by Mark Mossa, SJ 

draws from contemporary translations of original texts focusing on the practical mysticism of Ignatius of Loyola. Excerpts from The Spiritual Exercises, his autobiography, and his collected letters and instructions provide direct insights from Ignatius about the role of humility, obedience, discernment, sin and selfawareness in spiritual life. Substantive facing-page commentary illuminates Ignatius's perspectives on many key aspects of Christian spirituality, including trusting in God, imitating Jesus and the saints, love and the common good, and much more. 

Buy now: Saint Ignatius Loyola - The Spiritual Writings: Selections Annotated & Explained (SkyLight Illuminations)

by H. J. M. Turner 

Besides his importance as a Christian mystic, "St. Symeon - The New Theologian" is a valuable source of information concerning the objectives of a spiritual father and his clients, the kinds of training given by a father to his disciples, and the difficulties encountered in the relationship. 

Buy now: St Symeon the New Theologian and Spiritual Fatherhood: The New Theologian and Spiritual Fatherhood (Byzantina Neerlandica, Fasciculus 11)

translated by Suzanne Noffke, OP

This volume was simply called "my book" by the fourteenth-century Italian saint. The aim of her book (one of the first books to see print in Spain, Germany, Italy, and England), says Dr. Noffke in her Foreword, was "the instruction and encouragement of all those whose spiritual welfare was her concern." Catherine was "a mystic whose plunge into God plunged her deep into the affairs of society, Church and the souls who came under her influence."

Buy now: Catherine of Siena : The Dialogue (Classics of Western Spirituality)

by George E. Ganss

A manual for making, directing, or studying the Exercises, this modern translation aims to capture Ignatius' ideas and nuances accurately, while adjusting his Spanish text for modern English-speaking readers. 

Buy now: Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and Commentary

by Thomas F. O'Meara

Considers Aquinas the theologian, his profession as a teacher and preacher, his influence past and present, and theology as the subject of his thought and most of his writings. 

Buy now: Thomas Aquinas, Theologian

by Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the kingdom of God here on earth. It is the art of "practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end." He often stated that it is God who paints Himself in the depths of our soul. We must merely open our hearts to receive Him and His loving presence. For nearly 300 years this unparalleled classic has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God in all His majesty and feeling His loving presence throughout each simple day.

This book can be read for free on line at google books.

Buy now: The Practice of the Presence of God

Two suggested translations: 

by Dante Alighieri, translated by John Ciardi

A fine translation that has lost of notes that can either be helpful on a scholarly leve or bog down the flow of reading. 

Buy now: The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso)


by Dante Alighieri, translated by Mark Musa

A very readable edition without footnotes or additional material

Buy now: The Portable Dante (Penguin Classics)

by Nicodemus, the Hagiorite

Included in this volume, in a new translation, is A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel, which was composed during a self-imposed exile on the island of Skyropoula. 

Buy now: Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain: A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel (Classics of Western Spirituality)

by Douglas V. Steere 

Simplicity in forms of worship, opposition to violence, concern for social injustice, and, above all, a faith in the personal and corporate guidance of the Holy Spirit are characteristics of the spirituality of the people called Quakers. 

Buy now:Quaker Spirituality: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality)

Part of the Classics of Western Spirituality series

by William Meninger

Father Meninger is not offering a new translation or paraphrase of a spiritual classic. Rather, he is attempting to express the teachings of the original in a wholly contemporary idiom. Father Meninger has not hesitated to change, omit, or add to the original where necessary, the better to highlight the heart and charisma of St. Francis de Sales's teachings.

Buy now: The Committed Life: An Adaptation of "The Introduction to the Devout Life" by St. Francis De Sales

Edited by J F X O'Connor SJ 

To understand fully the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, we should know something of the man who wrote them. In this life of St. Ignatius, told in his own words, we acquire an intimate knowledge of the author of the Exercises. We discern the Saint's natural disposition, which was the foundation of his spiritual character. We learn of his conversion, his trials, the obstacles in his way, the heroism with which he accomplished his great mission.

The Autobiography of St. Ignatius

by Francis of Assisi and Clare of Assisi, translated by Regis J. Armstrong and Ignatius C. Brady

Francis (c. 1182-1226), "The Little Poor Man" of Assisi, and Clare (c.1193-1254), "The Clear One," the woman who lived out his vision with heroic simplicity, together shaped the spirituality of early thirteenth-century Europe.


Buy now: Francis and Clare: The Complete Works

Part of the Classics of Western Spirituality series


by St. John of the Cross, Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez 

Included in The Collected Works are St. John's poetry, The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle, and The Living Flame of Love, as well as his letters and other counsels. There is a general introduction for the entire work and brief, enlightening introductions for each specific work, explaining theme and structure.

Buy now: The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross

Translated by Lawrence C. Braceland, Edited by Marsha L. Dutton

Spiritual Friendship is today the best known and perhaps most influential of the thirteen surviving works of Aelred, abbot of the great English Cistercian abbey of Rievaulx from 1147 '1167. During his abbacy he built Rievaulx into a place of spiritual welcome and physical prosperity, desiring to make it a mother of mercy" to those in need. In a three-book Ciceronian dialogue Aelred defines human friendship as sacramental, beginning in creation, as God sought to place his own love of society in al his creatures, linking friends to Christ in this life and culminating in friendship with God in beatitude. This fresh new translation makes the work crisply readable, allowing the intellectual and Christian insight of this great Cistercian teacher and writer to speak clearly to today's seekers of love, wisdom, and truth.

Buy now: Aelred of Rievaulx: Spiritual Friendship (Cistercian Studies series)

by St. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal, edited by and Wendy M. Wright and Joseph F. Power

These letters show us the daily attempts of laity, clergy, cloistered religious, bishops, and obscure windows to live in the authentic spirit of Jesus, and will speak not only to the historian of the period, but to all contemporary readers. 

Buy now: Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction (Classics of Western Spirituality)

by Ignatius of Loyola

presents his four major writings: the Autobiography and Spiritual Exercises in their entirety, and his Spiritual Diary and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus in selections so chosen as to give an overview of each work. It also offers ten samples of his almost 7,000 letters. Ample explanations are given in the introductions and commentaries by way of notes.

Buy now: Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works (Classics of Western Spirituality)

By St. Benedict

Composed nearly fifteen hundred years ago by the father of Western monasticism, The Rule of St. Benedict has for centuries been the guide of religious communities. St. Benedict's rules of obedience, humility, and contemplation are not only prerequisites for formal religious societies, they also provide an invaluable model for anyone desiring to live more simply. While they presuppose a certain detachment from the world, they provide guidance and inspiration for anyone seeking peace and fulfillment in their home and work communities.

Buy now: RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English

by Benedicta Ward 

An anthology of writings from the Desert Fathers. 

Buy now: The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection

Translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher

Widely considered a hallmark of Western literature and spirituality, The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous English monk’s sublime expression of what separates God from humanity. Originally written in the 14th century, now part of the HarperCollins Spiritual classics series, this beautiful contemplative resource, has been embraced for hundreds of years for its simple, engaging style and spiritual truths. As the unknown author assures us, “if you are to experience Him or to see Him at all, insofar as it is possible here, it must always be in this cloud.” —The Cloud of Unknowing.

Purchase The Cloud of Unknowing now