Favorite Books to Introduce one to the Church and Guide a Vocation?

Hello All,

I have a vague feeling that I’m called to be a religious sister. I know that I need to begin with the basics and I would love to hear recommendations of good books to help me seriously grow in my spiritual life and to learn more about the Church in general. I want to read the writings of the saints and I’m not sure who to begin with. Can someone share examples of books that helped you grow closer to God, to appreciate the Church more, and/or led you to convert to Catholicism?


Hi Little Dragon!

I’m discerning too! I once read a list of books every Catholic should read, and it had Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales listed. I happened to see it in a Barnes and Noble, so I picked it up—if you want a practical, easy-to-read book to help you grow in holiness, this is it.

In it, St. Francis de Sales guides his fictional directee Philothea in everything from proper Mass attendance to mental prayer. If only for his section on prayer, this book is worth getting. St. Francis is easy to understand, and anyone can start practicing his “in the world” spirituality. That’s what I like so much about St. Francis; he believed a devout life and true holiness was for everyone, in every station of life, and his advice is applicable not only to religious, but also to the common lay person. The translation by John K. Ryan is my personal favorite.

St. Francis de Sales is one of the founders of the Visitation of Holy Mary, an order of contemplative religious. The Visitation is unique, because the sisters do not practice severe penance; in place of traditional practices, the sisters are called to interior mortification, renouncing personal preferences and striving to live in “humility before God, and in great gentleness towards neighbor.” The sisters strive to live in simplicity and charity, practicing the “little virtues.” St. Francis founded the order because he didn’t want to prevent the more frail or physically disabled from pursuing religious life. :thumbsup:

Another great book is The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis; it’s great for meditation. St. Therese of the Little Flower loved this book; the other sisters said she always had a copy on her person.

This book hasn’t been released yet (2 January 2014) but should be well worth the wait.

The Disciples’ Call: Theologies of Vocation from Scripture to the Present Day
Available at Amazon or (if you’re outside the US) Bookdpository

Thank you very much! These are exactly the sort of things I am looking for. I’ll look into them.

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