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Worlds Great Catholic Literature

Item Number: 18752

Catalog Code: WGCL

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Worlds Great Catholic Literature

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Traditional Catholics busy with life – and the struggle in the Church – often neglect good reading. Sometimes, they're less acquainted with their Catholic heritage than with the very enemies of the Church who concern them.

It wasn't always thus. A thriving Catholic publishing industry once produced hundreds of meaty books annually – and few as good as this popular collection, first published in 1942. 208 selections from 103 different authors and classic works. Here you'll find the writings of the Church's greatest saints and martyrs, Fathers and Doctors, mystics, popes, poets, essayists, historians and novelists. You'll feast on sermons, prayers, stories, historical accounts, biographical portraits, fables, satires and more. A sampling:

Spiritual and theological classics:

  • St. Thomas Aquinas on the Just War
  • Pascal's famous “Wager”
  • St. Catherine of Siena's stern letter to the Pope
  • Fr. Damian on living among lepers
  • St. Thomas More on the foundations of faith
  • Savonarola's Sermon Against Tyrants
  • St. Jerome on the priestly ideal
  • G.K. Chesterton on his conversion
  • St. Augustine on his mother, St. Monica

Generous excerpts from timeless works:

  • The Imitation of Christ
  • The Rule of St. Benedict
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • The Divine Comedy
  • The Rule of St. Francis
  • Douay-Rheims Bible
  • Liber Exemplorum (medieval source-book for sermons)

First-hand glimpses of great people, ideas and events:

  • The last day of St. Thomas More (told by his son-in-law)
  • Louis Pasteur's views on science
  • Michelangelo's views on the purpose of art
  • The Trial of St. Joan of Arc (from the actual transcript)

Partial listing of other greats you'll meet:

  • St. Francis de Sales
  • Juliana of Norwich
  • Dante
  • Tertullian
  • St. Bernard
  • Orestes Brownson
  • Leo XIII
  • Lord Acton
  • Cervantes
  • St. Ignatius Loyola
  • John Henry Newman
  • Pius XI
  • Petrarch
  • Cardinal James Gibbons
  • St. Teresa of Avila
  • St. Justin Martyr
  • Sir Thomas Malory
  • The Venerable Bede
  • Charles Peguy
  • Erasmus
  • Castiglione
  • Benedict XV
  • Eusebius
  • St. Bonaventure
  • St. John Chrysostom
  • St. John Fisher

Works by modern novelists, poets and essayists:

  • Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson
  • Joyce Kilmer
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Francis Thompson
  • Leon Bloy
  • Wilfred Ward
  • G.K. Chesterton


You'll even find some delightful surprises from non-Catholics – such as Nathaniel Hawthorne's deeply sympathetic view of Confession, and Robert Louis Stevenson's passionate defense of the "leper priest," Fr. Damian, against a heartless critic.

All selections are chosen to stand on their own, but also to encourage further reading. A detailed table of contents and complete index of authors makes for easy browsing.

Whether you're already a “well-read” Catholic or simply want to become one, this volume will afford you hours of inspiring and enjoyable reading.

Special 30-page section gives you capsule biographies of the authors, and historical background on the selections

“I long for the beasts which are made ready for me, and I pray that they may be found prompt in so far as I am concerned,. I shall even entice them into devouring me with dispatch, lest it may happen to me as it has happened to others whom they have not touched through fear. Even if they be unwilling, I will compel them to it.” —St. Ignatius of Antioch

“On behalf of Christ crucified I tell you: refuse to believe the counsels of the devil, who would hinder your holy and good resolution. Be manly in my sight, and not timorous. Answer God, who calls you to hold and possess the seat of the glorious Shepherd St. Peter, whose vicar you have been. And raise the standard of the holy Cross.” —St. Catherine of Siena to Pope Gregory XI

“The justice of God must be vast like His compassion.” —Blaise Pascal

“Within her heart was a great need. Close at hand, within the veil of the confessional, was the relief. She flung herself down in the penitent’s place; and, tremulously, passionately, with sobs, tears, and the turbulent overflow of emotion too long repressed, she poured out the dark story which had infused its poison into her innocent life.” —Nathaniel Hawthorne

“The moment men cease to pull against [the Catholic Church] they fell a tug toward it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it.” —G.K. Chesterton














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St. Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard of Clairvaux Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 08/20
Tridentine Calendar - 08/20

Patron Of: Beekeepers, Candle-makers, Gibraltar, Wax-refiners

Also known as

    * Mellifluous Doctor of the Church
    * Last of the Fathers of the Holy Church


    * 20 August


    Born to the French nobility; brother of Saint Humbeline. At age 22, fearing the ways of the world, he, four of his brothers, and 25 friends joined the abbey of Citeaux; his father and another brother joined soon after. Benedictine. Founded and led the monastery of Clairvaux which soon had over 700 monks and eventually 160 daughter houses. Revised and reformed the Cistercians. Advisor to, and admonisher of, King Louis the Fat and King Louis the Young. Attended the Second Lateran Council. Fought Albigensianism. Helped end the schism of anti-Pope Anacletus II. Preached in France, Italy, and Germany. Helped organize the Second Crusade. Friend and biographer of Saint Malachy O’More. Spritual advisor to Pope Eugene III, who had originally been one of his monks. First Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints. Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius VIII.

    Every morning Bernard would ask himself, “Why have I come here?”, and then remind himself of his main duty – to lead a holy life.


    * 1090 at Fontaines-les-Dijon, Burgundy, France


    * 20 August 1153 at Clairvaux Abbey, Ville-sous-la-Ferté, Aube, France


    * 1170 by Pope Alexander III


    * beekeepers
    * bees
    * Burgundy, France
    * candlemakers
    * chandlers
    * Cistercian Order
    * Cistercians
    * Gibraltar
    * Queens College, Cambridge, England
    * Speyer Cathedral
    * wax-melters
    * wax refiners


    * beehive
    * bees
    * book
    * Cistercian having a vision of Mary
    * Cistercian with a beehive
    * Cistercian with a chained demon
    * Cistercian with a mitre on the ground beside him
    * Cistercian with a swarm of bees nearby
    * Cistercian with a white dog
    * Cistercian writing and watching Mary
    * instruments of the Passion
    * pen
    * white dog
    * with Saint Humbeline


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


St. Catherine of Siena

St. Catherine of Siena Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 4/29
Tridentine Calendar - 4/30

Patron Of: Artists, Fire, Firefighters, Illness, Leather Workers, Nurses, Philosophers, Scribes, Secretaries, Stenographers, Tongue

    Youngest child in a large family. At the age of 6 she had a vision in which Jesus appeared and blessed her. Her parents wanted her to marry, but she became a Dominican tertiary. Mystic. Stigmatist. Received a vision in which she was in a mystical marriage with Christ, and the Infant Christ presented her with a wedding ring. Counselor to Pope Gregory XI and Pope Urban VI. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church on 4 October 1970.

    25 March 1347 at Siena, Tuscany, Italy

    29 April 1380 of a mysterious and painful illness that came on without notice, and was never properly diagnosed

    July 1461 by Pope Pius II

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.


St. Erasmus

St. Erasmus Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 06/02

Patron Of: Against Seasickness, Ammunition Workers, Against Stomach Diseases, Against Abdominal Pains, Against Appendicitis, Against Birth Pains, Against Colic, Against Danger at Sea, Against Storms, Boatmen, Childbirth, Mariners, Navigators, Sailors, Watermen, Women In Labor

Also known as

    * Elmo
    * Eramo
    * Erarmo
    * Ermo
    * Herasmus
    * Rasimus
    * Rasmus
    * Telmo


    * 2 June


    Bishop of Formiae, Campagna, Italy. He fled to Mount Lebanon in the persecutions of emperor Diocletian where he was fed by a raven so he could stay in hiding. Discovered by the authorities, he was imprisoned, but an angel rescued him. Recaptured, he was martyred. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Namesake for the static electric discharge called Saint Elmo’s Fire.


    * disemboweled c.303 at Formiae, Italy


    * Pre-Congregation


    * against abdominal pains
    * against appendicitis
    * against birth pains
    * against childhood intestinal disease
    * against colic
    * against danger at sea
    * against intestinal disorders
    * against seasickness
    * against stomach diseases
    * against storms
    * ammunition workers
    * boatmen
    * childbirth
    * explosives workers
    * Gaeta, Italy
    * mariners
    * navigators
    * ordnance workers
    * sailors
    * watermen
    * women in labour


    * windlass

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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