Catholic Authors


[FONT=Arial]For our work revising our 7th and 8th grade reading curriculum in a Catholic school, I desire to have a stronger Catholic influence in the selections the kids read. To that end, I have a list of Catholic authors as a starting point from which to select material. Some of these are too hard for junior high kids, and I know there are names omitted. We are looking for a wide range of genres, including fiction, poetry, essay, and autobiography. I am inviting comments, additions, or criticisms for the following list. Who did I leave off? Who do you think is for beyond junior high? [/FONT]

Hilaire Belloc
Geoffrey Chaucer
G. K. Chesterton
Dorothy Day
Christopher Dawson
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Graham Greene
Ernest Hemingway
Gerard Manley Hopkins
James Joyce
Ronald Knox
Jane Lane
Thomas Merton
St. Thomas More
John Henry Newman
Aidan Nichols
Henry Nouwen
Flannery O’Connor
Alexander Pope
Katherine Anne Porter
Ellen Tarry
Francis Thompson
J. R. R. Tolkien
Evelyn Waugh
Oscar Wilde


Walker Percy and Gene Wolfe for more mature readers.
John C. Wright is a SF writer who just converted this Easter.


Rumer Godden converted partway through her career. She wrote some books for children and some for adults. Wonderful author!


Louis de Wohl. And if you only read one of his books, read “The Spear”. His books are novelizations of the lives of the saints (“Lay Siege to Heaven” is about St. Catherine of Siena, for example.) His books are available through Ignatius Press and they also have an extensive list of books for young readers.


Two more…

Marcus Grodi’s “How Firm a Foundation”

Martin de Porres Kennedy’s “A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’s Court” (a discussion/study guide is also available)

Okay, more than two…

Amy Welborn, Matthew Pinto, Tim Staples, and Patrick Madrid (to name but a few) have some excellent apologetics books aimed at young people. Easy to read and understand and chock full of information about the faith that young people need.


See, when Faith and Freedom readers were established, written and published by Catholic University of America, you would have had these and other Catholic authors all in one anthology each year. They were reguarly updated to include new technology and history. They stopped making them in the late 1960s.

And please don’t forget Caryll Houselander, esp. the story of Racla the Gypsy. If you have students who might not be up to the task of some of the authors you’ve chosen, or a teacher of a younger grade is looking for a Catholic authory, I also recommend Kate Seredy’s books, esp. The Good Master.

If you can skim them for inappropriate material, then of course Taylor Caldwell’s books (some content may be unsuitable for younger readers).


The Faith and Freedom readers are available for grades K thru 8 from Seton Home School! I can’t believe I forgot to mention them!


Sean O’Casey, Brendan Behan, William B. Yeats



When they fell out of copyright, Seton snagged them. However, they do not carry the original covers, and most of the series is the one from the late 1950s. They’re good, but a person ends up explaining why David, Ann and Timmy have no Internet or cable…let alone Wii…


Yeah, but the ones for 5th thru 8th grade have all those great stories by Kate Seredy, Caryll Houslander, and selections from Shakespeare, poetry, Scripture. IIRC, it was 7th and 8th graders the OP was targeting.


Yes they do, particularly the supplements in between the Spaulding readers, such as the Book of Fortitude and* the Book of Gladness*. And it would save the OP a heap of time!!!

I have a set of the 1960s revised editions through sixth grade, and the 1950s seventh and eighth grade set from the 1950s (I’m still looking for the primary flashcards and an unused On The Road To Reading). I had extras I sold/ gave to a traditional Catholic school starting up, and sold a complete 1950s ed. on eBay for quite a chunk of change.


What about some selections from the Church Fathers? Athanasius, Augustine, Cyrill, the Didache, etc…


A Jesuit professor of mine got me hooked on Sigrid Undset. Her Kirstin Lavransdatter trilogy is downright beautiful. I can’t give too much away, but it’s about a girl and the struggle pivots on 3 things: her father, her faith, and the man she loves. I honestly think every young woman should read that series at least once in her life. I’m currently in the midst of her great work, The Master of Hestviken… most of her books have very strong Catholic themes and influences in them, as she is a Catholic convert.


R.P. Leonardo Castellani (Argentinean Priest)

Nicolás Gómez Dávila (Colombian Philosopher)

These two are some of the best thinkers from the XX century.




Is this list for advanced placement or very motivated homeschool students? If not, it's too ambitious. Students AND teacher will be frustrated.

A few funny chesterton rhymes? Sure. A few Shakespeare sonnets? Sure again. A little GMHopkins? I guess grade 7 can hang in. But Waugh? Belloc? Joyce?

And tho i love Henri Nouwen, his writing needs to be unpacked skillfully. And much of Merton's would be inconsistent with the unambiguous orthodoxy that should be taught to jr high and high school students.

I heartilly second the suggestions of Carryl Houselander and Faith and Freedom . Also Mary Fabian Wyndeat (sp?) writes good stories of saints-- but perhaps more on 5 th and
6 th grade levels.

Undset's Kirsten Lavransdatter trilogy, while marvelous, are 11th, 12th grade level at earliest. So are most of the authors mentioned.


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