Defender of the outcast, acclaimed teacher and spiritual director, insightful psychologist, and founding member of a thriving religious community, Father Benedict J. Groeschel was not merely a man of uncommon talents but one of extraordinary achievements.
Yet at heart he was a simple friar, a humble priest; and his goal in life was very modest: to follow as best he could the path God had chosen for him.
For over eighty years-more than fifty of them as a priest-Father Groeschel faithfully walked that path; and, in so doing, he gave hope to abandoned youth, to pregnant women who were homeless and alone, to many of those people whom society so easily and thoughtlessly discards.
An electrifying speaker and a writer of real talent, he was responsible for rekindling the love for God in the hearts of many whose faith had turned to ashes. And his legendary devotion to the poor led him to help found the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, with the mission to serve those who had little or nothing.
A Friar's Tale is an inspiring, moving, and sometimes humorous biography that invites readers to immerse themselves in the fascinating details of a remarkable life, one animated by faith and devoted to love.
In 1986, years of clashes with church authorities finally culminated in a decision by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, that Curran was neither suitable nor eligible to be a professor of Catholic theology. As a result of that Vatican condemnation, he was fired from his teaching position at Catholic University of America and, since then, no Catholic university has been willing to hire him. Yet Curran continues to defend the possibility of legitimate dissent from those teachings of the Catholic faith—not core or central to it—that are outside the realm of infallibility. In word and deed, he has worked in support of more academic freedom in Catholic higher education and for a structural change in the church that would increase the role of the Catholic community—from local churches and parishes to all the baptized people of God.
In this poignant and passionate memoir, Curran recounts his remarkable story from his early years as a compliant, pre-Vatican II Catholic through decades of teaching and writing and a transformation that has brought him today to be recognized as a leader of progressive Catholicism throughout the world.
Now, with an updated preface, the latest edition of the definitive biography of Pope John Paul II that explores how influential he was on the world stage and in some of the most historic events of the twentieth century that can still be felt today.
Witness to Hope is the authoritative biography of one of the singular figures—some might argue the singular figure—of our time. With unprecedented cooperation from John Paul II and the people who knew and worked with him throughout his life, George Weigel offers a groundbreaking portrait of the Pope as a man, a thinker, and a leader whose religious convictions defined a new approach to world politics—and changed the course of history. As even his critics concede, John Paul II occupied a unique place on the world stage and put down intellectual markers that no one could ignore or avoid as humanity entered a new millennium fraught with possibility and danger.
The Pope was a man of prodigious energy who played a crucial, yet insufficiently explored, role in some of the most momentous events of our time, including the collapse of European communism, the quest for peace in the Middle East, and the democratic transformation of Latin America. With an updated preface, this edition of Witness to Hope explains how this “man from a far country” did all of that, and much more—and what both his accomplishments and the unfinished business of his pontificate mean for the future of the Church and the world.
Here is the astonishing true story of the harrowing experiences of a young German seminarian drafted into Hitler's dreaded SS at the onset of World War II. Without betraying his Christian ideals, against all odds, and in the face of Evil, Gereon Goldmann was able to complete his priestly training, be ordained, and secretly minister to German Catholic soldiers and innocent civilian victims caught up in the horrors of war. How it all came to pass will astound you.
Father Goldmann tells of his own incredible experiences of the trials of war, his many escapes from almost certain death, and the diabolical persecution that he and his fellow Catholic soldiers encountered on account of their faith. What emerges is an extraordinary witness to the workings of Divine Providence and the undying power of love, prayer, faith, and sacrifice. Illustrated
James Carroll turns to the notion of practice—both as a way to learn and a means of improvement—as a lens for this thoughtful and frank look at what it means to be Catholic. He acknowledges the slow and steady transformation of the Church from its darker, medieval roots to a more pluralist and inclusive institution, charting along the way stories of powerful Catholic leaders (Pope John XXIII, Thomas Merton, John F. Kennedy) and historical milestones like Vatican II. These individuals and events represent progress for Carroll, a former priest, and as he considers the new meaning of belief in a world that is increasingly as secular as it is fundamentalist, he shows why the world needs a Church that is committed to faith and renewal.
Because this was the limit of my expectations, I was all the more surprised and bewildered when many years later I came upon a permanent state in which there was no self, no higher self, true self, or anything that could be called a self. Clearly, I had fallen outside my own, as well as the traditional frame of reference, when I came upon a path that seemed to begin where the writers on the contemplative life had left off. But with the clear certitude of the self's disappearance, there automatically arose the question of what had fallen away--what was the self? What, exactly, had it been? Then too, there was the all-important question: what remained in its absence? This journey was the gradual revelation of the answers to these questions, answers that had to be derived solely from personal experience since no outside explanation was forthcoming.
In 1990 Andrew Krivak-poet, yacht rigger, ocean lifeguard, student of the classics-entered the Society of Jesus. The heart of Jesuit training is the Long Retreat, thirty days of silence and prayer in which the Jesuit novice reflects on the Gospels and tests his desire for the priesthood.
For Krivak, eight years of Jesuit formation turned out to be a long retreat in its own right, as he tested all his desires-for poetry, for travel, for independence, for love-against the pledge to do all "for the greater glory of God." And in this deeply affecting book the long retreat becomes a pattern for our own spiritual lives, enabling us to embrace our desire for solitude and perspective in our own circumstances, the way Krivak has in his new life as a husband, father, and writer.
The search for God is finally the search for oneself, St. Augustine wrote. Krivak's story pushes past the awful stories of scandal in the Catholic Church to reveal why a modern, forward-looking man would yearn to be a priest. Unlike those stories, it has an happy ending-one in which we can recognize ourselves.
What happened to the girl who was not afraid to climb to the top of the waterfall and jump. Who backpacked across Europe? Who took on any “feat of bravery” without batting an eyelash? You wouldn’t recognize her – she’s become that woman paralyzed by fear, scared to death to trust God, and trying to manage her family’s hectic life, financial crises (yes, plural), and family issues on her own steam.
Asking always, “Does God truly love me?”
Relatable, touching, and yet hopeful On the Other Side of Fear is the beautiful story of how one young woman learned to live in God’s will, without fear.
Rob Schenck’s extraordinary life has been at the center of the intersection between evangelical Christianity and modern politics. Attacked by partisans on both sides of the aisle, he has been called a "right-wing hate monger," the "ultimate D.C. power-broker," a "traitor" and "turncoat." Now, this influential spiritual adviser to America’s political class chronicles his controversial, sometimes troubling career in this revelatory and often shocking memoir.
As a teenager in the 1970s, Schenck converted from Judaism to Christianity and found his calling in public ministry. In the 1980s, he, like his twin brother, became a radical activist leader of the anti-abortion movement. In the wake of his hero Ronald Reagan’s rise to the White House, Schenck became a leading figure in the religious right inside the Beltway. Emboldened by his authority and access to the highest reaches of government, Schenck was a zealous warrior, brazenly mixing ministry with Republican political activism—even confronting President Bill Clinton during a midnight Christmas Eve service at Washington’s National Cathedral.
But in the past few years Schenck has undergone another conversion—his most meaningful transition yet. Increasingly troubled by the part he played in the corruption of religion by politics, this man of faith has returned to the purity of the gospel. Like Paul on the Road to Damascus, he had an epiphany: revisiting the lessons of love that Jesus imparted, Schenck realized he had strayed from his deepest convictions. Reaffirming his core spiritual beliefs, Schenck today works to liberate the evangelical community from the oppression of the narrowest interpretation of the gospel, and to urge Washington conservatives to move beyond partisan battles and forsake the politics of hate, fear, and violence. As a preacher, he continues to spread the word of the Lord with humility and a deep awareness of his past transgressions.
In this moving and inspiring memoir, he reflects on his path to God, his unconscious abandonment of his principles, and his return to the convictions that guide him. Costly Grace is a fascinating and ultimately redemptive account of one man’s life in politics and faith.
Add ten years of hunger for "something more."
What do you get?
A large Catholic family, of course. And one in which in which the second youngest, while watching Pope Benedict depart the Vatican, solemnly declares, "Now I'll be pope: Pope Awesome the First, with my Swiss Guard army. And if my army men don't give me any new video games, I'll punch them in the face."
In words often as sassy as those of her little Pope Awesome, Catholic homeschooler Cari Donaldson here relates how her friend's newborn baby, a portrait of the Virgin Mary, and the words of the Miraculous Medal called her forth from a selfish, small way of life into the welcoming arms of the Church.
Six children in ten years have banished all her hopes for a tidy secular life, and, in her upscale town, where "Cats, not kids" bumper stickers are seen, have raised countess eyebrows along the way. Undaunted, Cari declares that "If we're to be a traveling carnival freak-show by New England standards, then we're going to be a carnival freak-show for Jesus," although her husband has stopped her from airbrushing onto her van a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe riding a unicorn over a sparkling river.
Above all, Cari tells of the awakening of her love for the Eucharist, the deepening of her love for her husband and her children, and the humility and faith these experiences have nurtured in her. To Jesus she confesses, "You taught me to be open to the lives You wanted to bring into the world through me. I rose above myself just enough to let You bring the blessings of these children into my life. I was sometimes scared and sometimes angry, and always at a loss about how I was going to mother these children, but I knew that it would be Your grace, and not my shortcomings, that would triumph."
Through Cari's remarkable tale of her conversion and the peace she's found as a Catholic, you'll be reminded of the many profound, lifelong blessings God gives you through your Faith, and, yes, even through your daily small troubles and unexpected joys . . . like little Pope Awesome punching his Swiss Guards in the face! Cari's tale will lead you to share her conviction that we never know what God has planned for us tomorrow, but, for sure, "it will be better than anything we ourselves could have planned, even in our wildest dreams."
"Paul Wilkes's memoir is a love story—and also a story of a struggle with the lover, in his case, God. The son of an immigrant, Wilkes felt that he was called to a priestly vocation, indeed a Trappist vocation. God sent him many signals that this was not his calling. So Paul had to settle for what he thought to be a second-best vocation—a very successful writer. God heaved a sigh of relief. Paul had finally 'got it.' He has written a memoir of the century."
—Andrew Greeley, author, The Catholic Imagination
"Paul Wilkes is that rarest of people—a deeply spiritual man who is also an absolutely exquisite writer. His absorbing new memoir reveals the wonderful things that can happen when you allow God to lead you along life's often bumpy path—whether or not you know where the journey will lead. This is a beautifully written, frequently haunting, and always fascinating story of seeking and finding, serving and loving, and—ultimately—dying and rising. Highly recommended."
—James Martin, SJ, author, My Life with the Saints
"Paul Wilkes's biography takes us through Paul's life, but through the stages of our own lives as well. As a result, at the end of it we can see how we, too, have become more than we ever thought we could be. Wilkes is a great writer–he has a refreshing style, a direct voice, and a stark and unfurbished honesty, even about himself. In Due Season has all the marks of Augustine's Confessions or Merton's Seven Storey Mountain. It gives the rest of us, whatever we've done, wherever we've been, hope. It helps us see the forest of our lives despite the trees.
Read this book. It can put the seasons of your own life into better, broader perspective."
—Joan Chittister, author, Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir
Paul Wilkes' In Due Season takes the reader on a moving journey through an extraordinary era's thickets of American Catholic life and belief—opening at last into wisdom, affirmation, and hope.
—James Carroll, author, Practicing Catholic and An American Requiem, winner of the National Book Award
In From Fire, by Water, he recounts this unlikely passage, from the strident Marxism and atheism of a youth misspent on both sides of the Atlantic to a moral and spiritual awakening prompted by the Mass. At once a young intellectual’s finely crafted self-portrait and a life story at the intersection of the great ideas and events of our time, the book marks the debut of a compelling new Catholic voice.
In the tradition of The Faith Club, Malkvosky, who holds a degree in Catholic theology, shares how his spiritual journey grew his faith, while raising questions about it that he had never considered, and how it changed his life in ways he could neverhave imagined.
Inspiring and profound, God’s Other Children: Personal Encounters with Faith, Love, and Holiness in Sacred India offers a fascinating perspective on how people of all faiths encounter God. Author Bradley Malkovsky won the Huston Smith Publishing Prize for this manuscript from HarperOne.
Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte was born near Paris in 1648. She was a sickly child who married a wealthy neighbor (22 years her senior) when she was 16 years of age. At age 28 she was a widow with three small children.
At age 47 she was imprisoned because her writings about God and prayer ran contrary to the established church of the time. She lost her freedom for 7 years during which time she continued to write about the God she loved.
"People want to direct God instead of resigning themselves to be directed by Him.
They want to show Him a way, instead of passively following that wherein He leads them.
Hence many souls, called to enjoy God Himself, and not barely His gifts,
spend all their lives in running after little consolations,
and feeding on them-resting there only,
making all their happiness to consist therein."
You are invited to read Madame Guyon's autobiography and judge for yourself if her experiences and writings are ones to condemn or condone.
Scott Hahn was a Presbyterian minister, the top student in his seminary class, a brilliant Scripture scholar, and militantly anti-Catholic ... until he reluctantly began to discover that his "enemy" had all the right answers. Kimberly, also a top-notch theology student in the seminary, is the daughter of a well-known Protestant minister, and went through a tremendous "dark night of the soul" after Scott converted to Catholicism.
Their conversion story and love for the Church has captured the hearts and minds of thousands of lukewarm Catholics and brought them back into an active participation in the Church. They have also influenced countless conversions to Catholicism among their friends and others who have heard their powerful testimony.
Written with simplicity, charity, grace and wit, the Hahns' deep love and knowledge of Christ and of Scripture is evident and contagious throughout their story. Their love of truth and of neighbor is equally evident, and their theological focus on the great importance of the family, both biological and spiritual, will be a source of inspiration for all readers.
Born, raised, and baptized in an Old Order Amish church, from childhood Joe Keim was taught that if he didn’t follow the twenty-two-page ordinance letter that governed his community, there was no way he could get to heaven. What started as a path of rebellion led Joe and his wife Esther to a caring group of Englisher Christians who would love them like family and show them how to live out their new found faith in Jesus Christ.
Nine months after their traditional Amish wedding, Joe and Esther left family and friends forever to live openly for Christ, and endured shunning and excommunication with bold faith. Since then, the Lord has brought many former Amish people to Joe and Esther for help. Because of their passion for the Amish people and with the support of fellow believers, they have brought biblical truth to thousands of Amish through the ministry they founded in 2000, Mission to Amish People (MAP).
This book was written as an explanation to his fundamentalist and evangelical friends and family about why he became a Roman Catholic. Currie presents a very lucid, systematic and intelligible account of the reasons for his conversion to the ancient Church that Christ founded. He gives a detailed discussion of the important theological and doctrinal beliefs Catholic and evangelicals hold in common, as well as the key doctrines that separate us, particularly the Eucharist, the Pope, and Mary.
Growing up in a Polish-American Catholic family, Donna-Marie was blessed with hard-working parents who provided a stable home for their eight children. At times her childhood was golden and carefree, but other times it was tarnished by pain that she felt was best left unspoken as she sought God for help and strength.
After she left home after high school, her path took some harrowing turns. A Vietnam veteran fiancé snapped and held her against her will. She suffered pregnancy loss, serious illness, divorce, and single motherhood. Perhaps her greatest trial was an epic custody battle in which she needed to defend both her reputation as a mother and the safety of her five children.
Yet through all the dark valleys, Donna-Marie kept the fire of her faith burning. Helping her to see the beauty of the crosses in her life, and to rely on the presence and the providence of God, were saintly souls who became her friends and mentors. One of these was Blessed Mother Teresa, who was her confidant and spiritual mother for ten years.