Author: Jon M. Sweeney
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Popular historian and award-winning author Jon M. Sweeney relates the untold story of St. Francis’s friendship with Elias of Cortona, the man who helped him build the Franciscan movement. Sweeney uses the complexities of their relationship in a gripping narrative of how their efforts changed the world and how Elias’s enthusiasm betrayed the ideals of his friend. Few biographies of St. Francis have examined his complicated relationship with close friend Elias of Cortona. In The Enthusiast, award-winning author and historian Jon M. Sweeney delves into this little-known partnership that defined and then almost destroyed Francis’s ideals. Blending history and biography, Sweeney reveals how Francis and Elias rebuilt churches, aided lepers, and entertained as “God’s troubadours” to the delight of everyday people who had grown tired of a remote and tumultuous Church. At the height of their spiritual renaissance, however, Elias became “the devil” to many of the other friars; they believed him to be a traitor to their ideals. After Francis’s premature death, the movement fractured. Scorned by most of the Franciscan leadership, Elias followed a path that would leave him a lonely, broken man. Sweeney shows how Elias’s undoing was rooted in his attempts to honor his old friend. The Enthusiast was the winner of a 2017 Catholic Press Association Book Award: History (Third Place).
Author: Carl Mccolman
Publisher: Hay House, Inc
This is a user-friendly and potentially life-changing introduction to the wisdom teachings of 108 of the greatest mystics in the Western tradition. McColman's premise is that we all need teachers and companions to assist us in developing rich interior lives. It celebrates the universal power and wisdom of the teachings of the mystics, highlighting the ways in which their words can help anyone find greater love, purpose and a deeper sense of God's presence. McColman organizes the mystics into nine categories: visionaries, confessors, lovers, poets, saints, heretics, wisdom keepers, soul-friends and unitives, and he covers a wide range of mystics including Martin Luther King, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Dag Hammarskjold and C.S. Lewis, plus Evelyn Underhill, Simone Weil, Thomas Merton and Bede Griffiths.
September 11, 2001, highlighted the urgent need for greater understanding among religious traditions. Specifically, the lack of acceptance and appreciation between Muslims and Christians was suddenly catapulted into headlines around the world. Now, in the aftermath of war in Iraq, the need for understanding and respect among religious traditions and various cultures becomes ever more important. It is my hope that this book might nurture that mutual respect that fosters peace and justice, for they are God's desire for us, and gifts that all races and religions seek.
The Pope's Cat
Author: Jon M. Sweeney
Publisher: Pope's Cat
"The story of a stray cat that was born on the Via della Conciliazione in Rome. She is adopted by the Pope, and she then runs the Vatican from museum to floorboard."--
The Pope Who Quit
Author: Jon M. Sweeney
The riveting story of Pope St. Celestine V, the pope who retired from the papacy. At the close of the tumultuous Middle Ages, there lived a man who seemed destined from birth to save the world. His name was Peter Morrone, a hermit, a founder of a religious order, and, depending on whom you talk to, a reformer, an instigator, a prophet, a coward, a saint, and possibly the victim of murder. A stroke of fate would, practically overnight, transform this humble servant of God into the most powerful man in the Catholic Church. Half a year later, he would be the only pope in history to abdicate the chair of St. Peter, an act that nearly brought the papacy to its knees. What led him to make that decision and what happened afterward would be shrouded in mystery for centuries. The Pope Who Quit pulls back the veil of secrecy on this dramatic time in history and showcases a story that involves deadly dealings, apocalyptic maneuverings, and papal intrigue. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The year is 1140. Inside an imposing cathedral in France's Champagne region, two of the most recognized men in the world are about to face each other in a contest of wills and a test of faith. On one side is Bernard of Clairvaux, a counselor and selector of popes who will be called "Saint" even before his death. The other is Peter Abelard, widely agreed to be the era's most brilliant thinker, a medieval "rock star" among students in the universities of Europe and on the Paris social scene. Bernard has accused Peter of heresy and "insolence before God," a charge for which Bernard has the power to order Peter executed. This intense, emotional and partisan clash between two men, the ways in which the Scholar provokes the Saint's outrage, and the final outcome of the battle, will change the course of history--and frame the conflict between reason and faith that continues to inflame passions to this day. Jon M. Sweeney, author of The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation and Inventing Hell, makes the case that Christians cannot understand who we are today, or how we balance what we believe with what we say, without shining a light on what might otherwise pass completely unnoticed: this small but significant episode in our history. And there is, in fact, hope to be gleaned from the study of these two giants of medieval thought. How much, it turns out, Bernard and Peter actually shared in common! Sweeney points out delicacies of their spiritualities that actually link them in ways they never would have appreciated during their lifetimes. It is these delicacies, as well as what prevented the two men from recognizing them, that provide insights into exactly how we modern Christians might still recover from this regrettable--and avoidable--conflict that has reverberated through the ages.
St. Francis of Assisi
Author: Omer Englebert
Publisher: Franciscan Media
A definitive biography of St. Francis which can scarcely be surpassed.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Author: G.K. Chesterton, Wyatt North
Publisher: Wyatt North Publishing, LLC
Saint Francis of Assisi Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history. On March 13, 2013, upon his election as Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina chose Francis as his papal name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, becoming Pope Francis. G.K. Chesterton is well known for his reasoned apologetics, and even some of those who disagree with him have recognized the universal appeal of such works as his biography on Saint Francis. Chesterton has been called the “prince of paradox.” Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: “Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.”
My Badass Book of Saints
Author: Maria Morera Johnson
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Winner of a 2016 Association of Catholic Publishers Excellence in Publishing Award: Inspirational Books (First Place). In this edgy, honest, and often audacious book of Catholic spirituality, blogger and popular podcaster Maria Morera Johnson explores the qualities of twenty-four holy women who lived lives of virtue in unexpected and often difficult circumstances. In My Badass Book of Saints, Johnson shares her experience as a first-generation Cuban-American, educator of at-risk college students, and caregiver for a husband with Lou Gehrig's disease. Through humorous, empowering, and touching portraits of twenty-four spiritual mentors who inspired her, Johnson shows how their bravery, integrity, selflessness, perseverance, and hope helped her and can help others have courage to reach for a closer connection to God. She presents remarkable holy women and saints--including the gun-toting Servant of God Sr. Blandina Segale who tried to turn the heart of Billy the Kid, and Nazi resister Irena Sendler who helped smuggle children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II--in a way that brings their vivid personalities to life and helps readers live out the challenges of their lives with virtue and conviction. The book includes a group discussion guide.
One Ordinary Sunday
Author: Paula Huston
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Winner of the 2017 Association of Catholic Publishers Excellence in Publishing Award: General Interest Books (First Place) and the Catholic Press Association Book Award: Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith (First Place). In One Ordinary Sunday the popular, award-winning writer Paula Huston draws on her spiritual wisdom and her talent as a novelist to provide both a moment-by-moment record of her experience of one particular Mass on one particular Sunday in her home parish in California and a theologically and historically rich exploration of the origin and meaning of the liturgy. For Catholics, the Mass is the “source and summit of the Christian life,” as the documents of the Church put it. Yet many Catholics might confess to not understanding in any depth what goes on in an “ordinary” celebration of the Eucharist. In perhaps her most compelling and original book to date, novelist and spiritual writer Paula Huston guides us through a Mass on the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time at her home parish in Arroyo Grande, California. Huston’s personal and spiritual reflections offer fresh and often unexpected insights into the profound mystery at the heart of the Catholic faith. A natural storyteller, Huston deftly illuminates what might seem either mysterious to those unfamiliar with the Mass or overly familiar to those who have lost an appreciation of its mystery. In the Mass “we are healed and restored and spiritually fed,” she writes. “We are handed strong armor against evil. We are unified and made whole as a people and as a Church. We get a little taste of heaven.” Readers of this book will learn how our confession of sins at the beginning of the Mass differs from the sacrament of Penance; what it means to say that the Mass is a sacrifice; why the prayers of the Mass, especially the Gloria, are full of scriptural allusions; what the purpose of the Eucharistic Prayer is; and what happens at the consecration of bread and wine and how it is the most profound mystery and miracle of the Mass. One Ordinary Sunday is for all Catholics, especially those who have questions about the basic practices of their faith, who are new to the Church and still somewhat baffled about its rituals of worship, or who have left the Church behind but still feel like part of the family.
Author: Jon M. Sweeney
Publisher: Jericho Books
Hell: The word means terror, darkness, and eternal separation from God. Some people think the Bible is clear about hell, but what if they're mistaken? With gripping narrative and solid scholarship, Sweeney charts hell's "evolution" from the Old Testament underworld Sheol, through history and literature, to the greatest influencer of all: Dante's Inferno. He reveals how the modern idea of hell is based mostly on Dante's imaginative genius-but in the process, he offers a more constructive understanding of the afterlife than ever before. Disturbing and enthralling, Sweeney will forever alter what we think happens to us after we die-and more importantly, he will make us reconsider how we live.
The Making of Assisi
Author: Donal Cooper, Janet Robson
For a moment at the close of the 13th century the town of Assisi was the focus for the two greatest powers in the Latin church. The election of Nicholas IV was the catalyst for the creation of frescoes in the Basilica of San Francesco. In this book the authors investigate the particular moment the frescoes were made casting new light on their patronage and iconography.
When Saint Francis Saved the Church offers a surprising new look at the world’s most popular saint, showing how this beloved, but often-mythologized character created a spiritual vision for the ages and may very well have rescued the Christian faith. In When Saint Francis Saved the Church (paperback), popular historian Jon Sweeney presents an intriguing portrait of Francis beyond the readily familiar stories and images. In the tradition of Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization, Sweeney reveals how the saint became a hinge in the history of the Christian faith and shows how in just fourteen years—from 1205 to 1219—the unconventional and stumbling wisdom of a converted troubadour changed the Church. Sweeney outlines Francis’s revolutionary approach to friendship, “the other” (people at the margins), poverty, spirituality, care (for people, creatures, and the natural world), and death. This vibrant book presents the unsullied life and message of Francis in its essential details, offering a sweeping, informative, remarkable look at how Francis and his movement quite literally saved the Christian faith—and continues to offer a spiritual vision with contemporary relevance.