Download your FREE copy of “The Saints’ Favorite Books”

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>> Download FREE copy of The Saints’ Favorite Books (PDF) <<

I love to read. And like all heavy readers, I’m always hunting for good books. I constantly ask friends, what are you reading? What books do you recommend? What books changed your life?

The Saints' Favorite BooksBut one day I had a revelation: why not ask the saints?

St. Josemaria Escriva claimed, “Reading has made many saints.” That’s so true. While some saints were illiterate, like Catherine of Siena, many of them were faithful readers. So why not follow their lead?

I spent several months trying to uncover the books they enjoyed. I read biographies, journals, personal letters, and more. I then collected all that research into a new book, titled The Saints’ Favorite Books: Read What They Read, Become Who They Are.

And here’s the best part: I’m giving the book away completely FREE to people who sign up for my new email list!

To get your copy, simply click the link below:

Download FREE copy of The Saints’ Favorite Books (PDF)

(If that link above doesn’t work for you, just visit

Inside, you’ll find fourteen saints and their favorite books, including:

  • St. Augustine of Hippo
  • St. Benedict of Nursia
  • St. Bernard of Clairvaux
  • St. Thomas Aquinas
  • St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • St. Teresa of Ávila
  • St. John of the Cross
  • St. Francis de Sales
  • St. John Eudes
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux
  • Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
  • St. Teresa Benedicta
  • Servant of God Dorothy Day
  • Bl. Teresa of Calcutta

This isn’t just a plain, black-and-white text document. It’s a professionally designed eBook with beautiful graphics and interactive links. Here are a couple sample pages:
The Saints' Favorite Books

The Saints' Favorite Books

I also threw in a special BONUS Appendix on “The Popes’ Favorite Books.” Which book did Pope Pius X keep on his nightstand? Which book did Pope Benedict say he would bring on a deserted island? Find out when you download your FREE copy of The Saints’ Favorite Books.

After you read the book, be sure to let me know what you think in the comment box below! Enjoy!

The Saints' Favorite Books

“Forming Intentional Disciples” Mega-Giveaway!

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“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.” – St. Augustine

Since I’ve built up a large collection of extra books and resources, every week I give some away absolutely free, no strings attached.

Each giveaway lasts seven days with a new one beginning every Friday. You can enter any time during the week. Check out my past giveaways here.


Thanks to the good folks at Our Sunday Visitor, I’m giving away TEN Forming Intentional Disciples prize packs. Each of the ten winners will receive two books:


Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus

by Sherry Weddell

Our Sunday Visitor, 224 pages, paperback
Released on July 10, 2012

FIDHow can we transmit a living, personal Catholic faith to future generations? By coming to know Jesus Christ, and following him as his disciples.

These are times of immense challenge and immense opportunity for the Catholic Church. Consider these statistics for the United States.

  • Only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practicing.
  • Fully 10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics.
  • The number of marriages celebrated in the Church decreased dramatically, by nearly 60 percent, between 1972 and 2010.
  • Only 60 percent of Catholics believe in a personal God.

If the Church is to reverse these trends, the evangelizers must first be evangelized-in other words, Catholics-in-the-pew must make a conscious choice to know and follow Jesus before they can draw others to him. This work of discipleship lies at the heart of Forming Intentional Disciples, a book designed to help Church leaders, parish staff and all Catholics transform parish life from within.
Drawing upon her fifteen years of experience with the Catherine of Siena Institute, Sherry Weddell leads readers through steps that will help Catholics enter more deeply into a relationship with God and the river of apostolic creativity, charisms, and vocation that flow from that relationship for the sake of the Church and the world.

Learn about the five thresholds of postmodern conversion, how to open a conversation about faith and belief, how to ask thought-provoking questions and establish an atmosphere of trust, when to tell the Great Story of Jesus, how to help someone respond to God’s call to intentional discipleship, and much more.

And be prepared for conversion because when life at the parish level changes, the life of the whole Church will change.


Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus

by Ximena DeBroeck

Our Sunday Visitor, 16 pages, paperback
Released on March 28, 2014

FID-StudyGuideWhat is keeping so many of us, and so many of our parishes, from becoming powerhouses of faith and evangelization is that we don’t have a living relationship with Christ that transforms us into intentional disciples.

Forming Intentional Disciples has become one of the most talked-about books of the decade in Catholic parishes across the country.

Written by Sherry Weddell, co-founder and co-director of the Catherine of Siena Institute, Forming Intentional Disciples takes a cleareyed look at the state of the Church today. Based on more than a decade of research with Catholics from across the country, the issues and opportunities in this book connect seamlessly with Pope Francis’ call for evangelization as we open wide the doors of faith!

Now the book that is changing hearts has a study guide that will help you change your parish or small faith community. Created by people who have experienced the transformative impact of discipleship firsthand, the Forming Intentional Disciples Study Guide provides tools and resources to “break the silence,” initiate conversations, share the story of faith, and begin walking the path of discipleship together.


I’m using Rafflecopter to help with the giveaway, which is cool because it allows you multiple entries for commenting, posting on Facebook, sharing on Twitter, etc. Click below to enter:

(If you’re reading this through email or RSS and don’t see the giveaway widget, click here.)

By entering this giveaway you agree to occasionally receive email updates from me—no spam, just updates about new blog posts, giveaways, and books.

The winner(s) will be randomly selected next Friday and the books will be sent out, free of charge, shortly thereafter.

In the future I’ll be giving away more books and resources, sometimes multiple items per giveaway! So subscribe via feed reader or email to ensure you never miss your chance to win.

(Since I’m covering the shipping costs, only residents within the continental United States are eligible to win.)

Woohoo! The First Copies of “Saints and Social Justice” (Pictures)

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It's finally here! Me receiving the first copies of "The Saints and Social Justice."

It’s finally here! Me receiving the first copies of “Saints and Social Justice.”

It’s finally here! The print edition of my newest book, Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World, released a few weeks ago. As fellow authors know, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort and struggle to produce a book. So when you finally receive a box of the first copies, it’s like seeing a child for the first time. You’re full of joy and satisfaction, stunned that it’s really, actually here!

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, head over to Amazon and grab the paperback or Kindle version. The book became the #1 bestselling Catholic book on Amazon before it even released. Since then we’ve shipped over 3,000 copies. Reviews have poured in, through blogs, email, and social media, but I’d love to hear what you think!

If you already have your copy, do me a favor and please leave a short review on The more reviews, the more Amazon promotes it to browsing customers, and therefore the more likely the book gets into the hands of people who need it.

I’ll leave you with some pictures of us receiving the first batch of books! It was a really exciting night in the Vogt household.

Isaiah opening the box...

Isaiah opening the box…

...and dumping all the books on the ground.

…and dumping all the books on the ground.

After an entire year of work, I finally get to hold copies of "Saints and Social Justice"! Thanks, Our Sunday Visitor!

After an entire year of work, I finally get to hold copies of “Saints and Social Justice”! Thanks, Our Sunday Visitor!

This pretty much sums up Isaiah and Teresa.

This pretty much sums up Isaiah and Teresa.

Two happy kiddos.

Two happy kiddos.

My beautiful wife, Kathleen, who sacrificed many Saturday mornings so that I could head to Panera and write.

My beautiful wife, Kathleen, who sacrificed many Saturday mornings so that I could head to Panera and write.

Our little guy, Augustine, who is more interested in pizza than Daddy's new book.

Our little guy, Augustine, who is more interested in pizza than Daddy’s new book.

He took a look, but only while eating pizza.

He took a look, but only while eating pizza.

"Turn the page, Mommy!"

“Turn the page, Mommy!”

Gianna, only nine weeks old, has no clue what a book is.

Gianna, only nine weeks old, has no clue what a book is.

Isaiah, proudly holding the book which Daddy dedicated to him.

Isaiah, proudly holding the book which Daddy dedicated to him.

The books!

The books!

Order your copy at

Order your copy at

Learning from a Dishwashing Bishop

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Today we continue our regular series called “Learning from the Saints.” Our guide is expert Bert Ghezzi, a dear friend of mine and the author of numerous books including Voices of the SaintsSaints at Heartand Discover Christ: Developing a Personal Relationship with Jesus.

His newest book is The Saints Devotional Bible, which illuminates the Scriptures with the saints’ own reflections. You can learn more about Bert and his work at

Today, Bert profiles St. Bonaventure, a thirteenth century bishop and Doctor of the Church.


From 1248 to 1257, St. Bonaventure taught Scripture and theology at the Franciscan school at Paris. His teaching and writing there established him as a leading scholastic theologian. Bonaventure’s books about Christian realities dispel the false contemporary opinion that medieval theologians were dry-as-dust rationalists who wasted time counting angels on the heads of pins. In this excerpt from The Tree of Life, Bonaventure lyrically urges the soul to seek God:

“You soul devoted to God,
whoever you are, run
with living desire
to this Fountain of life and light
and with the innermost power of your heart
cry out to him:
‘O inaccessible beauty of the most high God
and the pure brightness of the eternal light,
life vivifying all life,
light illumining every light,
and keeping in perpetual splendor
a thousand times a thousand lights
brilliantly shining
before the throne of your divinity
since the primeval dawn!
O eternal and inaccessible,
clear and sweet stream from the fountain
hidden from the eyes of all mortals,
whose depth is without bottom,
whose height is without limit,
whose breadth cannot be bounded,
whose purity cannot be disturbed.
From this Fountain
flows the stream of the oil of gladness,
which gladdens the city of God,
and the powerful fiery torrent,
the torrent, I say, of the pleasure of God,
from which the guest at the heavenly banquet
drink to joyful inebriation
and sing without ceasing
hymns of jubilation.
Anoint us
with this sacred oil and refresh
with the longed-for waters of this torrent
the thirsting throat of our parched hearts
so that amid shouts of joy and thanksgiving
we may sing to you
a canticle of praise,
proving by experience that
with you is the fountain of life,
and in your light we will see
light (see Ps 36:10).”

BonaventureAfter 1257 as Master-General of the Franciscans, Bonaventure governed the friars gently, but firmly. He reorganized the order whose numbers had increased enormously, and he renewed the friars’ zeal. However, Bonaventure could not resolve the dissension between rigorists who put poverty above all and moderates who wanted a less severe rule. His insistence on serious study departed from St. Francis’s teaching and required the possession of buildings and books. He saw the friars mission as preaching and giving spiritual direction, complementing the work of parish priests who often were not skilled in these things.

In 1273, Pope Gregory X appointed Bonaventure cardinal-bishop of Albano. His legates came bearing the red hat and other symbols of office only to find Bonaventure washing the dishes. The saint told his visitors to hang the hat on a tree and wait in the garden until he was finished with his task. “A constant fidelity in small things,” he once wrote, “is a great and heroic virtue.”

The pope summoned Bonaventure to Rome, charging him to prepare for the Council at Lyon that he had called to restore unity with the Greek Church. In 1274, Bonaventure played a major role at the meeting, even addressing the assembly in Greek, and the delegates agreed on reunion. Bonaventure preached at the Mass of reconciliation. The saint must have felt exhilarated at making peace in the Church. But he died shortly afterward, not surviving long enough to see his work dashed when Constantinople repudiated the reunion.

“No one can be made happy unless he rise above himself,
not by an ascent of the body, but of the heart.
But we cannot rise above ourselves
unless a higher power lifts us up.
And divine aid is available
to those who seek it from their hearts,
humbly and devoutly.”

— St. Bonaventure

(Image Credit: Bonaventure)

Read more from Bert at his website, or check out his many books on Amazon.



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  • "There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." - Léon Bloy