Through the ages, Christians have communicated to the world through written works of art. The pen, the typewriter, the computer, or the laptop would crank out words that had the reader witness the beauty of  a romantic world, the horrors of war, the wonder of nature, the suspenseful mysteries, or the heart stopping feats of valor.

The authors are countless but we will read about their lives and their stories.  Their contributions to society are immortalized in their works.

List of Catholic Authors

The authors listed in this section should be limited to those who identify as Catholic authors in some form. This does not mean they are necessarily orthodox in their beliefs. It does mean they identify as Catholic in a religious, cultural, or even aesthetic manner. The common denominator is that at least some (and preferably the majority) of their writing is imbued with a Catholic religious, cultural or aesthetic sensibility.

As the anti-Catholic laws were lifted in the mid-19th century, there was a revival of Catholicism in the British Empire. There has long been a distinct Catholic strain in English literature.

The most notable figures are Cardinal Newman, a convert, one of the leading prose writers of his time and also a substantial poet, and the priest-poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, also a convert, although most the latter's works were only published many years after his death. In the early 20th century, G. K. Chesterton, a convert, and Hilaire Belloc, a French-born Catholic who became a British subject, promoted Roman Catholic views in direct apologetics as well as in popular, lighter genres, such as Chesterton's "Father Brown" detective stories. From the 1930s on the "Catholic novel" became a force impossible to ignore, with leading novelists of the day, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, converts both, dealing with distinctively Catholic themes in their work. Although James Hanley was not a practising Catholic, a number of his novels emphasise Catholic beliefs and values, including The Furys Chronicle.

In America, Flannery O'Connor wrote powerful short stories with a Catholic sensibility and focus, set in the American South where she was decidedly in the religious minority.

English language




  • Radclyffe Hall -- English novelist, author of The Well of Loneliness.

  • Ron Hansen – contemporary American writer of Mariette in Ecstasy and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

  • Jon Hassler – American novelist

  • Seamus Heaney – Irish poet;[4][5] translated Beowulf; pre-Christian aspects are important in his work

  • Peter Hebblethwaite – English journalist and biographer

  • Ernest Hemingway – raised Protestant; converted to Catholicism

  • Tony Hendra – Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul

  • Patrick Holland – Australian novelist and short-story writer

  • Tony Hillerman – author of mystery novels set among the Navajo of the American Southwest

  • Gerard Manley Hopkins – 19th-century convert; became a Jesuit priest and poet; known for poems including "The Wreck of the Deutschland" and "God's Grandeur"

  • Paul Horgan

  • Robert Hutchinson – American religion writer, columnist and essayist, author of When in Rome: A Journal of Life in Vatican City, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible and Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Elizabeth Inchbald – early-19th-century English actress, novelist, and playwright

  • Laura Ingraham – conservative commentator, author and radio show host; often appears on Fox News and EWTN

  • Lionel Johnson – late-19th-century English poet and convert

  • Paul Johnson – historian and journalist – wrote A History of Christianity, Pope John Paul II and the Catholic Restoration, and others books

  • David Jones – British modernist poet; much of his work shows the influence of his conversion to Catholicism

  • James Joyce – Irish novelist from a middle-class Catholic family; Jesuit-educated; novels include Ulysses and Finnegans Wake; novels are permeated by Catholic themes and concepts; may have rejected the church as an adult (some critics/biographers opine that he never really left or later reconciled in some regard)

  • Julian of Norwich – late-14th- and early-15th-century English mystic and anchoress; she either wrote or dictated her mystical experiences consciously to instruct others; both the original version and the revised version are known as either A Revelation of Divine Love or simply Showings

  • George Kelly – Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; uncle of Grace Kelly

  • Margery Kempe – 15th-century English lay woman and self-proclaimed mystic; wrote one of the first, if not the first, autobiographies in the English language

  • Jack Kerouac – Beat author of On the Road; son of French-Canadian immigrants; born and reared a Catholic; experimented with Buddhism and later returned to Catholicism

  • Joyce Kilmer – poet; a convert; poetry titles include The Robe of Christ and The Rosary

  • Russell Kirk – American conservative political theorist and man of letters

  • Ronald Knox – convert who became a Roman Catholic priest; translated the Biblefrom the Latin Vulgate in the 20th century; wrote in a diverse range of genres, including detective stories, essays, sermons and satire

  • Dean Koontz – American novelist; known for moralistic thrillers; converted to Catholicism while in college

  • Peter Kreeft – professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College; writer of numerous books as well as a writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics

  • Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn – Austrian political writer and novelist, whose most influential works were first published in English



  • John Henry Newman – convert; became a Catholic priest and later a Cardinal; master of English prose, e.g., his Apologia Pro Vita Sua; also wrote poetry, e.g., Lead, Kindly Light and The Dream of Gerontius

  • Aidan Nichols – Catholic theologian

  • Henri Nouwen – American Catholic priest; left academic post to work with the mentally challenged at the L'Arche community of Daybreak in Toronto, Canada

  • Michael Novak – contemporary politically conservative American political writer

  • Alfred Noyes – English poet; known for "The Highwayman"; wrote about his conversion to Catholicism in The Unknown God (1934)

  • Kate O'Beirne – wrote syndicated columns for the National Review and other conservative publications; also wrote books

  • Flannery O'Connor – her writing was deeply informed by the sacramental, and the Thomist notion that the created world is charged with God; like Graham Greene and Francois Mauriac she often focused on sin and human evil

  • Flann O'Brien – Irish comic writer

  • Lee Oser – American novelist and literary critic; Christian humanist

  • Coventry Patmore – 19th-century poet; a convert

  • Craig Paterson – philosopher and writer on bioethics

  • Joseph Pearce – English literary scholar and critic; former British National Frontmember who renounced racism on conversion; edited the anthology Flowers of Heaven: 1000 Years of Christian Verse; biographer of Oscar Wilde and Hilaire Belloc

  • Walker Percy – Southerner American convert and novelist who helped create the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He was also the man who discovered and helped publish the work of the deceased John Kennedy Toole. His most well known novel The Moviegoer won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1962.

  • David Pietrusza – American historian, editor of "Sursum Corda: Documents and Readings on the Traditional Latin Mass"

  • Ramesh Ponnuru – American conservative political writer; wrote The Party of Deathattacking the pro-choice lobby in the United States

  • Alexander Pope – English poet; a Roman Catholic in a period when that was potentially unsafe in England (the early 18th century)

  • Katherine Anne Porter – on-again and then off-again convert

  • J. F. Powers – American writer of stories about clerical life

  • Timothy Radcliffe – Dominican Order lecturer, writer, and professor

  • Piers Paul Read – contemporary but orthodox Catholic British novelist; vice president of the Catholic Writers Guild

  • Anne Rice – American writer; after a long separation from her Catholic faith during which she described herself as atheist, she returned to the church in 1998 and pledged to use her talents to glorify God; in 2010, she recanted her faith, declaring that she was going to follow Christ without Christianity, out of solidarity for her gay son

  • David Adams Richards – award-winning Canadian novelist, essayist and screenwriter; from New Brunswick

  • Francis Ripley – English priest; wrote about the faith

  • Richard Rohr – contemporary American Franciscan friar

  • Frederick Rolfe (alias Baron Corvo) – late-19th- and early-20th-century novelist; a failed aspirant to the priesthood

  • Raymond Roseliep – American priest and poet

  • Kevin Rush – American lay Catholic, playwright of award-winning stage play, Crossing Event Horizon, about a Catholic high school guidance counselor's midlife crisis, and novelist, author of Earthquake Weather, a novel for Catholic teens, and The Lance and the Veil, an adventure in the time of Christ.


  • George Santayana – Spanish-American philosopher and novelist; baptised Catholic; despite taking a sceptical stance in his philosophy to belief in the existence of God, he identified himself with Catholic culture, referring to himself as an "aesthetic Catholic"

  • Steven Schloeder – American architect and theologian; wrote book Architecture in Communion (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1998)

  • William Shakespeare – regarded by most to be the greatest playwright and poet in the English language, as well as being one of the greatest writers in the world; although disputed, a growing number of biographers and critics hold that his religionwas Catholic

  • John Patrick Shanley – screenwriter and playwright; educated by the Irish Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Charity

  • Patrick Augustine Sheehan – Canon Sheehan of Doneraile, Catholic priest, novelist essayist and poet; significant figure of the renouveau Catholique in English literature in the United States and in Europe

  • Dame Edith Sitwell – English poet; a convert

  • Robert Smith – American Catholic priest, author and educator

  • Joseph Sobran – wrote for The Wanderer, an orthodox Roman Catholic journal

  • St. Robert Southwell – 16th-century Jesuit; martyred during the persecutions of Elizabeth I; wrote religious poetry, i.e., "The Burning Babe", and Catholic tracts

  • Dame Muriel Spark – Scottish novelist; decided to join the Roman Catholic Church in 1954 and considered it crucial in her becoming a novelist in the tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene; novels often focus on human evil and sin

  • Robert Spencer – writer and commentator on Islam and jihad

  • Karl Stern – German-Jewish convert and psychiatrist

  • Francis Stuart – Australian-born Irish-nationalist Catholic convert; son-in-law of Maud Gonne; accused of anti-Semitism in his later years by Maire McEntee O'Brien and Kevin Myers

  • Jon M. Sweeney - American author of many books on religion, popular history, and memoir; convert

  • Ellen Tarry – writer of young-adult literature and The Third Door: The Autobiography of an American Negro Woman

  • Allen Tate – convert; poet and essayist

  • Francis Thompson – 19th-century poet; wrote the devotional poem "The Hound of Heaven"

  • Colm Toibin – Irish actor and writer; wrote The Sign of the Cross

  • J. R. R. Tolkien – writer of The Lord of the Rings; devout and practicing Catholic

  • John Kennedy Toole – Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of A Confederacy of Dunces.

  • F. X. Toole (born Jerry Boyd) – Irish-American Catholic

  • Meriol Trevor – convert; author of historical novels, biographies, and children's stories

  • Lizzie Velásquez – writer of self-help, autobiographical, and young adult non-fiction

  • Elena Maria Vidal – historical novelist

  • Louie Verrecchio – Italian-American columnist for Catholic News Agency and author of Catholic faith formation materials and related books.

  • Christopher Villiers – British Catholic theologian and poet; author of Sonnets From the Spirit.

  • Maurice Walsh - one of the most popular Irish writers of the 1930s and 1940s, now chiefly remembered for the Hollywood film of his short story 'The Quiet Man;' wrote for the Irish Catholic magazine the Capuchin Annual and listed in the 1948 publication 'Catholic Authors: Contemporary Biographical Sketches, 1930-1952, Volume 1;'

  • Auberon Waugh – comic novelist and columnist; son of Evelyn Waugh

  • Evelyn Waugh – novelist; converted to Roman Catholicism in 1930; his religious ideas are manifest, either explicitly or implicitly, in all of his later work; strongly orthodox and conservative Roman Catholic

  • Morris West – Australian writer; several of his novels are set in the Vatican

  • Donald E. Westlake – American writer; three-time Edgar Award winner

  • Henry William Wilberforce – English journalist and essayist

  • Tennessee Williams - convert, American playwright and poet, who wrote such noted plays as The Glass MenagerieThe Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and A Streetcar Named Desire.

  • D.B. Wyndham-Lewis – English comic writer and biographer

  • Oscar Wilde – late-19th-century playwright and poet; fascinated by Catholicism as a young man and much of his early poetry shows this heavy influence; embraced a homosexual lifestyle later on, but converted to Catholicism on his deathbed (receiving a conditional baptism as there is some evidence, including his own vague recollection, that his mother had him baptised in the Catholic Church as a child[9][10])

  • Gene Wolfe – science-fiction author; has written many novels and multivolume series; some, such as the Book of the New Sun and the Book of the Long Sun, are considered to be religious allegory

  • Carol Zaleski – American philosopher of religion, essayist and author of books on Catholic theology and on comparative religion


For a list of authors from other different languages see:


Authors A-Z













An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy,by Carlo Crivelli (15th century)


"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. 

To one without faith, no explanation is possible."

- St Thomas Aquinas


Venerated in:  Catholic Church, & Anglican Communion, & Lutheran

Canonized:  18 July 1323,

Feast Day:  28 January (7 March, until 1969)

Patronage:    Academics; against storms; against lightning; apologists; Aquino, Italy; Belcastro, Italy; book sellers; Catholic academies, schools, and universities; chastity; Falena, Italy; learning; pencil makers; philosophers; publishers; scholars; students; University of Santo Tomas; Sto. Tomas, Batangas;theologians 


Saint Thomas Aquinas OP (1225 – 7 March 1274)  (/əˈkwaɪnəs/Italian: Tommaso d'Aquino, lit. "Thomas of Aquino"; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian[8][9] Dominican friarPhilosopherCatholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. He is an immensely influential philosophertheologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the Doctor Angelicus and the Doctor Communis.[10] The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day LazioItaly.

He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism; of which he argued that reason is found in God.

Pope Leo XIII writes: "Thomas Aquinas ranks foremost as master and prince among all the scholastic teachers; he venerated profoundly the ancient Fathers of the Church and made the spirit of each one his own. Thomas collected their doctrines like the scattered members of a body into a whole, he arranged them so admirably and developed and enlarged them so considerably that he must be ranked singularly and preeminently as a pillar of the Church . Possessing a docile and keen mind, an easy and trustworthy memory, living an exceptionally pure life, striving alone for the truth, and being highly endowed with divine and human knowledge, he warmed the earth with the beams of his virtues and made it resplendent with the brightness of his doctrine."


Thomas was born in the castle of Roccasecca, Aquino, in the Kingdom of Sicily (present-day Lazio, Italy), c. 1225, he was born in the castle of his father, Landulf of Aquino.

At the age of nineteen Thomas resolved to join the recently founded Dominican Order. 

His family objected to his desire to priesthood, and had him imprisoned within the family castle for a year.
Thomas passed this time of trial tutoring his sisters and communicating with members of the Dominican Order. Family members became desperate to dissuade Thomas, who remained determined to join the Dominicans. At one point, two of his brothers resorted to the measure of hiring a prostitute to seduce him. According to legend, Thomas drove her away wielding a fire iron and two angels appeared to him as he slept and strengthened his determination to remain celibate.

His sisters aided him in making his escape from the castle by letting him down from a window in a basket by night. He was kindly received by the Dominicans, and at once made his solemn vows.

Defender of the Faith:
Thomas was deeply disturbed by the spread of Averroism, a heresy. He conducted a series of debates. He was a defender of the faith, to keep the purity of the Christian faith.

In his encyclical of 4 August 1879, Aeterni Patris, Pope Leo XIII stated that Thomas Aquinas's theology was a definitive exposition of Catholic doctrine. Thus, he directed the clergy to take the teachings of Thomas as the basis of their theological positions. Leo XIII also decreed that all Catholic seminaries and universities must teach Thomas's doctrines.

Nature of God:
He considered in great detail five arguments for the existence of God, widely known as the quinque viae (Five Ways).
1.    Motion: Some things undoubtedly move, though cannot cause their own motion. Since, as Thomas believed, there can be no infinite chain of causes of motion, there must be a First Mover not moved by anything else, and this is what everyone understands by God.
2.    Causation: As in the case of motion, nothing can cause itself, and an infinite chain of causation is impossible, so there must be a First Cause, called God.
3.    Existence of necessary and the unnecessary: Our experience includes things certainly existing but apparently unnecessary. Not everything can be unnecessary, for then once there was nothing and there would still be nothing. Therefore, we are compelled to suppose something that exists necessarily, having this necessity only from itself; in fact itself the cause for other things to exist.
4.    Gradation: If we can notice a gradation in things in the sense that some things are more hot, good, etc., there must be a superlative that is the truest and noblest thing, and so most fully existing. This then, we call God.
5.    Ordered tendencies of nature: A direction of actions to an end is noticed in all bodies following natural laws. Anything without awareness tends to a goal under the guidance of one who is aware. This we call God
Concerning the nature of God, he wrote the five statements about the divine qualities:
1.    God is simple, without composition of parts, such as body and soul, or matter and form.
2.    God is perfect, lacking nothing. That is, God is distinguished from other beings on account of God's complete actuality. Thomas defined God as the 'Ipse Actus Essendi subsistens,' subsisting act of being.
3.    God is infinite. That is, God is not finite in the ways that created beings are physically, intellectually, and emotionally limited. This infinity is to be distinguished from infinity of size and infinity of number.
4.    God is immutable, incapable of change on the levels of God's essence and character.
5.    God is one, without diversification within God's self. The unity of God is such that God's essence is the same as God's existence. In Thomas's words, "in itself the proposition 'God exists' is necessarily true, for in it subject and predicate are the same."

Nature of the Trinity:
Thomas argued that God, while perfectly united, also is perfectly described by Three Interrelated Persons. These three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are constituted by their relations within the essence of God. Thomas wrote that the term "Trinity" "does not mean the relations themselves of the Persons, but rather the number of persons related to each other; and hence it is that the word in itself does not express regard to another." The Father generates the Son (or the Word) by the relation of self-awareness. This eternal generation then produces an eternal Spirit "who enjoys the divine nature as the Love of God, the Love of the Father for the Word."

This Trinity exists independently from the world. It transcends the created world, but the Trinity also decided to give grace to human beings. This takes place through the Incarnation of the Word in the person of Jesus Christ and through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within those who have experienced salvation by God; according to Aidan Nichols.

Fully God, fully man:  "Christ had a real body of the same nature of ours, a true rational soul, and, together with these, perfect Deity". Thus, there is both unity (in his one hypostasis) and composition (in his two natures, human and Divine) in Christ.

Goal of human life:
Thomas Aquinas identified the goal of human existence as union and eternal fellowship with God. Those who truly seek to understand and see God will necessarily love what God loves. Such love requires morality and bears fruit in everyday human choices.

The Angel of Aquino, P. Henry M. Pflugbeil Ord. Praed. (German) translated by Sister Mary Fulgence.  O.S.D.

St. Augustine of Hippo






Saint Augustine of Hippo, Gerard Seghers


Saint Augustine of Hippo (13 November 354 – 28 August 430 AD) Doctor of the Church, was a Roman African, early Christian theologian and philosopher from Numidia whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy.


He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Period. Among his most important works are The City of God, De doctrina Christiana and Confessions.

According to his contemporary Jerome, Augustine "established anew the ancient Faith".[a] In his youth he was drawn to Manichaeism and later to neoplatonism.


After his baptism and conversion to Christianity in 386, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory.


When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine imagined the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine's On the Trinity.


In late August of 386,[57] at the age of 31, after having heard and been inspired and moved by the story of Ponticianus's and his friends' first reading of the life of Saint Anthony of the Desert, Augustine converted to Christianity.


As Augustine later told it, his conversion was prompted by a childlike voice he heard telling him to "take up and read" (Latin: tolle, lege), which he took as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw. Augustine read from Paul's Epistle to the Romans – the "Transformation of Believers" section, consisting of chapters 12 to 15 – wherein Paul outlines how the Gospel transforms believers, and describes the believers' resulting behaviour. The specific part to which Augustine opened his Bible was Romans chapter 13, verses 13 and 14, to wit:

"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof."[58]


He later wrote an account of his own conversion – his very transformation, (as Paul had described in Romans).  Augustine's Confessions (Latin: Confessiones), has since become a classic of Christian theology and a key text in the history of autobiography.


This work is an outpouring of thanksgiving and penitence. Although it is written as an account of his life, the Confessions also talks about the nature of time, causality, free will, and other important philosophical topics.The following is taken from that work:

The Conversion of St. Augustine by Fra Angelico

Late have I loved Thee, O Lord; and behold,
Thou wast within and I without, and there I sought Thee.
Thou wast with me when I was not with Thee.
Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness.
Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispel my blindness.
Thou didst touch me, and I burned for Thy peace.
For Thyself Thou hast made us,
And restless our hearts until in Thee they find their ease.
Late have I loved Thee, Thou Beauty ever old and ever new.



St. Ignatius of Loyola

Portrait by Peter Paul Rubens


Saint Ignatius of Loyola  (23 October 1491[1] – 31 July 1556) was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541.[2] 

The Jesuit order served the Pope as missionaries, and they were bound by a vow of special obedience to the sovereign pontiff in regard to the missions.[3] They therefore emerged as an important force during the time of the Counter-Reformation.[4]

Ignatius is remembered as a talented spiritual director. He recorded his method in a celebrated treatise called the Spiritual Exercises, a simple set of meditations, prayers, and other mental exercises, first published in 1548.

As a young man Íñigo had a great love for military exercises as well as a tremendous desire for fame. He framed his life around the stories of El Cid, the knights of Camelot, and the Song of Roland.[12] He joined the army at seventeen, and according to one biographer, he strutted about "with his cape slinging open to reveal his tight-fitting hose and boots; a sword and dagger at his waist".[13] 

According to another he was "a fancy dresser, an expert dancer, a womanizer, sensitive to insult, and a rough punkish swordsman who used his privileged status to escape prosecution for violent crimes committed with his priest brother at carnival time."[14] 

Upon encountering a Moor who denied the divinity of Jesus, he challenged him to a duel to the death, and ran him through with his sword.[13] He dueled many other men as well.[13]

In 1509, at the age of 18, Íñigo took up arms for Antonio Manrique de Lara, 2nd Duke of Nájera. His diplomacy and leadership qualities earned him the title "servant of the court", which made him very useful to the Duke.[15] Under the Duke's leadership, Íñigo participated in many battles without injury. 

But at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521 he was gravely injured when a French-Navarrese expedition force stormed the fortress of Pamplona on 20 May 1521. 

A cannonball hit him in the legs, wounding his right leg and fracturing the left in multiple places.[16] Íñigo was returned to his father's castle in Loyola, where, in an era that knew nothing of anesthetics, he underwent several surgical operations to repair his legs, having the bones set and then rebroken. 

In the end these operations left one leg shorter than the other: Íñigo would limp for the rest of his life, and his military career was over.[14]

Religious Conversion
While recovering from surgery, Íñigo underwent a spiritual conversion which led to his experiencing a call to religious life. Hospitals in those days were run by religious orders, and the reading material available to bedridden patients tended to be selected from scripture or devotional literature. 

This is how Íñigo came to read a series of religious texts on the life of Jesus and on the lives of the saints, since the "romances of chivalry" he loved to read were not available to him in the castle.[6]

The religious work which most particularly struck him was the De Vita Christi of Ludolph of Saxony.[17] This book would influence his whole life, inspiring him to devote himself to God and follow the example of Francis of Assisi and other great monks. It also inspired his method of meditation, since Ludolph proposes that the reader place himself mentally at the scene of the Gospel story, visualising the crib at the Nativity, etc. 

This type of meditation, known as Simple Contemplation, was the basis for the method that St. Ignatius would promote in his Spiritual Exercises.[18][19][20]

Aside from dreaming about imitating the saints in his readings, Íñigo was still wandering off in his mind about what "he would do in service to his king and in honor of the royal lady he was in love with". 

Cautiously he came to realize the after-effect of both kinds of his dreams. He experienced a desolation and dissatisfaction when the romantic heroism dream was over, but, the saintly dream ended with much joy and peace. It was the first time he learned about discernment.[14]

After he had recovered sufficiently to walk again, Íñigo resolved to begin a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to "kiss the earth where our Lord had walked",[14] and to do stricter penances.[21] 

He thought that his plan was confirmed by a vision of the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus he experienced one night, which resulted in much consolation to him.[21] 

In March 1522, he visited the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat. There, he carefully examined his past sins, confessed, gave his fine clothes to the poor he met, wore a "garment of sack-cloth", then hung his sword and dagger at the Virgin's altar during an overnight vigil at the shrine.[6]

St. Jerome

"Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." 









St. Jerome in His Study(1480), by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

St. Jerome – (Fourth Century Doctor of the Church)  27 March 347 – 30 September 420 AD)  was a Christian priest, confessor, theologian, and historian. He was born at Stridon, a village near Emona on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia.

Jerome translated the Bible into Latin from the original Hebrew and Greek. (The translation  became known as the Vulgate), and he wrote commentaries on the Gospels. His list of writings is extensive.

The protégé of Pope Damasus I, who died in December of 384, Jerome was known for his teachings on Christian moral life, especially to those living in cosmopolitan centers such as Rome. In many cases, he focused his attention on the lives of women and identified how a woman devoted to Jesus should live her life. 

Jerome is recognized as a saint and Doctor of the Church by the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Lutheran Church, and the Anglican Communion.[7] His feast day is 30 September.

In or around the year 366, Jerome decided to become a Christian and was baptized by Pope Liberius.

Pope Damasus died in 384, and this exposed Jerome to criticism and controversy. Jerome was a sarcastic man of great wit. He became unpopular because of his attitude and made a number of enemies. While Pope Damasus was alive, he could shield Jerome from criticism, but now Jerome faced the vengeance of the enemies he made. Both prominent pagans who resented his promotion of the faith and fellow Christians who lacked his wit attacked him with vicious rumors.

Jerome was a hard worker and he wrote extensively defending the virginity of Mary, which some clerics dared to question. 



One day, as Jerome was sitting in his cell with the other monks, a lion walked through the open door. The others quickly ran toward the window and clambered outside. But Jerome sat quietly, watching the stately lion as he walked to him.

When the creature was close, he suddenly held up his paw.

Jerome took the paw in his hand and studied the lion's eyes -- they were full of sorrow and pain. He noticed the pad was swollen, so he carefully examined the paw until he found a thorn stuck near a nail. He slowly removed it. Then he boiled water with healing herbs. With this potion, he bathed the lion's paw until the swelling subsided.

Afterward, he wrapped a linen cloth around the paw so the wound would not get dirty. When he was done, the lion sighed with gratitude, and Jerome's heart swelled with joy. He waited for the lion to depart. Instead, the creature stretched out on the floor and fell fast asleep.

After a while, Jerome lay down beside him and slept.

When they woke, Jerome said to the lion, "I see you plan to stay here with me." The lion wagged his tail.
"Well, then," Jerome said, "you must understand that everyone who lives here has to work, so I shall give you a job."

Again the lion wagged his tail.

Jerome decided the lion must accompany the monastery's donkey down to the forest each day. There an old woodcutter loaded up the donkey's panniers with wood, and the donkey carried it back to the monastery. The lion was assigned to protect the donkey from robbers and wolves on her journey.

For many months the lion and the donkey walked together to the forest. There the lion lay down and watched as the woodsman heaped the donkey's panniers with wood until the donkey could carry no more. Sometimes the lion fell asleep, and when the donkey was loaded down, she brayed to wake him, and together they walked back to the monastery.

But one hot morning in late summer, the lion fell asleep as usual and did not hear two men creep up beside the woodsman and the donkey. They tied a cloth over the man's mouth and over the donkey's mouth, too. Then they drove them away to their caravan, wood and all.

When the lion woke, he noticed the sun was low and he wondered why the donkey had not woken him.


He looked around and saw no one there, and he thought she must have walked home alone. He searched for her footsteps and saw the footprints of three men instead. He then understood that the donkey had been stolen.

With a heavy heart, the lion walked home, going directly to Jerome's cell.

"What's wrong?" Jerome asked when the creature walked in.

The lion bowed, his tail between his legs, awaiting punishment.

When Jerome noticed the donkey had not returned, he and the other monks thought the lion must have eaten her. As punishment, the monks wished to banish the lion.


But Jerome refused. Instead, he put the panniers upon the lion's back. "From now on, you shall carry the wood from the forest," he said.

The lion sighed with gratitude, for he loved Jerome and the monastery, and he did not wish to leave.

Months passed.

One day, as the lion stood in the forest and the old man loaded him with wood, the caravan of thieves returned from Damascus, passing through Bethlehem on their way to Egypt.

The lion heard them before he saw them, and he turned to see the caravan coming toward him. But then, he nearly fainted with joy when he recognized his friend the donkey among them.

He leapt toward the caravan -- knocking the old man down. The wood flew in every direction. The caravan drivers were terrified when they saw a lion charging toward them. But before they could run away, the lion approached, growling, and managed to shepherd the whole caravan to the monastery.

Jerome was sitting in his cell reading when he saw the caravan coming, the lion in the lead. Puzzled, he walked outside. To his astonishment, he recognized his old donkey.

The merchants fell to their knees. "Oh, holy father," they said, "please ask this lion to spare our lives. We confess. We stole the donkey while her guardian was asleep. We will gladly return her if you let us go on our way."

Jerome smiled. "Go on your way," he said.

The very next day, the donkey and the lion, two old friends, walked into the forest together. Jerome and all the monks rejoiced. From that day and forever after, the lion remained a faithful friend to Jerome, seldom leaving his side.*

Further reading

  • Saint Jerome, Three biographies: Malchus, St. Hilarion and Paulus the First Hermit Authored by Saint Jerome, London, 2012. ISBN 978-1-78336-016-1

External links

Latin texts

Latin Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Biblia Sacra


English translations


download (4).jpg


St. Polycarp

S. Polycarpus, engraving by Michael Burghers, ca 1685

Polycarp (/ˈpɒlikɑːrp/; Greek: Πολύκαρπος, Polýkarpos; Latin: Polycarpus; AD 69 – 155) was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna.

According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to touch him.

Polycarp is regarded as a saint and Church Father in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name 'Polycarp' means 'much fruit' in Greek.

Both Irenaeus, who as a young man heard Polycarp speak, and Tertullian recorded that Polycarp had been a disciple of John the Apostle. Jerome wrote that Polycarp was a disciple of John and that John had ordained him bishop of Smyrna.

The sole surviving work attributed to him is Polycarp's letter to the Philippians, a mosaic of references to the Greek Scriptures. 

It, and an account of The Martyrdom of Polycarp, form part of the collection of writings Roman Catholics and some Protestants term "The Apostolic Fathers." This title emphasizes the writings' particular closeness to the apostles in Church traditions. 

After the Acts of the Apostles, which describes the death of Stephen the Martyrdom is considered one of the earliest genuine accounts of a Christian martyrdom, and is one of the earliest-known Christian documents of this kind.

Polycarp's letter to the Philippians
Almost a century after Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians, Polycarp wrote an epistle, also, to the Philippians (the same church).

The Letter to the Philippians (often simply called Philippians) is an epistle composed around AD 110 to 140 by Polycarp of Smyrna, one of the Apostolic Fathers, from Antioch to the early Christian church in Philippi. The letter is described by Irenaeus as follows:

There is also a forceful epistle written by Polycarp to the Philippians, from which those who wish to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth.
The letter warns against a number of disorders in the church and against apostasy, and encourages the Christians to persevere in good works. It also acted as a covering letter for a collection of writings by Ignatius of Antioch, whose works were being collected by the church at Philippi after Ignatius' visit there.
This is one quotation from the epistle:

"Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, 'firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,' helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man."