Rediscover Book Club

June Follow-Up / Matthew Kelly: Rediscover the Saints

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The Saint of the Day is Saint Joseph Cafasso. At a time when rigorist ideas were rampant in the seminaries of Italy, Saint Joseph Cafasso proved to be a moderate, leading the students to the best of Catholic thought without going to extremes. He also encouraged them to join the Secular Franciscans and develop a love for the Eucharist. He is known as the "Priest of the Gallows" due to his extensive work with prisoners who were condemned to death.

Summer Reading

The most popular saint book in circulation is probably Butler's Lives of the Saints. It has been revised and updated many times and can be found at your local library. The version that I own is pictured here and is linked in the title above through Amazon. I encourage you to research the different versions (some have beautiful daily devotions included and others are more concise) and find one that will help you get to know the great saints of our Church.

Meredith Mezacapa's (awesome) guide to Saint Augustine's sermons:

Meredith's number one recommendation is this book (Essential Sermons, Augustine Series). Below she has graciously offered us some additional resources with included links. If you would like access to Meredith's senior thesis on Augustine's sermons, feel free to reach out to her and she would be happy to give you access and guide you through it. Thank you Meredith!

See below for Meredith's recommendations:

  1. The best English version (in my opinion) of St. Augustine's sermons can be found as a part of a larger, print-only collection. It is called The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, in which the translation and notes are by Edmund Hill, OP, and of which the editor is John E. Rotelle, OSA. There are 11 volumes of sermons, which run about $50 to $70 each. Of course, this is a more intense set than you are likely interested in, but I thought to mention it in case you became interested after reading some of the sermons online.
  2. The book I most highly recommend for an introduction to St. Augustine's sermons is a one-volume, abridged version of the full collection. It is called Essential Sermons (Augustine Series) and can be found on Amazon here, in Kindle or paperback. I find it has an excellent selection of his sermons that cover a wide array of topics, and it is a go-to book for many academic courses on St. Augustine. The translations are taken from the full collection mentioned above, so they are still by Edumund Hill, OP, and therefore excellent. The editor of this abridged book is Daniel Doyle, OSA. In addition to translations, the book contains wonderful introductions to St. Augustine, his preaching, and his sermons-- something you'll be hard pressed to find on the online sources.
  3. And then there are a collection of online sources for a variety of St. Augustine's sermons. Unfortunately, I think the only totally comprehensive collection of the sermons is in the full printed collection, but you can usually find a number of his sermons online. Unlike the book I recommended above, these sites do not contain substantial background information on St. Augustine, his preaching and preaching style, or the sermons themselves. They are, nonetheless, still decent.
    1. Here is probably the best online source I could find for English translations of St. Augustine's works. I like best the links under the "New Advent" section, because New Advent is a Catholic website, they seem to provide some (though very limited) introduction to the sermons, and the works are clearly labeled. Many of the works linked in this section are written works of St. Augustine, as opposed to his sermons, so I would start with the following two sections:
      1. Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament
      2. Homilies on the First Epistle of John
      3. That being said, the written works of St. Augustine are also wonderful. If you're interested in those, I would start with the Confessions, which is probably his most famous work.
    2. I like this source because it includes a manageable number of sermons, and because it gives the sermons titles that help provide a little context for each. There are Biblical citations included, which is helpful, but I wish that there were also footnotes for some of St. Augustine's more complex or confusing phrases (yet another reason I recommend the book over an online source). I am not familiar with the translator, so I do not know how high the quality is.
    3. Here is an extremely long source, which contains many of St. Augustine's sermons on the New Testament. This source contains a little introduction, which is helpful, but not as helpful (in my opinion) as the one in Essential Sermons. There are Biblical footnotes, and footnotes of the Latin for clarifying translation choices. I do wish that there were more background or helpful notes for each sermon to explain some of the non-obvious features or context.
    4. Here is another long source that may be the same, or at least is a part of the same collection, as the one listed above (ed. by Philip Schaff). I like this one because you can make use of a Table of Contents, so that the body of the text does not feel overwhelming, and so that you have a little more guidance on what sermon you are reading, on what topic. My reservations with this resource are the same as I mentioned just above.
    5. You can also check out this great resource, Augustine of Hippo:A Biography, written by Peter Brown.

Amanda Haberman, SJA Pastoral Minister

Please contact me any time with ideas you would like to share, things you would like me to research or pursue... or just to say hello! Thank you for all of your continued support. God Bless!