The CRT Blog

5 lucky winners, 39 favorite saints, and 63 life-changing books!

Hello and happy All Saints’ Day to you!

I am SO EXCITED to announce the 5 lucky winners from this year’s All Saints’ Day Book Giveaway!

Please check out the video below to see who Indiana Jones, The Unicorn Lady, a dragon, Hermione, Princess Belle, and Tigger ended up selecting to win a free copy of Sweet Jesus, Is It June Yet?: 10 Ways the Gospels Can Help You Combat Teacher Burnout and Rediscover Your Passion for Teaching by Amy Cattapan! 

Didn’t win this year? No worries! I’ll be giving out more free books next year and will be hosting a number of other giveaways before then as well! If you want to get in on all the fun, BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST! (*Please note: Only current CatholicReligionTeacher.com email subscribers are eligible for giveaways) 😉


In addition to giving away free books, teachers who entered their name in this year’s raffle were asked to share their favorite saint and a book that has had a big influence on their faith and/or life as a teacher. I’d love for you to check out (and be inspired by!) their answers below!

Who is one of your favorite saints?

  1. St. Thérèse of Lisieux – 9 votes
  2. St. John Paul II – 8 votes
  3. St. Mother Teresa – 6 votes
  4. St. Anthony – 4 votes
  5. St. Teresa of Ávila – 3 votes
  6. St. Padre Pio – 3 votes
  7. St. Angela Merici – 2 votes
  8. St. Joan of Arc – 2 votes
  9. St. Catherine of Siena – 2 votes
  10. St. Thomas Aquinas – 2 votes
  11. St. Faustina Kowalska – 1 vote
  12. St. Raphael – 1 vote
  13. St. Francis de Sales – 1 vote
  14. St. Helena – 1 vote
  15. St. Mother Theodore Guérin – 1 vote
  16. St. Martin de Porres – 1 vote
  17. Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati – 1 vote
  18. St. Mary Magdalene – 1 vote
  19. St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – 1 vote
  20. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini – 1 vote
  21. Bl. Miguel Pro – 1 vote
  22. St. Lucy – 1 vote
  23. St. Maximilian Kolbe – 1 vote
  24. St. Cecilia – 1 vote
  25. St. John Bosco – 1 vote
  26. St. Julia Maria Ledochowska – 1 vote
  27. St. Edith Stein – 1 vote
  28. St. Thomas More – 1 vote
  29. St. Jude – 1 vote
  30. St. John Vianney – 1 vote
  31. St. Ignatius of Loyola – 1 vote
  32. St. Gianna Molla – 1 vote
  33. St. Mary – 1 vote
  34. St. Francis of Assisi – 1 vote
  35. St. Anne – 1 vote
  36. St. Paul – 1 vote
  37. St. Photine of Samaria – 1 vote
  38. St. Joseph – 1 vote
  39. St. Andrew – 1 vote

What is one book that has had a big influence on your faith life or on your life as a teacher and what was it about this book that made it so influential for you?

  1. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – This book really shows how the devil tries to lure us away from God. It is a good reminder to be vigilant against temptation and it is done in a creative and easily accessible way.
  2. Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels – This book taught me to pray. It taught me how to talk to God about everything. It also helped me to slow down, draw near to God, and make prayer a priority.
  3. The Catechism of the Catholic Church – It’s my go-to resource when students ask me questions I can’t seem to answer.
  4. With God in Russia by Walter Ciszek – The witness of a man’s faith sustaining him through suffering made everything I teach take on great significance. And while his experiences were heroic, his depth of understanding of his faith as well as his ability to see God in all things shines through in his simple, direct, even humble writing. 
  5. Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of St. Faustina by St. Maria Faustina Kowalska – St. Faustina’s love for the Lord.
  6. 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael Gaitley – This book helped me learn more about Mama Mary and saints like St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Louis de Montfort.
  7. The Catholic Devotional – This book helps me focus on what is important. It makes me feel close to my Mom.
  8. Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton – This book helped me to see how life is a journey of conversion and transformation.
  9. The Dialogue of St. Catherine Of Siena: A Conversation With God On Living Your Spiritual Life To The Fullest by St. Catherine of Siena – It helped me understand our faith journey better and gave me good descriptions and metaphors to help me grasp it. It was also just moving how she conversed with God. 
  10. Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God by Casey Cole, OFM Taking time to recognize God’s call at this moment and live in this moment with God, really recognizing he is there with you. 
  11. The Secret Life of John Paul II by Lino Zani  It’s a short book, relatively light reading. It gives a personal perspective of John Paul II as a person, not as the pope. For me, this book made JP2 more relatable and yet gave me deeper appreciation for his own writings, theology, and work he did as pope. It’s a beautiful account of what the pope did in some of his “free time,” as though there is ever time away from being the pope.  It is light reading but endeared me to Pope St. John Paul II even more. It made John Paul II more “human” and helps me to “approach” him as my go-to-saint!
  12. Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision for a Secular Age by Andrew Seeley, R. Jared Staudt, Elisabeth Sullivan, Rosemary Vander Weele, and Michael Van HeckeIt reaffirms the that which is good, true and beautiful in Catholic education. 
  13. Secrets of a Soul: Padre Pio’s Letters to His Spiritual Directors by Gianluigi PasqualeReading the letters of one of the most incredible saints has influenced how I view the world. We are all called to holiness and with that call there can be pain, sadness, and suffering – but also great joy. These letters have inspired me in my daily life as a woman, mom, and teacher. 
  14. Interior Freedom by Fr. Jacques Philippe – It helped me recognize that my peace and happiness don’t depend on external circumstances but rather my faith in God. 
  15. BOOKOnward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators by Elena Aguilar – This book helps you work to prevent burn out. It goes chronologically through a school year and gets the emotions one experiences just right.
  16. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales – St. Francis shows how we can be holy in everyday life.
  17. Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly – I love Matthew’s easy-to-read stories about how he continues to live his faith.
  18. Lent One Day at a Time for Teens by Katie McGrady – I use this book when teaching my 8th graders during Lent. Even as an adult, I love the exercises and reflections.
  19. Catholic Social Teaching and Movements by Marvin L Krier MichThe book covers both the Social Teachings of the Church and how different Catholic Social Movements carried out the call to bring about the Kingdom of God on Earth and resist the forces of injustice in this fallen world. I found new methods and inspirations to carry out my own social justice work. 
  20. The Bible – It told me how much God loves me and that He is willing to sacrifice all for me and my students.
  21. Start with Jesus by Julianne Stanz – I love how Julianne gives voice to the need to begin with the relational aspect of our faith.  She describes how we are invited daily to meet and walk with Christ and to transform the world through our role as missionary disciples and to lead in our communities.
  22. Decision Point by Matthew KellyIt is a Confirmation prep text book, but the format is accessible to all kinds of learners, young and old.  It is full of wisdom relating to Scripture, the nature of God, and the saints.
  23. Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado – My “Go-To” for everyday inspirations.
  24. Maurice & Thérèse: The Story of a Love by Patrick Ahern – I was reading this for a class in college at the same time that my father went missing for 16 days (found dead). Reading her thoughts and way of simply being despite her own internal challenges were exactly what I needed in that moment and her Little Way continues to be something I remind myself of this day as well.
  25. My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin, SJ – Fr. Martin relates some of the saints who have influenced him throughout his life. His entertaining and honest style helped me understand how we gravitate toward different saints throughout our lives.
  26. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – I read it in high school when faith is often shaken. Although others ridiculed Valjean for his faith in God, it struck me for its complete sincerity no matter what he faced. 
  27. The Book of Job – It was the very first complete book I remember reading in the Bible and to this day the importance of trusting in His will and walking in faith holds more truth than I could ever imagine…
  28. Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigel – I loved how I got to experience Catholic sites around the world and dive deep into theology relevant to being a young adult Catholic.
  29. This Present Paradise by Claire Dwyer – Holiness is not exclusively for priests and nuns but truly for everyone.  Also speaks about how to draw meaning and courage for the inevitable sufferings everyone faces.
  30. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales – I find the wisdom in it very practical and profound for all aspects of my life.
  31. The Life of Christ by Ven. Fulton J. Sheen – Sheen has a beautiful way of cutting right to the heart of familiar Gospel stories, so his rader sees them as though for the first time. He sugarcoats nothing, calls attention to the gravity of the Gospel message, and yet communicates God’s love and mercy so poignantly. I steal from him all the time when explaining tough biblical truths in the classroom.
  32. The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator’s Creative Breakthrough by Hope and Wade King & Jesus Always by Sarah Young – Both books, while about 2 very different topics, have rejuvenated me as a person. They’ve provided clarity for me and reminded me why I do what I do.
  33. Jesus Wears Socks With Sandals by S. James Meyer – It helps to share the human side of Jesus with students.
  34. The Shack by Wm. Paul Young – I think this book was most influential because it really made the Holy Spirit come to life for me. I feel like the Holy Spirit is not something taught or explained often. This put a literal face to that portion of the Holy Trinity.
  35. Lord, Renew Your Wonders: Spiritual Gifts for Today by Damian Stayne – This book opened my eyes to the power of God at work in Christians today when they proclaim the good news and allow God to demonstrate it through them as Jesus and his disciples did.  
  36. Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Fr. Jacques Philippe – This book has really helped me to put things in perspective during the stressful moments of teaching and mothering. It gave me a clearer picture of what it looks like to completely trust in Jesus.
  37. God Help Me: How to Grow in Prayer by Jim Beckman – It gave me a number of ideas on how to teach to contemplative prayer in a practical way.
  38. Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make you Happier by Robert A. Emmons  – Gratitude is reflected so much in the life of Jesus and our faith. This book shows people who were not religious connect with their faith or belief in God because of events that let them recognize gratitude. I want to share that with my kids.
  39. Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean – I read this book last year as a supplement for my Moral Theology class. The stories about the individuals sentenced to death renewed my opposition to capital punishment and the injustices of poverty. It has motivated me to make changes to our Campus Outreach program and to our Service Learning curriculum (Mercy in Action). 
  40. Jesus Always and God Calling by Sarah Young – The words for these devotionals seem to leap off the page and bring me right to Jesus, as if Jesus was speaking to me and just at the right time, for the exact questions I was asking him.
  41. With God in Russia by Walter Ciszek – A remarkable example of turning suffering into glory for God.
  42. Armchair Mystic by Fr. Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ – It taught me how easy and actually relaxing it can be to communicate with God.  It was very important for me to teach that to my students (my children).
  43. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – It helped me to look at the Christian/Catholic faith from another perspective, through the eyes of a child. I love how beautifully deep and powerful it goes into the faith yet remains a children’s book.
  44. The Bible – I like to share the good news and know more.
  45. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – The different ways that the devil tries to pull you away from Christ was interesting and it made me rethink some of my habits.
  46. Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly – I read it right before going back into teaching after staying home to raise my 4 daughters. I really did re-discover how our Catholic faith is so very awesome!
  47. Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta by St. Mother Teresa – This book has inspired me to look closer at my relationship with God. It has taught me that I can have a relationship with God in my daily life.
  48. Into your Hands, Father by Wilfred Stinnisen – How do I submit to the will of the Father through both the good times and those that cause me to struggle? How do I find peace? Only by submitting to the Father’s will, by living the Father’s will just like Jesus… obedience.
  49. Let Nothing Disturb You (30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher) by St. Teresa of Ávila – This book provides a nice daily reflection, with great insights from St. Teresa of Ávila, who was just so real in both her humanity and her sanctity
  50. The English translation of “Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy” by Simone Troisi & Cristiana Paccini (translated by Charlotte J. Fasi) – This book is one I use in my senior Vocations class; not only does it paint a deeply touching picture of one modern young woman’s struggles with her own wounds and the resulting transformation when she is able to surrender them to God, but it also shows the profound depth of the graces of the Sacrament of Marriage, intertwined with the graces of the priesthood as Chiara and her husband are supported by their Franciscan mentor — a beautiful book both for personal spiritual reading and for teaching.
  51. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis – It gave me an interesting way to have the kids reflect on their lives and see where we fail to do right as individuals and society. 
  52. The Rule of Benedict by Saint Benedict – I strive to be hospitable, and this is the rule book for it!
  53. The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard – Powerful passages that completely changed how I live, especially with ordering rest/prayer before my ministry or work. 
  54. The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux by St. Thérèse of Lisieux – Her relationship with Jesus – she calls herself “His little bride”. Completely changed my relationship with Jesus.
  55. I Believe in Love: A Personal Retreat Based on the Teaching of St. Thérèse of Lisieux by Fr. Jean C. J. d’Elbée – It had a big impact on my faith life by giving an insight on focusing on the small things. It also helped me to grow in the knowledge of the Father’s love for me.
  56. My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin, SJ – Insights about the saints that I have never thought of before.
  57. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – This gave me insight and understanding as a parent and teacher of introverts.
  58. Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly – Matthew pointed out a lot of things I found difficult about being Catholic and explained how it was my perspective that needed to change. He showed me that its not that difficult to be more “faithful”.
  59. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard – I received this in college and have read it several times. I could see myself in the main character, Much-Afraid, who is searching for the Shepherd. The allegory has helped me to recognize where I am on my faith journey.
  60. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis  – This a a great summary of the Gospel. Lewis uses simple, meaningful language.
  61. The Holy Mass: The Testimony of Catalina (Love and Mercy Publications) – I loved the voices that came to her during Mass and the details that were shared during the Mass. It really inspired me each Mass I’ve been to since. 
  62. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – The vignette on the bishop and his mercy was an incredible witness of how mercy can change someone’s life. Later as Jean Valjean goes to get Cosette and rescues her as she is carrying water for M. Thénardier is such a moving Christ figure scene.
  63. Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald H. Calloway – I appreciate the Eucharist in a whole new light. Joseph was the first Eucharistic Minister bringing the bread of life to the world. Even though we don’t have words from Joseph, he teaches us so much with actions. Learning more about Joseph has reinvigorated my spiritual life in new ways. 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s All Saints’ Day Book Giveaway!

As always, know of my prayers for you and your students.

God bless you and happy All Saints’ Day!

In Christ,
Greg

A HUGE shoutout to Ave Maria Press for partnering with me for this year’s giveaway! Check out more of their great resources at: AveMariaPress.com

Are you a teacher of the Catholic faith? I’d love to serve and support you! Please consider subscribing to my email list for tons of perks and fun! 🤠

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