With God in America: The Spiritual Legacy of an Unlikely Jesuit

Loyola Press
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In 1963, following twenty-three years of hard labor and abuse in Russian prison camps, Walter J. Ciszek, S.J., finally returned to America. Had he come back a bitter man, or a man of diminished faith, it would have been hard to fault him. But he didn’t. For the remainder of his years, until his death in 1984, Fr. Ciszek’s grace, faith, and wisdom touched—often in profound and lasting ways—everyone who came into contact with him. With God in America is a collection of previously unpublished writings on Ciszek’s post-imprisonment life and thoughts. The contents—which include articles he wrote, speeches he delivered at retreats, letters he sent to people he was counseling, and interviews with individuals who knew him personally—present a man unbroken by all that he had endured and eager to share God’s love with others. From Ciszek’s first days back home in the States to his final words before his death, With God in America demonstrates that saintliness isn’t primarily about acting heroically in dramatic or devastating circumstances, but about honoring the ordinary, everyday aspects of life as treasured gifts from God.
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About the author

WALTER J. CISZEK, S.J. (1904–1984) spent 23 years in the Soviet Union in various prisons and work camps. Upon his return to the United States in 1963, he was assigned to Fordham University in New York City where, until his death, he was a much sought after retreat master and spiritual director. He is the author of With God in Russia and He Leadeth Me and is one of the pre-eminent spiritual writers of the latter half of the twentieth century. In 1988, the cause for his canonization was officially introduced.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Loyola Press
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Published on
Oct 1, 2016
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9780829444551
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Religious
Religion / Christianity / Saints & Sainthood
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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On December 18, 2017, Pope Francis declared that Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., lived a life of heroic virtue and gave him the title “venerable,” marking another step closer to sainthood for the “Rosary Priest.” This new edition of Peyton’s biography tells the story of his life and dedication to the Blessed Mother as he discerned his vocation, overcame the obstacles of advanced tuberculosis and lack of education, and became a priest who eventually preached to more than 28 million people worldwide, worked with Hollywood stars, and founded Family Rosary and Family Theater Productions.

This new edition of Peyton’s autobiography—originally published in 1967 and reissued in a revised edition in 1997—includes black-and-white photos and a new foreword by Holy Cross Family Ministries president Fr. Willy Raymond, C.S.C., reflecting on Peyton’s legacy as a saint for family prayer and his cause for canonization.

Meet one of the newest candidates for sainthood: a priest who was formed by his own family’s Rosary devotion—and his formation as a Holy Cross priest—to promote peace and unity across the globe through family prayer.

Peyton—probably best known for the inspirational phrases “the family that prays together stays together” and “a world at prayer is a world at peace”—encouraged family prayer and devotion to the Rosary throughout his ministry. In his autobiography, the Rosary Priest reflects on his journey from a farm boy in Western Ireland to one of the most effective missionaries of the modern age.

In All for Her Peyton describes his travels to America, hoping to become a millionaire and instead finding work as a janitor in the Scranton cathedral, where he realized the call to the priesthood. In 1929, Peyton entered the seminary, but after years of study and training he was diagnosed with advanced tuberculosis. Conventional treatments at the time were not working. He prayed to the Virgin Mary and his health quickly began to improve. In gratitude he committed his vocation to promote devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Rosary. On the day of his ordination as a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross, Peyton said, “I gave my heart and soul in love to Mary. I promised her all the merit of my priesthood until death. The merit and glory of every action I would ever perform would be hers and hers alone.”

Peyton immediately began advocating for the practice of family Rosary devotion. He embraced the new media as a means to reach people across the globe, and developed radio and television programs that spread a message of prayer and family unity. He founded Family Theater Productions in 1947. Performers in his productions included such stars of Hollywood’s golden age as Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Lucille Ball.

Peyton also preached to millions in person, organizing two hundred-sixty Rosary Crusades across the globe. These large rallies included worship, prayer, and benediction. Peyton continued to be active until the 1990s and died in 1992. In 1997, the cause for his canonization was opened.

All for Her is part of Ave Maria Press’s Holy Cross series. These books explore and celebrate the history and spiritual vision of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a religious order of priests, brothers, and sisters founded in France in 1837 by Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., who was beatified in 2007. Included in the series are works of biography, spirituality, and devotion.

Republished for a new century and featuring an afterword by Father James Martin, SJ, the classic memoir of an American-born Jesuit priest imprisoned for fifteen years in a Soviet gulag during the height of the Cold War—a poignant and spiritually uplifting story of extraordinary faith and fortitude as indelible as Unbroken. Foreword by Daniel L. Flaherty.

While ministering in Eastern Europe during World War II, Polish-American priest Walter Ciszek, S.J., was arrested by the NKVD, the Russian secret police, shortly after the war ended. Accused of being an American spy and charged with "agitation with intent to subvert," he was held in Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka prison for five years. The Catholic priest was then sentenced without trial to ten more years of hard labor and transported to Siberia, where he would become a prisoner within the forced labor camp system made famous in Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize—winning book The Gulag Archipelago.

In With God in Russia, Ciszek reflects on his daily life as a prisoner, the labor he endured while working in the mines and on construction gangs, his unwavering faith in God, and his firm devotion to his vows and vocation. Enduring brutal conditions, Ciszek risked his life to offer spiritual guidance to fellow prisoners who could easily have exposed him for their own gains. He chronicles these experiences with grace, humility, and candor, from his secret work leading mass and hearing confessions within the prison grounds, to his participation in a major gulag uprising, to his own "resurrection"—his eventual release in a prisoner exchange in October 1963 which astonished all who had feared he was dead.

Powerful and inspirational, With God in Russia captures the heroic patience, endurance, and religious conviction of a man whose life embodied the Christian ideals that sustained him.

One of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of the Year - Winner of a Christopher Award - Winner of a Catholic Press Association Book Award Meet some surprising friends of God in this warm and wonderful memoir James Martin has led an entirely modern life: from a lukewarm Catholic childhood, to an education at the Wharton School of Business, to the executive fast track at General Electric, to ministry as a Jesuit priest, to a busy media career in Manhattan. But at every step he has been accompanied by some surprising friends-the saints of the Catholic Church. For many, these holy men and women remain just historical figures. For Martin, they are intimate companions. "They pray for me, offer me comfort, give me examples of discipleship, and help me along the way," he writes. The author is both engaging and specific about the help and companionship he has received. When his pride proves trouble­some, he seeks help from Thomas Merton, the monk and writer who struggled with egotism. In sickness he turns to ThÉrÈse of Lisieux, who knew about the boredom and self-pity that come with illness. Joan of Arc shores up his flagging courage. Aloysius Gonzaga deepens his compassion. Pope John XXIII helps him to laugh and not take life too seriously. Martin's inspiring, witty, and always fascinating memoir encompasses saints from the whole of Christian history- from St. Peter to Dorothy Day. His saintly friends include Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Mother Teresa, and other beloved figures. They accompany the author on a lifelong pilgrimage that includes stops in a sunlit square of a French town, a quiet retreat house on a New England beach, the gritty housing projects of inner-city Chicago, the sprawling slums of Nairobi, and a gorgeous Baroque church in Rome. This rich, vibrant, stirring narrative shows how the saints can help all of us find our way in the world. "In a cross between Holden Caulfield and Thomas Merton, James Martin has written one of the best spiritual memoirs in years." -Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints "It isn't often that a new and noteworthy book comes along in this genre, but we have reason to celebrate My Life with the Saints. It is earmarked for longevity. It will endure as an important and uncommon contribution to religious writing." -Doris Donnelly, America "An account . . . that is as delightful as it is instructive." -First Things "In delightful prose Martin recounts incidents, both perilous and funny, that have prompted him to turn to the saints, and in doing so shows us a new way of living out a devotion that is as old and universal as the Church." -Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Fordham University "An outstanding and often hilarious memoir." -Publishers Weekly "Martin's final word for us is as Jungian as it is Catholic: God does not want us to be like Mother Teresa or Dorothy Day. God wants us to be most fully ourselves." -The Washington Post Book World
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