Recommended Books – Fr. John Hardon’s List

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A Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan

by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

Many of the following books can be found for free on the internet, in electronic versions, no longer bound by copyright.  Just search and you will probably find many different sites that host these texts as free downloads (in different formats, for example, as text, PDF, mobi, epub, AZW, etc).

If you prefer a paper copy, trying searching an online bookseller, such as Amazon.  Older, more obscure works might be available at Loome Theological Booksellers.

Newer books, still bound by copyright, can probably only be found in paper versions at an online bookseller.

The Age of Persecution

  1. St Ignatius of Antioch

Specially recommended: Letters

  1. St Justin Martyr

The First Apology

The Second Apology

  1. St Irenaeus

The Presentation of the Apostolic Preaching

Against the Heretics (‘Adversus Haereses’)

  1. Tertullian

Apologetical Works

Disciplinary, Moral and Ascetical Works

  1. St Cyprian

The Lapsed, the Unity of the Catholic Church

On the Lord’s Prayer

  1. Lactantius

The Divine Institutes

The Patristic Age

  1. Eusebius

Ecclesiastical History

  1. St Athanasius

The Incarnation of the Word

The Life of Saint Anthony

  1. Prudentius



  1. St John Chrysostom

On the Priesthood

Address on Vainglory and the Right Way

for Parents to Bring up their Children

  1. St Augustine

City of God


Of True Religion

Enchirdion: On Faith, Hope and Charity

  1. St Jerome


On Illustrious Men

Medieval Civilization

  1. St Vincent of Lerins


  1. Boethius

The Consolation of Philosophy

  1. St Benedict

The Rule of St Benedict

  1. The Venerable Bede

A History of the English Church and People

  1. St Anselm

Prayers and Meditations

Why God Became Man and the Virgin Conception

  1. St Bernard of Clairvaux

The Steps of Humility

On Loving God

Magnificat: homilies in praise

of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  1. St Francis of Assisi

The Writings of St Francis

The Little Flowers of St Francis

  1. St Thomas Aquinas

Summa Contra Gentiles

Summa Theologiae

The Catechetical Instructions

  1. St Bonaventure

The Journey of the Mind to God

The Triple Way

The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary

  1. Bl Jacobus de Voragine

The Golden Legend

  1. Dante

The Divine Comedy

  1. St Catherine of Siena

The Dialogue

  1. Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales

  1. Thomas à Kempis

The Imitation of Christ

  1. St Catherine of Genoa

Treatise on Purgatory

  1. St Thomas More

A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation



The Catholic Reformation

  1. St Ignatius Loyola

Spiritual Exercises

Letters and Instructions


  1. St Teresa of Avila


The Way of Perfection

Interior Castle

  1. St John of the Cross

Ascent of Mount Carmel

Dark Night of the Soul

  1. Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote

  1. St Robert Bellarmine

The Ascent of the Mind to God

The Art of Dying Well

  1. St Francis de Sales

Introduction to the Devout Life

Treatise on the Love of God

  1. Richard Crashaw


  1. St Margaret Mary Alacoque


  1. St Louis de Montfort

True Devotion to Mary

  1. Alban Butler

Lives of the Saints

  1. St Alphonsus de Liguori

The Holy Eucharist

The Glories of Mary

The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ

The Way of Salvation and of Perfection

  1. Bl Anne Catherine Emmerich

The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Frederick William Faber

Growth in Holiness, or the Progress of the Spiritual Life

The Blessed Sacrament, or the Works and Way of God


Spiritual Conferences

  1. St Peter Julian Eymard

The Real Presence

Holy Communion

Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

The Eucharist and Christian Perfection

  1. Alessandro Manzoni

The Betrothed

  1. Prosper Gueranger

The Liturgical Year: Advent to

the Last Sunday of Pentecost

The Modern Age

  1. Orestes Brownson

Essays and Reviews chiefly on

Theology, Politics and Socialism

  1. Matthias Joseph Scheeben

The Mysteries of Christianity


  1. William Bernard Ullathorne

The Groundwork of the Christian Virtues

The Little Book of Humility and Patience

  1. Bl John Henry Newman

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

Sermons and Discourses

The Idea of a University

The Dream of Gerontius

  1. Coventry Patmore


  1. St Thérèse of Lisieux

Story of a Soul (Autobiography)

  1. Eugene Boylan

This Tremendous Lover

The Mystical Body: the foundation of the spiritual life

  1. Francis Thompson


  1. Robert Hugh Benson

Christ in the Church

The Light Invisible

The Necromancers

Come Rack! Come Rope!

  1. Henryk Sienkiewicz

Quo Vadis?

With Fire and Sword

The Deluge

  1. Augustin Poulain

The Graces of Interior Prayer

  1. James Gibbons

The Faith of our Fathers

The Ambassador of Christ

  1. Alice Meynell



  1. Adolphe Alfred Tanquerey

The Spiritual Life: a treatise on ascetical and mystical theology

  1. Bl Joseph Columba Marmion

Christ, the Life of the Soul

Christ in His Mysteries

  1. Ottokar Prohaszka

Meditations on the Gospels

  1. Ludwig von Pastor

The History of the Popes

  1. Jean-Baptiste Chautard

The Soul of the Apostolate

  1. G.K. Chesterton

St Francis of Assisi

The Catholic Church and Conversion

The Everlasting Man

St Thomas Aquinas: the dumb ox

  1. Fernand Carrol

Liturgical Prayer: its history and spirit

The Prayer of the early Christians

Mass of the Western Rites

The Mass: its doctrine, its history

  1. Ferdinand Prat

Theology of St Paul

Jesus Christ: his life, his teaching, and his works

  1. Marie Joseph Lagrange

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

  1. Alban Goodier

The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Prince of Peace

  1. St Maximilian Kolbe

Personal Letters

Spiritual Writings

Theological Writings

  1. St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

The Science of the Cross

Essays on Woman

  1. Henri Gheon

Secrets of the Saints

Three Plays

Christmas in the Market Place

The Art of the Theatre

  1. Edward Leen

Progress through mental prayer

In the Likeness of Christ

The Church Before Pilate

The Holy Ghost and His Work in Souls

  1. Alexis Carrel

Man the Unknown

The Voyage to Lourdes

  1. Sigrid Undset

Kristin Lavransdatter

Saga of Saints

The Longest Years

  1. William Thomas Walsh

Isabella of Spain

Characters of the Inquisition

Our Lady of Fatima

  1. Owen Francis Dudley

Will men be like Gods? Humanitarianism or human happiness

The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk

  1. Hilaire Belloc

The Path to Rome

The Servile State

Europe and the Faith

Marie Antoinette

  1. Paul Claudel

The Satin Slipper

The Tidings Brought to Mary: a drama

The Book of Christopher Columbas: a lyrical drama

Letters from Paul Claudel, my godfather

  1. Johannes Jorgensen

Saint Brigid of Sweden

Saint Catherine of Siena

Pilgrim Walks in Franciscan Italy

Jorgensen: an autobiography

  1. Pierre Pourrat

Christian Spirituality

  1. Ronald Knox


A Spiritual Aenid

The Belief of Catholics

A Commentary on the Gospels

  1. Paul de Jaegher

One with Jesus

The Virtue of Trust

  1. Francis Trochu

The Curé of Ars: St Jean-Marie Baptiste Vianney

St Bernardette Soubirous

  1. John Peter Arendzen

The Holy Trinity

Reason and Revelation

What Becomes of the Dead?

Purgatory and Heaven

  1. Guiseppe Ricciotti

The Life of Jesus Christ

The History of Israel

Paul the Apostle

The Age of Martyrs: Christianity from Diocletian to


  1. Gerald Vann

The Divine Pity

The Seven Swords

  1. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Christian Perfection and Contemplation, according to St Thomas Aquinas and St John of the Cross

The Three Ages of the Interior Life

The Mother of Our Saviour and our Interior Life

  1. Henri Daniel-Rops

The Book of Mary

The Church of the Apostles and Martyrs

The Church in the Dark Ages

The Catholic Reformation

  1. Karl Adam

The Spirit of Catholicism

The Son of God

Christ Our Brother

The Roots of the Reformation

  1. Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited

A Handful of Dust

Edmund Campion

  1. Romano Guardini

The Lord

The Way of the Cross of Our Lord and Our Saviour, Jesus Christ

Freedom, Grace and Destiny: three chapters in the interpretation of existence

The End of the Modern World: a search for orientation

  1. Katherine Burton

The Great Mantle: Pope St Pius X

Sorrow Built a Bridge: Mother Alphonsus

Witness of the Light

The Next Thing: autobiography and reminiscences

  1. Christopher Dawson

Religion and World History

Progress and Religion

The Crisis of Western Education

Religion and the Rise of Western Culture

  1. Francois Mauriac

Life of Jesus

Woman of the Pharisees

St Margaret of Cortona

The Eucharist

  1. James Alberione

Personality and Configuration with Christ


Glories and Virtues of Mary

Daily Meditations: the great prayers, the great truths, the great virtues

  1. Jacques Maritain

An Introduction to Philosophy

Prayer and Intelligence

The Degrees of Knowledge

Art and Scholasticism

  1. Arnold Lunn

Now I See: an autobiography

The Revolt Against Reason

Switzerland: its literary, historical, and topographical landmarks

A Saint in the Slave Trade: Peter Claver, 1581–1654

  1. Charles Journet

The Church of the Word Incarnate

The Primacy of Peter

The Meaning of Grace

The Wisdom of Faith: an introduction to theology

  1. Dietrich von Hildebrand

Transformation in Christ: on the Christian attitude of mind

Marriage: the mystery of faithful love

Celibacy and the crisis of faith

The Sacred Heart: an analysis of human and divine affection

  1. Etienne Gilson

History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages

A Gilson Reader: selected writings

Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Kant

Recent Philosophy: Hegel to the present

  1. Ven. Fulton Sheen

Treasures in Clay: an autobiography

Peace of Soul

These are the Sacraments

Three to get Married

  1. Igino Giordani

The Social Message of Jesus

The Social Message of the Early Church Fathers

Mary of Nazareth

  1. Frank Sheed

Theology and Sanity

Communism and Man

The Church and I

Marriage and the Family

  1. Hubert van Zellar

We Die Standing Up

Approach to Christian Scripture

The End: a projection not a prophecy

Praying While You Work: devotions for the use of Martha rather than Mary

  1. John C.H. Wu

The Science of Love: a study in the teachings of St Thérèse of Lisieux

Beyond East and West: an autobiography

Fountain of Justice: a study in the natural law

The Interior Carmel: the threefold way of love

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