, publishing his first book, Poems in 1893.
- Poems. His most famous poem, The Hound of Heaven  describes the pursuit of the human soul by God. This poem is the source of the phrase, “with all deliberate speed,” used by the Supreme Court in Brown II, the remedy phase of the famous decision on school desegregation. A phrase in his The Kingdom of God  is the source of the title of Han Suyin’s novel and the movie Love is a Many-Splendored Thing. In addition, Thompson wrote the most famous cricket poem, the nostalgic At Lord’s. He also wrote Sister Songs (1895), New Poems (1897), and a posthumously published essay, “Shelley” (1909). He wrote a treatise On Health and Holiness, dealing with the ascetic life, which was published in 1905.
ROBERT HUGH BENSON was the youngest son of Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury. While in the Middle East, he began to question the status of the Church of England and to consider the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1904.
- Christ in the Church. Volume of religious essays.
- The Light Invisible. Science fiction.
- The Necromancers. Contemporary fiction.
- Come Rack! Come Rope!. Set in Derbyshire at the time of the Elizabethan persecution of Catholics, when being or harbouring a priest was considered treason and was punishable with death, it tells the story of two young lovers who give up their chance of happiness together, choosing instead to face imprisonment and martyrdom, so that “God’s will” may be done.
HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ was a Polish journalist and Nobel Prize-winning novelist. He was one of the most popular Polish writers at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1905 for his “outstanding merits as an epic writer.”
- Quo Vadis?. Quo Vadis tells of a love that develops between a young Christian woman, Ligia (or Lygia), and Marcus Vinicius, a Roman patrician. It takes place in the city of Rome under the rule of emperor Nero around AD 64. Sienkiewicz studied the Roman Empire extensively prior to writing the novel, with the aim of getting historical details correct. As such, several historical figures appear in the book. As a whole, the novel carries a powerful pro-Christian message.
- With Fire and Sword. Sienkiewicz researched memoirs and chronicles of the Polish nobility, or the szlachta, for details on life in 17th-century Poland. The book was written, according to the author, “to lift up the heart” of the Polish nation in the unhappy period following the failed January Insurrection during the era of the partitions of Poland. Thus it often favors epic plots and heroic scenes over historical accuracy. Nonetheless, Sienkiewicz’s vivid language made it one of the most popular books about that particular place and era.
- The Deluge. It is the second volume of a three-volume series known to Poles as “the Trilogy,” having been preceded by With Fire and Sword (Ogniem i mieczem, 1884) and followed by Fire in the Steppe (Pan Wołodyjowski, 1886). The novel tells a story of a fictional Grand Duchy of Lithuania soldier and noble Andrzej Kmicic and shows a panorama of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the historical Deluge which was a part of the Northern Wars.
- The Graces of Interior Prayer. Treatise on mystical theology.
JAMES GIBBONS was an American prelate, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore from 1877 until his death. In 1886 he became the second man from the United States to be made a cardinal.
- The Faith of Our Fathers. A best-selling conversion manual in the United States and as of 1980 is in its 111th printing. Noted agnostic, literary critic and fellow Baltimorean H.L. Mencken wrote, in Treatise on the Gods, “the best exposition of Catholic doctrine is probably The Faith of our Fathers, by the late Cardinal Gibbons.”
- The Ambassador of Christ
ALICE MEYNELL was an English writer, editor, critic, and suffragist, now remembered mainly as a poet.
- Poems: Complete Edition. Preludes (1875) was her first poetry collection, illustrated by her elder sister Elizabeth (the artist Lady Elizabeth Butler, 1850-1933, whose husband was Sir William Francis Butler). The work was warmly praised by Ruskin, although it received little public notice. Ruskin especially singled out the sonnet Renunciation for its beauty and delicacy.
- Essays. Her prose essays were remarkable for fineness of culture and peculiar restraint of style.
ADOLPHE ALFRED TANQUEREY
- The Spiritual Life: A Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology. Treatise on the spiritual life.
BL. JOSEPH COLUMBA MARMION
- Christ, the Life of the Soul. Guide to the spiritual life, influencing several popes.
- Christ in His Mysteries. Meditations on the liturgical year.
OTTOKAR PROHASZKA was a Hungarian Roman Catholic theologian and Bishop of Székesfehérvár from 1905 until his death.
- Meditations on the Gospels
LUDWIG VON PASTOR was a German historian and a diplomat for Austria. He became one of the most important Catholic historians of his time and is most notable for his History of the Popes.
- The History of the Popes. His dispassionate and frank papal history concentrated on individual popes rather than on the developments of papal institutions. Pastor’s tomes span the pontificates of 56 popes, from Clement V to Pius VI. He combined the Roman Catholic sympathies necessary for dealing with such a life’s work with painstaking scholarship and erudition. He was granted privileged access to the Secret Vatican Archives, and his history, largely based on hitherto unavailable original documents, superseded all previous histories of the popes in the period he covered, which runs from the Avignon Papacy of 1305 to Napoleon’s entrance in Rome, 1799.
- The Soul of the Apostolate. A classic on the interior life. Chautard says that the evangelization of people is but a result of one’s inner life of union with God.
G. K. CHESTERTON was one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century. His prolific and diverse output included journalism, philosophy, poetry, biography, Christian apologetics, fantasy and detective fiction.
- St. Francis of Assisi
- The Catholic Church and Conversion. Chesterton’s journey to the Catholic Church.
- The Everlasting Man. A two-part history of mankind, Christ, and Christianity, by G. K. Chesterton. Published in 1925, it is to some extent a conscious rebuttal of H. G. Wells’ Outline of History, which embraced both the evolutionary origins of humanity and the mortal humanity of Jes
- St. Thomas Aquinas
- Liturgical Prayer: Its History and Spirit. History and analysis of prayers in the liturgy.
- The Prayer of the Early Christians
- Mass of the Western Rites
- The Mass: Its Doctrine, Its History
- Theology of St. Paul. Scholarly examination of life and doctrine.
- Jesus Christ: His Life, His Teaching, and His Works
MARIE JOSEPH LAGRANGE was a Catholic priest in the Dominican Order and founder of the École biblique in Jerusalem. A scholar of wide-ranging interests, he was the author of Critique textuelle; II, La critique rationnelle (Paris, 1936), an influential handbook of textual theory and method as related to the textual criticism of the New Testament.
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ. Commentary on the Gospels.
ALBAN GOODIER, Archbishop of Bombay.
- The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. An interpretation and meditation.
- The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. An interpretation and meditation.
- The Prince of Peace. Meditations.
ST. MAXIMILIAN KOLBE was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Poland.
- Personal Letters
- Spiritual Writings
- Theological Writings
ST. EDITH STEIN was a German-Jewish philosopher, a Carmelite nun, martyr, and saint of the Catholic Church, who died at Auschwitz. In 1922, she converted to Christianity, was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church and was received into the Discalced Carmelite Order in 1934. She was canonized as Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (her Carmelite monastic name) by Pope John Paul II in 1998; however, she is still often referred to, and churches named for her as, “Saint Edith Stein”.
- The Science of the Cross. Studies on St. John of the Cross.
- Essays on Woman
HENRI GHEON was a French playwright, critic and poet. Educated in Sens, he moved to Paris in 1893 to study medicine. He started to write poetry around the same time, along with his colleagues Francis Jammes and Mallarmé. He also published avant garde criticism.
- Secrets of the Saints. Hagiographies.
- Three Plays. The Comedian, The Marriage of St. Francis, The Marvellous History of St. Bernard.
- Christmas in the Market Place. A Nativity Play in Three Parts
- The Art of the Theatre
- Progress Through Mental Prayer. On prayer.
- In the Likeness of Christ. Meditations on the life of Christ.
- The Church Before Pilate. On the Church.
- The Holy Ghost and His Work in Souls
ALEXIS CARREL was a French surgeon and biologist, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1912.
- Man the Unknown. Autobiography.
- The Voyage to Lourdes. Account of a miracle.
SIGRID UNDSET was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1928.
- Kristin Lavransdatter. The cycle follows the life of Kristin Lavransdatter, a fictitious Norwegian woman who lived in the 14th century. Kristin grows up in Sel in Gudbrandsdalen, the daughter of a well-respected and affluent farmer. She experiences a number of conflicts in her relationships with her parents, and her husband Erlend, in medieval Norway. She finds comfort and conciliation in her Catholic faith and eventually dies at peace with her world.
- Saga of Saints. History of saints in Norway.
- The Longest Years. Autobiography.
WILLIAM THOMAS WALSH was a prominent historian, educator and author; he was also an accomplished violinist
- Isabella of Spain. Biography.
- Characters of the Inquisition. Historical sketches.
- Our Lady of Fatima. Account of a miracle.
OWEN FRANCIS DUDLEY
- Will Men Be Like Gods? Humanitarianism or Human Happiness. Novel.
- The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk. Novel, character study.
HILAIRE BELLOC was a French-born writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century.
- The Path to Rome. His best travel writing has secured a permanent following. The Path to Rome (1902), an account of a walking pilgrimage he made from central France across the Alps and down to Rome, has remained continuously in print. More than a mere travelogue, “The Path to Rome” contains descriptions of the people and places he encountered, his drawings in pencil and in ink of the route, humor, poesy, and the reflections of a large mind turned to the events of his time as he marches along his solitary way. At every turn, Belloc shows himself to be profoundly in love with Europe and with the Faith that he claims has produced it.
- The Servile State. About economics. This book lays out, in very broad outline, Belloc’s version of European economic history: starting with ancient states, where slavery was critical to the economy, through the medieval economies based on serf and peasant labor, to capitalism. Belloc argues that the development of capitalism was not a natural consequence of the Industrial Revolution, but a consequence of the earlier dissolution of the monasteries in England, which then shaped the course of English industrialization. English capitalism then spread across the world.
- Europe and the Faith. One of Belloc’s most famous statements was “the faith is Europe and Europe is the faith”; this sums up his strongly-held, orthodox Roman Catholic views, and the cultural conclusions he drew from them.
- Marie Antoinette. Biography of the Queen of France.
PAUL CLAUDEL was a French poet, dramatist and diplomat, and the younger brother of the sculptor Camille Claudel. He was most famous for his verse dramas, which often convey his devout Catholic faith.
- The Satin Slipper His deepest exploration of human and divine love and longing set in the Spanish empire of the siglo de oro, which was staged at the Comedie Francaise in 1943.
- The Tidings Brought to Mary: A Drama. Focuses on the themes of sacrifice, oblation and sanctification through the tale of a young medieval French peasant woman who contracts leprosy.
- The Book of Christopher Columbus: A Lyrical Drama
- Letters from Paul Claudel, My Godfather
- Saint Bridget of Sweden
- Saint Catherine of Siena
- Pilgrim Walks in Franciscan Italy
- Jorgensen: An Autobiography
- Christian Spirituality. Teachings of the saints.
RONALD A. KNOX was an English theologian, priest and crime writer.
- Enthusiasm. History of religious “enthusiasm”.
- A Spiritual Aeneid. Reasons for becoming Catholic.
- The Belief of Catholics
- A Commentary on the Gospels
PAUL DE JAEGHER. Belgian Jesuit and missionary in India.
- One with Jesus
- The Virtue of Trust
- The Cure d’Ars: St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney. 600-page biography.
- St. Bernadette Soubirous. Biography.
JOHN PETER ARENDZEN
- The Holy Trinity. An explanation.
- Reason and Revelation. An apology.
- What Becomes of the Dead?
- Purgatory and Heaven
GIUSEPPE RICCIOTTI was a priest, Italian archaeologist and biblical scholar.
- The Life of Jesus Christ
- The History of Israel
- Paul the Apostle
- The Age of Martyrs: Christianity from Diocletian to Constantine
GERALD VANN was a British theologian and philosopher. He was joined the Dominican Order in 1923 and was ordained as a priest in 1929. He has written on just war theory and St. Thomas Aquinas.
- The Divine Pity. On the Beatitudes.
- The Seven Swords
REGINALD GARRIGOU-LAGRANGE was a Catholic theologian and is generally accepted to be the greatest Catholic thomist of the 20th century. He taught at the Angelicum in Rome from 1909 to 1960.
- Christian Perfection and Contemplation, According to St. Thomas Aquinas and St. John of the Cross
- The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life
- The Mother of Our Savior and Our Interior Life
HENRI DANIEL-ROPS, French writer and historian.
- The Book of Mary
- The Church of the Apostles and Martyrs
- The Church in the Dark Ages
- The Catholic Reformation. History and theology.
KARL ADAM was a German Catholic theologian of the early 20th century.
- The Spirit of Catholicism. Adam communicates with the laity about the Catholic faith and the Church’s role as the keeper of the faith.
- The Son of God
- Christ Our Brother
- The Roots of the Reformation
EVELYN WAUGH was a British writer, best known for such darkly humorous and satirical novels as Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies, Scoop, A Handful of Dust, and The Loved One, as well as for serious works, such as Brideshead Revisited and the Sword of Honour trilogy that clearly manifest his Catholic background.
- Brideshead Revisited: The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder. One of Time’s “All-Time 100 Novels”. Waugh wrote that the novel “deals with what is theologically termed ‘the operation of Grace’, that is to say, the unmerited and unilateral act of love by which God continually calls souls to Himself”. This is achieved by an examination of the aristocratic Marchmain family, as seen by the narrator, Charles Ryder.
- A Handful of Dust. In the Modern Library List of Best 20th-Century Novels. Waugh satirises the upper class, the mercantile class and the establishments (for example: the Church) using many effective literary devices which characterise most of his work. The novel is set in the 1930s, and focuses on the breakdown of the marriage of Tony and Lady Brenda Last.
- Edmund Campion. Biography of the priest and martyr.
ROMANO GUARDINI was a Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in 20th-century Germany.
- The Lord
- The Way of the Cross of Our Lord and Our Savior Jesus Christ
- Freedom, Grace, Destiny: Three Chapters in the Interpretation of Existence
- The End of the Modern World: A Search for Orientation. On modern thought.
KATHERINE BURTON. Editor of McCall’s and Redbook; Catholic writer.
- The Great Mantle. Biography of St. Pius X.
- Sorrow Built a Bridge. Biography of Mother Alphonsa.
- Witness of the Light
- The Next Thing: Autobiography and Reminiscences
CHRISTOPHER DAWSON was an English independent scholar, who wrote many books on cultural history and Christendom.
- Religion and World History
- Progress and Religion
- The Crisis of Western Education
- Religion and the Rise of Western Culture
FRANCOIS MAURIAC was a French author; member of the Académie française (1933); laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1952). He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur (1958). He is acknowledged to be one of the greatest Roman Catholic writers of the 20th century.
- Life of Jesus
- Woman of the Pharisees
- St. Margaret of Cortona
- The Eucharist
JAMES ALBERIONE was an Italian priest and publisher, the founder of the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul, besides other orders and institutes of the Pauline Family.
- Personality and Configuration with Christ
- Glories and Virtues of Mary
- Daily Meditations: The Great Prayers, The Great Truths, The Great Virtues
JACQUES MARITAIN was a French Catholic philosopher.
- An Introduction to Philosophy. Manual of philosophy for seminaries.
- Prayer and Intelligence
- The Degrees of Knowledge. His greatest philosophical work.
- Art and Scholasticism. Essays on art.
ARNOLD LUNN was a famous skier, mountaineer and writer. He was knighted for “services to British Skiing and Anglo-Swiss relations” in 1952.
- Now I See: Autobiography. On his conversion.
- The Revolt Against Reason
- Switzerland, Its Literary, historical and Topographical Landmarks
- A Saint in the Slave Trade: Peter Claver, 1581–1654
CHARLES JOURNET was a Swiss Catholic theologian and cardinal.
- The Church of the Word Incarnate
- The Primacy of Peter
- The Meaning of Grace
- The Wisdom of Faith: An Introduction to Theology
DIETRICH VON HILDEBRAND was a German Catholic philosopher and theologian who was called (informally) by Pope Pius XII “the 20th Century Doctor of the Church.”
- Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude of Mind. Theology.
- Marriage: the Mystery of Faithful Love
- Celibacy and the Crisis of Faith. Apologetics.
- The Sacred Heart: An Analysis of Human and Divine Affection
ETIENNE GILSON was a French Thomistic philosopher and historian of philosophy. In 1946 he attained the distinction of being elected an “Immortal” (member) of the French Academy.
- History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages. On medieval philosopher-theologians.
- A Gilson Reader: Selected Writings
- Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant
- Recent Philosophy: Hegel to the Present
FULTON SHEEN was an American bishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He was also a pioneer in the field of television evangelism.
- Treasures in Clay: the Autobiography of Fulton Sheen
- Peace of Soul
- These Are the Sacraments
- Three to Get Married
IGINO GIORDANI. Italian teacher and writer.
- The Social Message of Jesus. Lauded by the Vatican in 1939.
- The Social Message of the Early Church Fathers
- Mary of Nazareth
FRANK SHEED was a Catholic apologist and street-corner speaker originally from Australia. He lived in London from 1926 onward. Unlike many of the other prominent Catholic writers in England at that time Sheed was not a convert, but raised Catholic and of Irish descent. Along with his wife, Mary “Maisie” Ward, he founded “Sheed & Ward.”
- Theology and Sanity. Practical aspects of theology.
- Communism and Man
- The Church and I. Part autobiography, part church history.
- Marriage and the Family
HUBERT VAN ZELLER
- We Die Standing Up
- Approach to Christian Scripture
- The End: A Projection Not a Prophecy
- Praying While You Work: Devotions for the Use of Martha Rather than Mary
JOHN C. H. WU was a Chinese poet, lawyer, and writer. He wrote works in Chinese, English, French, and German on Christian spirituality, Chinese literature (including a translation of the Tao Te Ching) and on legal topics. He was the principal author of the constitution of the Republic of China. He was a convert to Roman Catholicism. He maintained a correspondence with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. and later produced scholarly work examining Holmes’ legal thought.
- The Science of Love: A Study in the Teachings of Therese of Lisieux
- Beyond East and West. Autobiography.
- Fountain of Justice: A Study in the Natural Law. Legal philosophy.
- The Interior Carmel: The Threefold Way of Love. On holiness.