Born in 1927 in Germany as Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI has been head of the Roman Catholic Church since April 2005. A prolific author, theologian and university professor, Ratzinger served as an "expert" at the Second Vatican Council, and was tapped in 1977 by Pope Paul VI to lead the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In 1981, Pope John Paul II called him to Rome to head the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served until his papal election.
In "Holy Women," Our Sunday Visitor continues publishing books containing the weekly addresses of Benedict XVI. Even the Holy Father's sharpest critics concede that Benedict is a leading theologian and historian--and this work, which focuses on some leading female saints, mystics and intellectuals mostly from the Middle Ages, clearly reinforces this. Benedict offers some interesting thoughts on some well known women (St. Joan of Arc and St. Teresa of Avila for example) but where he really shines is focusing on the less known figures. For example, the Holy Father offers an excellent introduction to the likes of St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. Veronica Giuliani. Reading this work, I was struck by how Benedict was able to offer quick sketches of the lives of these women but also offer a distinct synopsis of why they were important to the growth of Christianity and what modern readers can take from them (for example, Catherine of Genoa and purgatory; St. Gertrude the Great and justice). While the book certainly has an appeal to Catholics, any reader looking to understand the growth and shaping of Christianity would find the work very useful.
Reason for Reading: I love reading about the Saints and want to read more work of Pope B16.
This is a collection of articles on seventeen holy women of the church throughout the ages, most of the women are saints, though not quite all; most were nuns, but again not quite all. These writings are "derived from catecheses given by Pope Benedict XVI during his weekly general audience from September 1, 2010 to April 6, 2011." They have only been edited slightly to fit the book form. These are brief histories but meaty with information and inspiration, Benedict gets right to the heart of matters and tells a history of the woman's life, what lead her to her religious/spiritual way of life, tells us what these women achieved, how some were honoured and respected while alive, how others were martyrs for God. The Pope then winds each article down by placing the woman's achievements/religious teachings in our own modern times, showing how what she did or said is still relevant today and each ends with a relevant prayer. Most of the women are from the middle ages but the time span covered is broad ranging from 1098 to 1897 and the women are presented more or less chronologically with only slight deviation. The women included are:
St. Hildegard of Bingen St. Claire of Assisi St. Matilda of Hackeborn St. Gertrude the Great Bl. Angela of Foligno St. Elizabeth of Hungary St. Bridget of Sweden Marguerite d Oingt St. Juliana of Cornillon St Catherine of Siena Julian of Norwich St. Veronica Giuliani St. Catherine of Bologna St. Catherine of Genoa St. Joan of Arc St. Teresa of Avila St.Read more ›
Pope Benedict XVI gave weekly talks from September 1, 2010 to April 6, 2011 on seventeen Catholic women who are remembered for their Godly characters and actions, and these short studies have been collected in this slim volume, Holy Women. Among those included are Julian of Norwich, St. Joan of Arc, St. Hildegard of Bingen, Bl. Angela of Foligno, three Sts. Catherine (of Siena, Bologna, and Genoa), St. Gertrude the Great, and St. Bridget of Sweden.
Naturally, these are not exhaustive biographies; rather, the pope's talks provide an quick sketch to orient his audience about when the mystic or contemplative lived and about the main events in each of their lives. Each chapter also connects the virtues of the given woman to what we can do in our own lives. For instance, although Joan of Arc is famous for her military year and for being burned at the stake, Pope Benedict reminds us that she was first and foremost a dedicated spiritual being whom we can emulate: "Dear brothers and sisters, with her luminous witness St. Joan of Arc invites us to a high standard of Christian living: to make prayer the guiding motive of our days; to have full trust in doing God's will, whatever it may be; to live charity without favoritism, without limits and drawing, like her, from the Love of Jesus a profound love for the Church."
HOLY WOMEN allows us to see these great women of the Church through the words of wisdom of Pope Benedict. Some of the seventeen are more familiar than others, but in each case, the pope's brief dissertation can prompt a desire to learn more about the respective servant of God.Read more ›
This is a compilation of seventeen noonday talks that Benedict XVI gave on lady saints in late 2010 and early 2011. Some I knew alot about, some I knew some about, and some I knew nothing about. It was all very enlightening.
A lesson for all of us is the following from the first chapter: "The person endowed with supernatural gifts never boasts of them, never flaunts them and, above all, shows complete obedience to the ecclesial authority."