October is one of my favorite times of the liturgical year. It's the month of (not so) Ordinary (Saints) Time. Each Saint of October is profoundly different from the others, but all share a love of Christ and witness to the true catholicity of the Church.
What to Read and Watch to Celebrate October Saints
The digital age has made it easy for people to share their stories. A blessing in that is that the stories of the Saints are readily accessible as well, whether through books, podcasts, videos, or a quick internet search. Yet as with all things, the amount of digital information can be overwhelming.
Here is a list of ways to encounter these October Saints without having to get lost in the thousands of search results.
Though not possible to finish this list in a month (and I didn’t even list all of the Saints!), you can perhaps become better acquainted with one or two Saints.
October 1 // Saint Therese
Saint Therese could have her own blog post of book recommendations... but here are a few of the best, aside from Story of a Soul:
October 2 // Guardian Angels
- To read // Angels and Demons by Peter Kreeft
- To watch // This twelve-minute video is a treasure trove of information about the angels.
October 4 // Saint Francis
The Sign of Contradiction documentary is an excellent retelling of Saint Francis of Assisi’s life and message. He’s more than a birdfeeder, and this free documentary shares the true Francis.
Filmed in beautiful Assisi, you can see why peace is such an essential gift of Saint Francis.
October 5 // Saint Faustina
Of course, reading The Diary in her own words is the best way to get to know her. However, the first time I read it, it took me four years to complete!
It may not be the right time yet for you to read it, and if that’s the case, I recommend the documentary The Face of Mercy (free on Prime) or Father Michael Gaitley’s book The Second Greatest Story Ever Told as a great introduction to the Divine Mercy devotion.
October 7 // Our Lady of the Rosary
Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon by Father Don Calloway is like an encyclopedia on the Rosary. Read it after you’ve prayed a Rosary; there's no better way than that to know Our Lady!
October 11 // Saint John XXIII
I first encountered Saint John XXIII through his encyclical Pacem in Terris. It not only provides insight into what he was facing in his pontificate, but the prophetic exhortation is even more needed today. I felt like I got to know what he held close to his heart through reading it.
I have not tackled his autobiography, Journal of a Soul, yet, but it’s on my list!
October 12 // Blessed Carlo Acutis
In this season of Eucharistic Revival called by the USCCB, there is perhaps no other Blessed so timely on the scene. You might recognize him as the Saint to be who was buried in his jeans and Nikes. He could be the future patron of the internet, and you can get to know him by exploring the website he built on Eucharistic miracles or this documentary on his short life of 15 years.
October 13 // Feast of Our Lady of Fatima
Perhaps it’s because it’s one of the first ways I came to know the story of Our Lady of Fatima, but I don’t think you can beat the 1954 film Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.
Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World by Jean Heimann is also a great introduction to the apparitions.
October 15 // Saint Teresa of Avila
It is fitting that such a larger-than-life Saint as Saint Teresa has so many biographies about her life, not including her own autobiography and writings. The Fire Within by Thomas Dubay is my favorite.
October 18 // Saint Luke
What better way to get to know Saint Luke than to dive into his Gospel?! Perhaps you could spend some extra time with His Word today.
October 19 // Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko
This Polish Blessed’s life reads like a thriller and his witness is a powerful testimony of standing up for the truth. Arrested, beaten, and killed by the Communists in the 1980s, you can read more about him in Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko: Truth Versus Totalitarianism by Bernard Brien. Or watch the documentary called Messenger of Truth, which contains powerful footage of Blessed Jerzy.
October 20 // North American Martyrs
This short documentary is a great introduction to the North American Martyrs. Saint Isaac Jogues is probably the most well-known, but the writing of his companion, Saint John De Brebeuf, read in the Office of Readings for the Liturgy of the Hours for this feast day, is stunning.
October 22 // Saint John Paul II
Again, there could be an entire post about books by and about John Paul II. His autobiographical reflections in Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination witness to his love of the priesthood.
October 29 // Blessed Chiara Badano
Like with Blessed Carlo Acutis, Blessed Jerzy, and Saint John Paul II, we are blessed by the digital age to have video recordings of Blessed Chiara.
This documentary interviews her friends and parents to give a very personal encounter with a girl who truly lived her name ("Chiara" means light). A member of the Focolare movement, she died from cancer at age 17.
A World with Octobers... and Amazing Saints
As Anne Shirley said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
Fall colors, sweatshirts, apple cider (or pumpkin spice if that’s your thing) and some amazing Saints to get to know. Yes, truly I am glad to live in a world where there are Octobers. It’s just not such an ordinary time at all.
Which Saint on this list will you learn more about this month?
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