Saints and Social Justice

“Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World”

Saints and Social Justice

A triumph! One of the best presentations of the Church’s social teaching. Brandon Vogt adeptly and correctly positions social justice in relation to the lives of the saints and in doing so rescues it from the ideological constraints that have for far too long made this essential teaching of the Church inaccessible to most of the faithful. Social justice is not simply a theory, but a whole way of life, revealed in all its radical and saving grace in the lives of the Church’s saints.”

— Bishop Robert Barron,
Auxiliary Bishop in Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries


Catholic social teaching has explosive power for changing not just individuals, but whole societies. And it’s the saints who light the fuse.

The value of human life. The call to family and community. Serving the poor. The rights of workers. Care for creation.

Saints and Social JusticeThe church has always taught certain undeniable truths that can and should affect our society. But over the years, these teachings have been distorted, misunderstood, and forgotten.

With the help of fourteen saints, it’s time we reclaim Catholic social teaching and rediscover it through the lives of those who best lived it out. Follow in the saints’ footsteps, learn from their example, and become the spark of authentic social justice that sets the world on fire.

Saints and Social Justice: A Guide to Changing the World (Our Sunday Visitor, 2014) uses the seven major themes of Catholic social teaching, as defined by the U.S. bishops, and for each theme highlights two saints who especially embodied it.

The result is a book packed with stories, from those saints and others in the sidebars, of heroes putting these teachings into action.

My hope is that it imitates stained glass windows throughout the world, using the saints as conduits of light, allowing these brilliant social teachings to shine through them with new vividness, splendor, and truth.

Here’s the book’s outline:

  • Life and Dignity of the Human Person
    • CH 1 – Bl. Teresa of Calcutta
    • CH 2 – St. Peter Claver
  • Call to Family, Community, and Participation
    • CH 3 – St. Frances of Rome
    • CH 4 – Bl. Anne-Marie Javouhey
  • Rights and Responsibilities
    • CH 5 – St. Roque Gonzalez
    • CH 6 – St. Thomas More
  • Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
    • CH 7 – Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati
    • CH 8 – St. Vincent de Paul
  • Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
    • CH 9 – St. Benedict of Nursia
    • CH 10 – Servant of God Dorothy Day
  • Solidarity
    • CH 11 – St. John Paul II
    • CH 12 – St. Damien of Molokai
  • Care for Creation
    • CH 13 – St. Giles
    • CH 14 – St. Isidore the Farmer


“A much-needed, well-written, and always-inspiring book. Brandon Vogt reminds us that “social justice” is not a dirty word; rather, it’s firmly rooted in the Gospels, in the church’s social teachings, and, as he artfully shows us, in the lives of the great heroes and heroines of our faith. This timely book reminds us that we are called not simply to care for the poor, but to work against anything that would keep them poor. The saints–and Jesus–would want no less from us.”

— James Martin, SJ,
Author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage

Saints and Social Justice