Book Recommendations for Holiday Season

Johann Cuervo Around the Province


With Christmas around the corner, publishing company Franciscan Media introduced two new books dedicated specifically for the holidays titled The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore and Saints at the Dinner by Amy Heyd. Franciscan Institute Publications at St. Bonaventure University also recommended their favorite literary works including The Four Conversions: A Spirituality of Transformation written by Fr. David Couturier, OFM, and The Canticle of Brother Sun: Francis of Assisi Reconciled by Jacques Dalarun.

saints-at-the-dinner-table-bookSaints at the Dinner Table by Amy Heyd
In this book, award-winning baker and recipe innovator Amy Heyd proposes some dishes to enjoy with family and friends this holiday season. From the main entrée to salad, the writer teaches how to prepare the meal, offers meditations, stories, and prayers, while dedicating each chapter to a saint. “I aimed to create recipes that would appeal to most people, would not require a master’s in culinary arts to prepare, and that would entertain as well as inform,” said Heyd. “My hope is that you feel inspired too, and that this book serves as a friendly guidebook in your own quest to connect with — and even break bread with – some of our most beloved saints.”

the-soul_-of_-chrsitmasThe Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore
The New York Times bestselling author Thomas Moore focuses on the most acclaimed story of them all: the birth of Jesus. Combining his psychological insight and storytelling, the writer studies passages from the Gospels, both canonical and non-canonical, comparing them to archetypal stories and ancient myths in order to understand his own beliefs and to gaze in wonder at the Holy Child. “Christmas belongs to everyone,” said Moore. “It has meaning only as a plan for the entire human race. Christmas shouldn’t be sentimentalized or turned into consumer frenzy: The child lying in the manger is perhaps the most radical of all spiritual reformers.” This book brings the attention back to Christ Child and reminds the reader the true meaning in the season is joy, fellowship and love.

The Canticle of Brother Sun: Francis of Assisi Reconciled By Jacques the-canticle-of-brother-sunDalarun Translated by Philippe Yates
Jacques Dalarun provides his insight and interpretation of The Canticle of the Sun, also known as the “Canticle of the Creatures” or Laudes Creaturarum – Praise of the Creatures – the religious song composed by St. Francis of Assisi. Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., calls Dalarun’s work “a symphonic combination of textual criticism, linguistic analysis, historical contextualization, theological intuition and poetic – and often provocative – exegesis.” The author provides readers who crave a deeper understanding of “The Canticle” and St. Francis’ spirituality, a perfect reading for the holidays. Dalarun is known for his writings on the medieval religious experience in France and Italy. In 2004, he was visiting professor of Franciscan studies at The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University.

the-four-conversionsThe Four Conversions: A Spirituality of Transformation by David Couturier, OFM
Fr. David Couturier, OFM Cap., St. Bonaventure University dean of the school of Franciscan studies since 2014, discusses the theological and psychological connections between personal change and family development, congregational renewal and social transformation. He fuses insights from Trinitarian theology, family systems theory, clinical psychology and organizational studies. Fundamentally, The Four Conversions: A Spirituality of Transformation will give readers a deeper appreciation for the Church’s tradition of faith development. “Engaging, illuminating and sobering, Couturier’s four-dimensional approach to understanding Christian conversion is a compelling and constructive response to the contemporary disciples’ question, “What must we do?” said Margaret Eletta Guider, associate professor of missiology at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, about this book.

The two publishing houses have been producing Franciscan works for decades. Franciscan Media, located in Cincinnati, was established with the belief that everyone deserves to experience a deep, heart-felt relationship with God. The company changed its name in 2011 as part of a corporate rebranding to better reflect its mission. To learn more about Franciscan Media, visit the organization’s online shop.

Franciscan Institute Publications, located on the SBU campus in Allegany, N.Y., is a leading publisher of books and journals on medieval Franciscan history, sources, spirituality, philosophy and theology as well as contemporary issues on Franciscan life and ministry. Its Works of St. Bonaventure series is now in 15 separate volumes with more volumes in development. Franciscan Institute Publications has collaborated with the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor and the Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition on two series of Franciscan thought on contemporary issues and topics.

— Johann Cuervo is communications assistant for Holy Name Province. Research was provided by Jocelyn Thomas.

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