Every month in 2024 Pope Francis has a monthly prayer intention. Every month we will release a book list that will draw your heart and soul deeper into prayer on these topics.
For the terminally ill
We pray that those with a terminal illness, and their families, receive the necessary physical and spiritual care and accompaniment.
Grant, O Lord of life, That we may savor every season of our lives as a gift filled with promise for the future. Grant that we may lovingly accept your will, and place ourselves each day in your merciful hands. And when the moment of our definitive “passage” comes, grant that we may face it with serenity, without regret for what we shall leave behind. For in meeting you, after having sought you for so long, we shall find once more every authentic good which we have known here on earth, in the company of all who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and hope. Mary, Mother of pilgrim humanity, pray for us “now and at the hour of our death.” Keep us ever close to Jesus, your beloved Son and our brother, the Lord of life and glory. Amen!
Our advice to book clubs & those seeking to deepen their spiritual life through literature: pick just one of these books a month, and pray this short prayer before or after each time you read, and at the start of your book club meetings. Then watch how story transforms your empathy, your prayer life, and your capacity to imagine God with you in any situation.
A Good Girl by Johnnie Bernhard
Gracey Reiter confronts a painful past and an intimidating future with the approaching death of her father, Henry Mueller, the self-described “last Mohican” from the chaotic gene pool known as the Walsh-Mueller family. The present holds the answer, and the last opportunity for Gracey to understand her father’s alcoholism, her mother’s infidelity, and her siblings’ version of the truth.
The voices of the past give Gracey the courage to find her voice. Using biting humor and gut-level truths for the first time in her life, Gracey walks across the land mines created by a crippling family legacy.
Henry’s funeral and the Irish wedding of Therese Mueller, Gracey’s and her husband Mark Mueller’s daughter, coincide by a few weeks and serve as a completion of the family circle. With the closing of one door, and the opening of the future, Gracey finds forgiveness by realizing six generations of the Walsh-Mueller family, saints and sinners, criminals and heroes, the abandoned and the celebrated, are forever family, forever bound by blood and the dreams of an Irish girl, Patricia Walsh Mueller.
A Good Girl examines the numbing work of raising children and burying parents through six generations.
Woman My Confession by Marianne Collins
Live through the extraordinary life of Marianne Collins and her amazing conversion. Features an absolutely unbelievable ending that will transform your perspective on grace, suffering, and love.
We warmly invite you to meet this truly beautiful woman. Tens of thousands of readers, men and woman alike, have been deeply moved by her incredible life. She is an effortlessly engaging writer and her story takes less than an evening to read.
Navigating Deep Waters by Jeanie Ewing & Eileen Benthal
Grief afflicts everyone’s lives, including caregivers who provide long-term care for one who requires special needs. Yet caregivers are so often left feeling burnt out, aggrieved, and simply lost or emotionally drained.Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers is a unique resource for busy caregivers who are physically and emotionally spent at the end of a long day. Not a typical book, Navigating Deep Waters is divided into short, page-long chapters that act as meditations for the reader. At the end of each chapter, a few reflection questions intended to serve as journaling prompts and a short prayer are offered to close up the concept.We know caregivers are busy, because we are caregivers. Jeannie has two daughters with special needs, one with a rare genetic condition. And Eileen has been a caregiver to her adult daughter, who also has a rare genetic condition, for eighteen years.We know caregivers don’t have a lot of time. And the time we do have is precious. We must be selective with how we use what little time we have to ourselves.Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers is your oasis in the midst of a long, dusty desert. It is refreshment for your mind and food for your soul. It will aid you on your unique journey and call as a caregiver and ultimately lead you to self-discovery, hope, and healing.
Three Last Things or The Hounding of Carl Jarrold, Soulless Assassin by Corinna Turner
Carl Jarrold, a convicted assassin, believes that all human relationships turn on what one human being wants from another: that there is no such thing as love and thus no meaning to life. Prison chaplain Fr. Jacob, the closest thing he has to a friend, has struggled for three long years to convince Carl how wrong he is—to no avail. But the day of execution has finally arrived, and nothing goes quite as Carl expects. Soon it’s shaping up to be the strangest day he has ever had. But will it prove the worst day of his life…or the best?
Moonboy by Karina Fabian
Cory Taylor was born on the moon – and he was doomed to die there before he turned 20. Frail and coddled since birth, the moonboy decides to run away from home and have adventures before dying and giving his body to science. But when his first adventure leads him on a dangerous trek across the unforgiving moonscape, he may not live to see the next day.
Even worse, the fate of the hermitage depends on his getting help. Can he find rescue for himself and his new friends before it’s too late?
On Heaven's Doorstep by Andrea Jo Rodgers
In Life or Death, There’s Only One Guarantee—God Will Be There
Medical emergencies are among life’s most unexpected and terrifying realities. But isn’t it reassuring in times of crisis, you can find hope and comfort in the hands of a loving God?
Encounter heart-stopping drama in these real-life stories of everyday people like you who found themselves on heaven’s doorstep—fully dependent on the skilled and courageous efforts of first responders and on the mercy of God.
As you read these firsthand accounts of perilous situations with uncertain outcomes, you will experience a full spectrum of emotions, from tender heartache to tremendous joy. Through it all, you will witness God’s amazing love and care for His children, both for those who are brought back from the edge and for those He welcomes into eternal fellowship with Him.
Be inspired as you go on call with veteran EMT Andrea Jo Rodgers and other brave professionals dedicated to helping when humanity is at its most frail.
Celtic Crossing by Len Mattano
A deeply poignant, transcendent tale of life redeemed through death.
For generations Aideen Callaghan’s ancestors were miraculously cured of cancer through the power of a holy relic—the very relic that inspired the Celtic cross—until it vanished from history in 1866 and became Irish lore.
Raised on faith but with an inheritance of death, Aideen has been at odds with religion since losing her daughter to a brain tumor. Now it is her orphaned grandson who lies dying. In desperation Aideen turns to popular American author and New Testament era scholar Fr. Kevin Schaeffer for help. Armed with a priceless family Bible and the sacred pendant worn by Aideen’s beloved great-grandmother—the last to be cured—Kevin abandons his sabbatical research in Dublin and sets his sights on finding the relic in time to save the child.
In their search for clues from Armagh, to Skellig Michael, to Rome, the historical trail from Golgotha to Gaul is slowly revealed as Kevin, his lifelong Vatican friend Marco, and a passionate would-be Irish seminarian uncover truths that ultimately reshape their lives.
Messina by Liz Galvano
Ominous words from the stone-faced physician at the temporary hospital greet her: “Welcome to hell, Miss James.” No description could be more accurate. Earthquake, tsunami, and fire have razed Messina, Sicily. In a single night in 1909, one hundred thousand people never wake up. Physician Lucille James is determined to help despite horrendous conditions, almost non-existent medical supplies, and the opposition of the medical community she worked so hard to join. Giovanni Castello, the man facing her now, stands as her biggest opponent. Surrounded by blood and death and pushed to the edge of exhaustion, Lucille relies on God as her only option. When God gives a gift, after all, a person must use it. Will she have the strength, courage, and faith to do so?
River of Life by Diana Tabbaa
Twelve-year-old Anthony is carefree until his beloved father passes away. Questioning suffering and death, Anthony grows distant from God. A heaven-sent friend helps him to see God’s tender providence within the ebb and flow of life, in currents of loss and restoration, and in the living stream of Christ’s Blood. While trying to find the burial site of martyrs and searching for treasures they hid, he finds a hidden treasure that was before him all along: Christ Crucified. Anthony comes to understand what his father meant by his last words to him, that he would always find him in the Heart of Christ, open at the cross. When Anthony pours himself out for God, water springs up from the earth as a personal sign of the pouring out of Christ’s Heart in a great river of life.
This story illustrates how suffering and death are transformed in union with Christ. Suitable for tweens or older to deepen their understanding of the Catholic faith.
Fair Now, Rain Later by Jeremy Long
“A poignant poetry collection that explores loss and rebirth, grief and hope, and lessons learned from the natural world. Poet Jeremy Long channels the spirit of Long Island Sound and the depths of the human soul in the poetry collection, Fair Now Later Rain” -IndieReader
A contemporary poetry book formed within the perennial tradition and the classics, Fair Now Later Rain combines melodious language with sophisticated thought.
- Written within a personal, spiritual, and philosophical framework, Fair Now Later Rain collects poems about life, love, and happiness, poems about loss, God, being, existence, absence, and more.
- Accompanying the reflective and contemplative poetry about sorrow and death, life and love, are short poems that are witty provocations, clever rhymes, and joyful turns of phrase.
- Fair Now Later Rain is modern melodic poetry with an intellectual and lyrical poetic form.
Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles
Winner of the 2017 Colorado Book Award for Young Adult literature!
After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, Beneath Wandering Stars takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.
Friends in High Places Series: Carlo Acutis, The Boy Who Knew by Corinna Turner
DEAD? DEFINE DEAD.
“You have leukemia.”
Daniel’s just received the worst news a teen can get. The adults in his life are crumbling under the shock. In desperation, he turns to his parish priest for help and is introduced to a boy his age, Carlo Acutis—who just happens to be dead.
Daniel’s convinced the priest is wasting his time. But as he struggles to come to terms with his uncertain future an unlikely friendship develops between him and the holy dead boy—who may not be quite so dead after all.
The Boy Who Knew is the first title in Carnegie Medal nominee Corinna Turner’s new Friends in High Places series. If you’ve always been interested in the saints but find dry biographies boring and hard to get through, this fast-paced story is for you.
Friends in High Places is a short fiction series that presents saints’ biographies in the context of imaginary teenagers’ lives. The stories are written primarily to entertain, with inspiration and education thrown in for free!