National Review Online
November 23, 2012
By Colleen Carroll Campbell
After a contentious election season — with, for conservatives, a dispiriting outcome — here are my picks for Christmas books that can connect us with an eternal perspective this holiday season:
Saint Teresa of Avila, by Marcelle Auclair. My father gave me this book when I was a college student not terribly interested in the lives of the saints or in a deeper literary exploration of my Catholic faith. Auclair’s gripping biography of Teresa of Avila changed that.
The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D., and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. There’s no substitute for reading the feisty, engaging Carmelite reformer and mystic in her own words, and this collection is a perfect way to encounter Teresa in all her holy boldness.
Therese, by Dorothy Day. This was another pivotal book in my spiritual journey. If we consider only the surfaces of their life stories, the bohemian Day and the bourgeois Thérèse of Lisieux may seem an unlikely match, but both share an appreciation of hidden grace and a belief in the power of little souls to change the world.
Story of a Soul, by Thérèse of Lisieux, translated by John Clarke, O.C.D. Thérèse’s signature work, written under obedience before her death at age 24, became a worldwide bestseller and helped make this cloistered Carmelite nun a doctor of the Catholic Church and one of the most beloved saints in history. Read it at least twice; profound truths are hidden beneath the surface of Thérèse’s florid prose.
Essays on Woman, volume 2 of The Collected Works of Edith Stein, translated by Freda Mary Oben. Many are familiar with Blessed Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and his call for a “new feminism,” but few know about the deep resonance between his writings and those of Edith, a saint whom he canonized. The insights of this Catholic philosopher and Auschwitz martyr are as relevant to women today as ever.
— Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, journalist, television host of EWTN’sFaith & Culture, and former speechwriter to President George W. Bush. Her newest book is My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir.