As we draw near to the Feast of All Saints, it is fitting to spend some time getting to know a little more about these heavenly friends of the Church Triumphant. Today, I’m sharing with you a short list of my favorite books about saints. While a few of these folks are still traveling the road to canonization, all are certain exemplars of the love of Christ in their daily lives. We would do well to take a note or two for our own path of sanctification.
Favorite Books about Saints
The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux
If you haven’t read the autobiography of this dear saint yet, do yourself a favor and move it to the top of your TBR pile. Her way of humility and love is something every one of us should take a lesson from and imitate on our road to sanctification. The interior life of this cloistered nun was anything but boring.
Joan of Arc by Mark Twain
This is probably my favorite saint biography of all time. Twain writes such a moving account of this beloved saint through the eyes of her admiring, fictitious page (who is clearly Twain’s proxy), that you can’t help but adopt his devotion. Such an endearing account is especially telling as he was a man rather skeptical of religion.
The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
This sweet story is told by a Jew who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria into France and remained for a time in Lourdes, asking the intercession of St. Bernadette for protection. He promised to write her story if he escaped. I imagine you can guess if he made it out alive.
A Man of the Beatitudes by Luciana Frassati
An inspiring tale told by the sister of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, who exemplified the Beatitudes throughout his short life. He was a man of his time, yet always rooted firmly in the love of Christ. He had a heart for the poor and gave all, including his life, in service of them. The life he blazed in his short 28 years was phenomenal.
A Witness to Joy by Cristiana Paccini and Simone Troisi
The cause for the canonization of Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo was just opened in June 2017. In this book, two close friends of hers relate her unrelenting joy in the face of unspeakable pain and suffering. After returning two children to God right after their births, Chiara faced trial anew when diagnosed with cancer after becoming pregnant with her third child. Through all the crosses she was called to carry, her reliance on the providence of God stood firm and the smile she carried inspired all who met her.
To Quell the Terror by William Bush
This relates the story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, sixteen religious sisters who were beheaded during the French Revolution because they refused to denounce the Faith. The hymns of praise they sang to God as they ascended the scaffold was moving to even the most stone-hearted of their captors. Their martyrdom is believed to be the catalyst for bringing an end to the Reign of Terror in France. (The dramatic play by Georges Bernanos called Dialogues of the Carmelites also magnificently tells their story.)
St. John Paul the Great: His Five Loves by Jason Evert
A beautiful tribute to this holy pope relating many untold stories from his life revolving around his five loves: Young People, Human Love, The Eucharist, Our Lady, and The Cross. If there was a man who exemplified the love of Christ in every aspect of his life and showed us how to suffer well over this past century, it was our dear Pope John Paul II.
Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge
The author of this book was an agnostic journalist whose encounter with Mother Teresa while on assignment to produce a documentary about her life profoundly impacted his life. Her ardent faith moved him in a way he couldn’t shake and he wrote this in an effort to survey all that she had taught him through her unassuming example. Muggeridge later converted to Christianity.
The Life of St Francis by St. Bonaventure
A book about a saint by a saint. Bonaventure relates the transformation from spoiled child to humble servant of this radical saint. A contemporary of Francis, Bonaventure gives us a first-hand account of his love for all creatures great and small.
Bonus: Drinking with the Saints by Michael P. Foley
I would be remiss in providing a booklist of saint biographies, but excluding this excellent book to help you properly celebrate their feast days. Containing a thorough list of libations for nearly every recognized saint’s feast, you now have a reason to Sláinte! every day of the year!
What’s your favorite book about saints? Let us know in the comments below!
Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.