Publisher Launches Book Series for Women

HNP Communications Franciscan World

CINCINNATI, Ohio — St. Anthony Messenger Press, a Franciscan publisher, recently announced the launch of a groundbreaking new eight-book series on spirituality for Catholic women. The first three books were released in August. 

The series, Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Catholic Women, will feature spiritual topics for adult Catholic women, according to Lisa Biedenbach of St. Anthony Messenger Press and an alumna of St. Bonaventure University. 

It includes discussion of making sense of God, grief, living a spirituality of action, Latina spirituality, prayer, family life, finding one’s voice as a young adult woman, and women’s middle years. The books, to be released over 12 months, encourage women to recognize and interpret their spiritual experiences and affirm their gifts within their communities. The books can be used by individuals and small groups, with questions for discussion, prayer, rituals and suggestions for further study and application to everyday life, according to Biedenbach.

For Women, By Women

“In collaboration with Catholic women theologians, we have just launched Called to Holiness: Spirituality for Catholic Women, a wonderful resource for individuals, small groups and adult faith formation,” said Biedenbach. 

Elizabeth Dreyer, professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, in Fairfield, Conn., is general editor of the series and author of the introductory volume, Making Sense of God: A Woman’s Perspective. Dreyer worked closely with catechetical consultant Jean Marie Hiesberger to develop the series and identify potential authors. Dreyer says that the purpose of the series is to encourage Christian women to embrace holiness while empowering them on their individual faith journeys. 

“This series was developed to meet the demand of Catholic women for much-needed spiritual resources on a variety of topics for each stage of life,” Dreyer explains. “These are books primarily for women, written from women’s perspectives about relevant issues all of us face. We also hope that many men and women from all Christian denominations will be drawn to the books.”

The project has been in development for almost three years, according to Biedenbach, beginning in 2005 when Dreyer was asked by the Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities to speak at a conference focusing on the role of women within the church. 

The books released in August were: Making Sense of God: A Woman’s Perspective by Elizabeth Dreyer, Grieving With Grace: A Woman’s Perspective by Dolores R. Leckey, and Living a Spirituality of Action: A Woman’s Perspectiveby Joan Mueller. 

More Releases in January
In January, the following will be released: Embracing Latina Spirituality: A Woman’s Perspective by Michelle A. Gonzalez, and Awakening to Prayer: A Woman’s Perspective by Clare Wagner. Next August, the final three volumes in the series will be released: Creating New Life, Nurturing Families: A Woman’s Perspective by Sidney Callahan,Weaving Faith and Experience: A Woman’s Perspective on the Middle Years by Patricia Cooney Hathaway, andFinding My Voice: A Young Adult Woman’s Perspective by Beth M. Knobbe.

A two-CD set, Companion Songs for Called to Holiness, is also available for listening enjoyment, personal prayer, or use with the group rituals in the books. The songs were selected by liturgical composer David Haas, and come from the musical library of GIA Publications Inc., which partnered with St. Anthony Messenger Press on the music.

The series’, Web site,, will feature two articles per month by series authors, author bios and photos, reading guides for each book in the series, author interviews, reviews of the books, a schedule of author speaking events and more.