Here is a further selection of great books about the Lives of the Saints that my family members and I have enjoyed. In August, we have more great saint feast days.
St Bernard of Clairvaux
The church celebrates a great saint on August 20th, St. Bernard (1090-1153). He is the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in the Cistercian Order and is a Doctor of the Church.
A wonderful book, now out of print, but available used and on Amazon Kindle is, “The Family That Overtook Christ “by Fr. M. Raymond, OSCO. I loved this historical novel about a whole family choosing to put Christ first in their lives, inspiring each other to holiness.
“Bernard of Clairvaux—who or what fashioned him to be suitable for his role of counseling Popes, healing schisms, battling errors and filling the world with holy religious and profound spiritual doctrine? This book is the fascinating account of a family that took seriously the challenge to follow Christ… and to overtake Him. Here is a book that makes centuries disappear, as each member of this unique family becomes an inspiration in our own quest of overtaking Christ.”
Another inspiring book on his life is, “St. Bernard of Clairvaux: Oracle of the Twelfth Century” by Abbe’ Theodore Ratisbonne.
“Abbot; Confessor; Doctor of the Church (1091-1153). In all history no other man so dominated his times and influenced its people. He prophesied; cast out devils; worked miracles; destroyed heresy; single-handedly healed a schism; launched a crusade; advised popes; guided councils (6); ended a pogrom; accomplished every mission given him–yet was always sickly; took no joy in the world or pride in his successes; and ever longed to return to his cell. A story to make you weep.”
Pope St Pius X
We celebrate Pope St. Pius X: (1903-1914) feast day on August 21st. A good book for younger readers is, “St. Pius X: The Farm Boy Who Became Pope” by Walter Diethelm.
“Born of very humble circumstances, young Giuseppe Sarto had one burning desire while growing up on a farm–to become a priest. But never did he or his generous parents ever dream that he would one day sit in the Chair of St. Peter. This is the inspiring story of the humble “Pope of little children,” whose love for Christ and children moved him to change the requirements for First Communion so that young children as early as 7 years old could receive the Holy Eucharist.” (Ages 9-15)
A second book, “Pope St. Pius X”, by Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes, RSCJ, is beloved favorite. It is a quick read and is also available on Kindle.
“A fast-paced, fascinating life. From poor peasant to Pope. He condemned Modernism, allowed Communion at seven, reformed Church music & the Breviary, initiated a new code of Canon Law, etc., and set out “to restore all things in Christ”.”
The ‘Model of Christian Mothers’ celebrates her feast day in the Church, on August 27th. She is Saint Monica (332-387). She is most famous for her unfailing prayers for the conversion of her son, the great St. Augustine and for the virtue of patience. She is patroness of married women, mothers and those in difficult marriages. An encouraging book on her life is, “Saint Monica ~ Model of Christian Mothers” by Mother Frances Alice Monica Forbes. It is also available on Kindle.
“The famous persevering mother whose prayers, patience and good example at last obtained the conversion of her wayward son – the great St. Augustine – as well as her pagan husband and her mother-in-law. Includes her childhood, difficult marriage, and anguish over Augustine, constancy and – in the end – her joy at his conversion. A magnificent story of prayer finally answered!”
St Augustine of Hippo
Saint Augustine Bishop of Hippo and Doctor of the Church (354-430) celebrates his feast day the day after his mother, Saint Monica, on August 28th. One of the greatest saints of the Church wrote many works, most famous are: Confessions, City of God, On Christian Doctrine, and On the Trinity.
“You called and cried out to me and broke open my deafness; you shone forth upon me and you scattered my blindness. You breathed fragrance, and I drew in my breath and I now pant for you. I tasted and now I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.” (St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor, Confessions – Book X. Chapter 27.)
“Confessions” shares of his conversion. A new translation is available in, “The Confessions: Saint Augustine of Hippo” translated by Sr. Maria Boulding, O.S.B. and edited by Fr. David Meconi.
“The Confessions of Saint Augustine is considered one of the greatest Christian classics of all time. It is an extended poetic, passionate, intimate prayer that Augustine wrote as an autobiography sometime after his conversion, to confess his sins and proclaim God’s goodness. Just as his first hearers were captivated by his powerful conversion story, so also have many millions been over the following sixteen centuries. His experience of God speaks to us across time with little need of transpositions. This acclaimed new contemporary translation of the ancient Confessions makes the classic work more accessible to modern readers.”
“The Restless Flame: A Novel about Saint Augustine” by Louis de Wohl, is an excellent biography on St. Augustine’s life. (It is also available on Kindle.)
“Here is a novel that glistens with the imaginative and vivid drama that epitomized St. Augustine’s tumultuous life, presented with a master story-teller’s characteristic flair for graphic description, sensitive portraiture, and fascinating historical lore.”
St Raymond Nonnatus
St. Raymond Nonnatus (1204-1240), patron saint of expectant mothers and midwives celebrates his feast day at the end of August, on the 31st. He was delivered by caesarean section, hence his name ‘Nonnatus” or “not-born”. He was a member of the Our Lady of Mercy/Ransom or the Mercedarian Order, whose work was ransoming impoverished captive Christians. “My Life for your Freedom” is their motto.
A good biographical download is available, “St. Raymond Nonnatus: the Saint who was Never Born” by Donald Demarco
Also there is a free biography and novena from the Order of Mercy available.
Have you read any of these? Which interests you most? Share with us in the comments below!
Images CC: Fr Lawrence Lew | Flickr – St Bernard of Clairvaux, St Pius X, St Augustine | St Ramon Nonato – Anual – Wikimedia Commons
About Mary Cordes
Mary Cordes loves her Faith and the family God has blessed her with. She is still in love with her husband of 35 years and they have eleven incredible children! (They now range in age of 8 to 32.) They also have three beautiful grandchildren. Mary is a full-time homemaker and has home schooled all of her children from preschool through high school, though her class size has shrunk to four children. She enjoys reading, especially about the Lives of the Saints. She is also fond of taking long walks, drawing, picnicking, swimming, and canoeing. She likes playing Badminton, singing and watching 50’s movies with her kids. She enjoys cooking and baking for them too.