Catholic Mom 2002 Book Club Selections

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Additional Book Club Recommendations:

bullet Advent Books for Catholic Families
bullet Lent Books for Catholic Families
bulletCurrent Adult Book Club Selections
bullet Catholic Mom Book Spotlight - Indepth Reviews
bullet2003 Book Club Selections
bullet 2002 Book Club Selections
bullet 2001 Book Club Selections
bullet Family/Mothering
bullet Prayer and Spirituality
bullet NFP Resources
bullet Catholic Apologetics
bullet Cookbooks for the Catholic Family
bullet Catholic Fiction
bullet Reference, Autobiographies & Bios
bullet Books for Children
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Barnes& In Association with    Ignatius Press - Catholic Books 2002 Monthly Book Selections

  December 2002

This month we take a look at the variety of wonderful family books available for Advent and Christmas.  Click here to take a look at this month's recommendations and happy holidays!

November 2002

The Seeker's Guide to Mary (Seeker's Series)
by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda

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October 2002

A Miracle for St. Cecilia's
by Katherine Valentine

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September 2002

The Cross at Ground Zero
by Father Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.

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August 2002

The Spirit Woman
by Margaret Coel

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July 2002

Mariette in Ecstasy
by Ron Hansen

About the Book from

A novel about convent life at the turn of the century? Hardly the makings of a page-turner, yet Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy is a gripping, even life-changing book. For the Sisters of the Crucifixion, each day is a ceaseless round of work, study, and prayer--one hardly separate from the other. Their daily life is itself an act of devotion, caught here in a series of illuminated tableaux: hundreds of yellow butterflies alighting on eight gray habits, moving through a field; a sister praying as she "turns over a great slab of dough that rolls as slowly as a white pig"; nuns warming their hands on the flanks of horses, swinging scythes through timothy grass, crushing grapes with their feet.

Into this idyll comes Mariette--young, pretty, devout, but, as her father says, perhaps "too high-strung" for the convent. Prone to "trances, hallucinations, unnatural piety, great extremes of temperament, and, as he put it, 'inner wrenchings,'" Mariette scalds her hands with hot water as penance, threads barbed wire underneath her breasts while she sleeps, and is convinced Jesus speaks to her. Her very glamour disturbs the gentle rhythm of the nuns' lives. But when she begins bleeding from unexplained wounds in her hands, feet, and sides, the convent is thrown into an uproar. Is Mariette a saint? Or just a lying, hysterical girl? Where do we draw the line between madness and faith, mysticism and eroticism, the life of the spirit and that of the world?

It's to Hansen's credit that he never provides easy answers. Mariette's stigmata may or may not be genuine; the novel's achingly gorgeous prose is the true miracle here. Mariette in Ecstasy is a brief, precious book, not a single word in excess, not a single word left out. --Mary Park

For more information on Ron Hansen, click here to see his profile at the University of Santa Clara website.


June 2002

Parenting With Grace : Catholic Parent's Guide To Raising Almost Perfect Kids
by Gregory K. Popcak, et al

About the Book

"Exactly what is a "Catholic parent"? Are we really any different from other Christian or even non-Christian parents, except perhaps in the prayers we teach our children? Could it be that there is no such thing as a Catholic parent, and this book is merely a cynical niche marketing ploy?  The truth is even more shocking. We believe that even beyond the obvious essentials of prayers and parish life, Catholic parents really are a different breed of animal. This book will introduce you to some of those differences and demonstrate how you can make use of them to help your family become a truly exceptional Catholic family."  
from Gregory K. Popcak's website, 


May 2002

Hail, Holy Queen : The Mother of God in the World of God
by Scott Hahn

About the Book

A fresh and enlightening new perspective on Mary, Mother of God, and her central importance in the Christian faith. Hahn employs an accessible, entertaining style to demonstrate Mary's essential role in Christianity's redemptive message.

Most Christians know that the life of Jesus is foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. Through a close examination of the Bible, as well as the work of both Catholic and Protestant scholars and clergy, Hahn brings to light the small but significant details showing that just as Jesus is the "New Adam," so Mary is the "New Eve." He unveils the Marian mystery at the heart of the Book of Revelation and reveals how it is foretold in the Book of Genesis and in the story of King David's monarchy, which speaks of a privileged place for the mother of the king.

Hahn presents a new look at the Marian doctrines: Her Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity, Assumption, and Coronation. Hahn helps his readers gain a more profound understanding of the Marian doctrines truthfulness and relevance to faith and the practice of religion in the contemporary world.

Visit Scott Hahn's Personal Web SiteThe Institute of Applied Biblical Studies

Author's Biography

from Doubleday

Scott Hahn, an internationally renowned Catholic lecturer and apologist, is a professor of theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. His books include A Father Who Keeps His Promises; Rome Sweet Home, the bestselling story, coauthored with his wife, of their conversion to Catholicism; and, most recently, The Lamb's Supper. He lives in Steubenville, Ohio.

April 2002

The Gift of Peace : Personal Reflections
by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin

About the Book
book description from Amazon

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin's gentle leadership throughout his life of ministerial service had made him an internationally beloved figure, but the words he left behind about his final journey would change the lives of many more people from all faiths, from all backgrounds, and from all over the world.

In the last two months of his life, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin made it his ultimate mission to share his personal reflections and insights as a legacy to those he left behind. The Gift of Peace reveals the Cardinal's spiritual growth amid a string of traumatic events: a false accusation of sexual abuse; reconciliation a year later with his accuser, who had earlier recanted the charges; a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and surgery; the return of cancer, now in his liver; his decision to discontinue chemotherapy and live his remaining days as fully as possible. In these pages, Bernardin tells his story openly and honestly, and shares the profound peace he came to at the end of his life. He accepted his peace as a gift from God, and he in turn now shares that gift with the world.

About the Author

Joseph Louis Bernardin was born in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1928. He was ordained a priest in 1952 and served as an Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta (1966-68), general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C. (1968-1972), president of the Conference (1974-1977), and Archbishop of Chicago (1982-1996). He became Cardinal in 1983. Cardinal Bernardin was widely respected for his gentleness, his spirituality, and his ability to reconcile. He received the Medal of Freedom at the White House two months before he died of pancreatic cancer in November 1996.

March 2002

Fire and Roses : The Burning of the 
Charlestown Convent, 1834
by Nancy Lusignan Schultz

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February 2002

There We Stood, Here We Stand: Eleven Lutherans Rediscover their Catholic Roots
by Timothy Drake

About the Book
There We Stood, Here We Stand does something that no previous conversion story book has done. It takes a look at the conversion of 11 individuals from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Since Martin Luther was the first to break with the Church, the stories provide a fascinating look at the differences between Lutherans and Catholics, differences so profound that they have led many to become Catholic. Protestants wanting to learn more about the differences between themselves and Catholics, and Catholics who desire to learn more about their faith and be inspired by the stories of others will enjoy this book.

A note to participants 
from author Tim Drake

I am honored that busy mothers, such as you are, would take the time to read through my book. When my wife, Mary, and I were first contemplating marriage I was still a strong-headed Lutheran. Many well-meaning family and friends, hoping to downplay the differences would tell us, "Lutherans and Catholics are so similar there really are no differences between the two." Yet, I couldn't help but wonder, "if they are so similar, why are they still separate." It would be another five years before I would discover the answer to that question.


Tim Drake is a full-time Catholic author. He currently serves as executive editor with, features correspondent with the National Catholic Register, and contributing editor to Envoy Magazine. His work has appeared in magazines such as Faith and Family, Catholic World Report, Canticle, Lay Witness, Columbia, and Catholic Dossier. In addition, Tim is executive director of Her Choice - St. Cloud, a pro-life telephone answering system. He and his wife reside in St. Cloud, Minnesota with their four young children. Tim's second book, "Saints of the Jubilee" will be published by 1st Books March, 2002.

Excerpt From the Foreword 
by Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

"The essays in this volume represent a small but important part of a much larger story . As is luminously clear in the following essays, people are earnestly searching for the truth about Christ and his Church. They are exploring the proposal of the Second Vatican Council that, if one is convinced that the claims that the Catholic Church makes for herself are true, then one is in conscience bound to enter and remain in full communion with her."

January 2002

The Penguin Complete Father Brown
by G. K. Chesterton


This month, the Book Club takes a look at a body of work by classic author Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874 - 1936).  Born in London, Chesterton was educated at St. Paulís, never attended college and went to art school. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, five plays, five novels, and some two hundred short stories, including a popular series featuring the priest-detective, Father Brown.

Author and critic Amy Welborn (at her web site, A Spirited Life)  says of Chesterton "When we consider the question of clerics and mysteries, the first figure most of us think of is G.K. Chestertonís Father Brown. The first Father Brown story was published in 1910 in the Saturday Evening Post, years before Chesterton had even converted to Roman Catholicism. Forty-eight Father Brown stories were published before Chestertonís death, and for many, the unassuming Catholic priest, who solved mysteries through close observation and intuition, remains the model clerical detective, unmatched by any subsequent efforts by other authors."  

For additional information on G.K. Chesterton, visit the web site of the American Chesterton Society where you can also read excepts of Father Brown stories online.



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