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Spiritual Reading — Some Masters of the Spiritual Life

Spiritual Masters. The Church, thank God, has never lacked "spiritual teachers." Their recognized personal sanctity and the extraordinary fecundity of their activity are there to invite us and encourage us. They are the "Saints" who have formed generations of saints. Everyone remembers their names, but how many future priests will come into real contact with them before leaving the seminary?

How many will, through such contact, acquire a genuine spiritual climate for themselves, a taste for the things of God and a desire for interior silence, which is not deceptive and which allows them to discern falsehood in these areas? Every seminary must have a policy about this, and each seminary must give its students a habit and a taste for the great spiritual writers, the real "classics". Reading these classics does not exclude other spiritual reading, but reading these writers must be a pre-eminent activity and must remain indispensable.

(Taken from: Spiritual Formation in Seminaries, from the Congregation for Catholic Education, 1980)

Below is a list of some Spiritual Masterpieces given out as a help for students at the Seminary of Christ the King, Mission, B.C.

St Augustine, Confessions, Commentary on St John

St Benedict, Rule

St Catherine of Siena, Dialogue

St Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Treatise on the Love of God

St Francis of Assisi, The Earlier Rule, The Later Rule, Canticle to Brother Sun

St Gregory of Nyssa, Ascetical Works (On Virginity, The Christian Life, Perfection, etc.)

St Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care

St Ignatius of Antioch, Letters (and writings of the Church Fathers generally)

St lgnatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises

St John Bosco, Virtue and Christian Refinement

John Cassian, Conferences.

St John Climacus, The Ladder

John Henry Newman, The New Eve

St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mount Carmel, Dark Night of the Soul, Living Flame of Love

St Joseph Cafasso, The Priest the Man of God – His Dignity and His Duties

St Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary

St Maximus the Confessor, The Ascetic Life, The Four Centuries on Charity

St Teresa of Avila, Life, Way of Perfection

St Thérèse of Lisieux, Autobiographical Writings, Letters

Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ

St Vincent de Paul, Spiritual Conferences

(Special thanks to the Monks at the Seminary of Christ the King, Mission, B.C. for their work and contribution in this endeavor.)


Baars, Conrad W., M.D.  A Priest for All Seasons Masculine and Celibate, Chicago, Ill.: Franciscan Herald Press, 1972.

Bannon, Fr. Anthony, L.C.  Peter on the Shore:  Vocation in Scripture and in Real Life, Hamden, CT.: Circle, 1996.

Boylan, Fr. M. Eugene, O.C.R.  The Spiritual Life of the Priest, Westminster, Maryland: Newman, 1950.

Cristiani, Leon.  Saint John Vianney:  The Village Priest Who Fought God's Battles, Boston, MA.: Pauline, 1994.

de Hueck Doherty, Catherine.  Dear Father:  A Message of Love to Priests.  Combermere, ON. Madonna House Publications, 1988.

de Valk, Fr. Alphonse, C.S.B.  Priestly Celibacy in History, Battleford, SK: Marian Press, 1990.

Dulles, Fr. Avery, S.J.  The Priestly Office:  A Theological Reflection, New York: Paulist, 1997.

Duquin, Christopher J. and Lorene Hanley Duquin.  Could You Ever Become a Catholic Priest?  New York: Alba, 1998.

Friedl, Msgr. Francis P. and Rex. V. E. Reynolds. Extraordinary Lives:  Thirty-Four Priests Tell Their Stories.  Notre Dame, IN.: Ave Maria, 1997.

Groeschel, Fr. Benedict, C.F.R.  A Priest Forever:  The Life of Father Eugene Hamilton, Huntington, IN.: Our Sunday Visitor, 1998.

Gumbley, Fr. Walter, O.P.  Parish Priests Among the Saints: Canonized or Beatified Parish Priests, Westminster, Maryland: Newman, 1947.

Havey, Fr. Francis. Retreat Companion For Priests, Rockford, Ill.: Tan, 1950.

Perling, Fr. James.  Common Sense for Priests.  Huntington, IN.: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996.

St. Pius X.  Recipe for Holiness, Houston, Tx.: Lumen Christi Press, 1970.

Sacred Congregation for the Clergy.  Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, 1994.

Stasiak, Fr. Kurt, O.S.B.  A Confessor's Handbook, New York, Paulist, 1999.

Stockums, Most Rev. Wilhelm, D.D.  The Priesthood, Rockford, Ill.: Tan, 1974.

Suhard, Emmanuel Cardinal.  Priests Among Men, New York, Integrity, 1949.

The Catholic Priest as Moral Teacher and Guide (A Symposium), San Francisco, CA.: Paulist, 1990.

TouchPoints for Men, Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale, 1996.

Trese, Fr. Leo.  Vessel of Clay, New York, Sheed & Ward, 1950.