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Philothea, or an Introduction to the Devout Life Paperback – May 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: TAN Books and Publishers (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895555107
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895555106
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,873,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Kessinger Publishing reprints over 1,500 similar titles all available through --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

One of those books you wish you'd read years ago.
Kathy Benitez
It is so deep and so well written by St. Francis de Sales.
Kathleen Krueger
My spiritual guide recommended that I read this book.
Rolf Erisman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Peter Wittstock on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
What more can be said about a work that during the four hundred years since its birth (1609) has never gone out of print, and is still garnering the highest praise from Christians of all denominations? A 'classic,' it truly is--'a masterpiece of mystical and devotional literature' (p. 13).

INTRODUCTION TO THE DEVOUT LIFE (hereafter, IDL) by Francis de Sales (John K. Ryan, ed.)(New York: Doubleday, Image Books, 1972) is the distillation of the written correspondence exchanged between the Roman Catholic bishop, Francis de Sales and his relative by marriage, Mademoiselle de Charmoisy (Marie de Chastel). Published only coincidentally when Marie showed the letters to the Jesuit priest, Pére Jean Fourier, who subsequently persuaded Francis to prepare them for publication. It is no wonder that Francis has been honored as the 'patron saint of writers'. His illustrations--frequently derived from nature--are always rich and informative, but sometimes overly florid. For example, he defines 'devotion' as: 'the delight of delights and queen of the virtues since it is the perfection of charity. If charity is milk, devotion is its cream; if it is a plant, devotion is its blossom; if it is a precious stone, devotion is its luster; if it is a rich ointment, devotion is its odor, yes, the odor of sweetness which comforts men and rejoices angels' (p. 43). Francis has also been deemed a 'Doctor of the Church' for his wisdom. Take for example this comment on the exercise of certain virtues: 'Occasions do not often present themselves for the exercise of fortitude, magnanimity, and great generosity, but meekness, temperance, integrity, and humility are virtues that must mark all our actions. We like sugar better than salt but salt is in more common and frequent use' (p. 121).
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Me on April 28, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
I first read this book while attending a Salesian high school -- and I've returned to repeatedly in the ensuing years. It is a timeless guide to leading a life that is filled with the greatness and goodness of God. I was pleased to recently share it with my children who've also come to love it. So I was over joyed after receiving a Kindle for my birthday to discover it was available for Kindle. I am thrilled to have it but to my disappointment I found that the Kindle version is NOT the John K. Ryan translation -- widely consider to be the best translation. That is not to say that this isn't an adequate substitution, but it is unfortunate that the image used is that of the Ryan translation. I just wish the Kindle version didn't come up when searching for the Ryan book and that the Ryan book was actually available for Kindle.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Christian Engler on September 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Saint Francis de Sales-patron saint of authors and writers and eminent Doctor of the Catholic Church-is quite deserving of his posthumous honors and titles, for with Introduction to the Devout Life (among his numerous other books and pamphlets), he gives to not only Catholics around the world but humanity in general, a religious, imformative yet readable work of theology that will aid in answering some of the fundamental questions of human existence. But more importantly, in the Introduction to the Devout Life, "St. Francis de Sales gives one of the clearest statements in religious literature of the theory and practice of the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way, the three levels of thought and conduct that are required for a completely moral and religious life..." Page 14. That is the gist of this work; for those individuals (which would indeed, unfortunately, be a large numer) who are not destined for a religious vocation or a life of monastic contemplation, the lessons contained within the Introduction to the Devout Life (if at least minutely adhered to) can become a moral and religious compass for individuals who are frightfully lost as a result of the freewheeling sexualization of society, unrepentant, insolent amour propre, the rise of unceasing materialism and other debasing wounds that can cause spiritual deadness and thus can become none too quick to heal. Written in a similar style to that of the Dialogue of Saint Catherine of Siena, the book, however, is in the format of St. Francis writing down answers to a female pupil named Philothea and not a one-on-one conversation as in the Dialogue, but Introduction to the Devout Life is similar in idea.Read more ›
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Orlin Johnson on November 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you think that a book several hundreds years old is going to offer only "dated" theology, think again: Christianity is a revealed religion that claims to be given by God to humanity--and therefore no Christian doctrine can be changed. This book will seem strange to modern, post-Vatican-II Christians only if they don't understand their Faith. Vatican II changed no Church teaching, and in fact encouraged us to look to the great saints of the past for guidelines to our own development. Along with St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Alphonsus of Liguori, St. Francis de Sales is among the most accessible, most reliable, and most immediately useful Catholic authors, and this is a fine edition. Get it! Read it! Learn what your Church teaches about life, and why.
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