- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Ignatius Press (September 21, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1621641287
- ISBN-13: 978-1621641285
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard: Forty Tips for Faithful College Students Paperback – September 21, 2016
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"The best way to keep your faith, at any college, is to read this book."
-- Peter Kreeft, Ph.D, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College
"Those who go to college without a plan are likely to lose the greatest legacy their parents have given them. Aurora Griffin has given us that plan. And if it can work at Harvard, it can work anywhere. This book is an answer to many, many prayers." --Scott Hahn, Ph.D, Author, Rome Sweet Home
"Miss Griffin engages her readers, not as an advisor who knows all, but as a peer who has just experienced college as a faithful Catholic. She insists on the importance of community and friendship in walking with Christ, as well as personal engagement with Scripture and the Sacraments. This book is a shining example of what the next generation of leaders can do to further the work of the new evangelization. Please read this book and join her."
-- Curtis Martin, President, FOCUS
"Pure gold. In her warm, but practical style, Miss Griffin makes every one of her forty points crystal-clear and down to earth. She shows how a living faith is not a tablet of beliefs and commands, but a more joyful life to be lived. She gets it." --Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
"Thomas Aquinas tells us that bearing witness to one's Catholic faith is among the greatest mercies a person can offer others. Aurora Griffin has discovered that mercy and sought to live it with verve and intelligence. Her book is a witness and gift to those who seek to bring the light of Christ to their secular contemporaries."
-- Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, Director of the Thomistic Institute Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.
"Any Catholic--and I mean-any Catholic--who has a child in college, or soon entering, should give them this book. A Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, Aurora Griffin has been through the fire and produced a powerful witness to the saving truth of Catholic faith--even in the modern university. In a few years' time, your child will thank you for helping them to remain and grow in the truth that sets us free."
Samuel Gregg,Research Director, Acton Institute
Aurora Griffin not only survived as a Catholic at Harvard, but has already brought honor to her alma mater as a Rhodes Scholar and author. This fine little book will inspire countless young men and women to go and do likewise in the secular world.
Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University
"Countless parents express their grief that they spent a fortune to send their child to the 'best of schools' -- and there they lost their way. Aurora's journey demonstrates that it need not be so: students can keep hold on to their Catholic faith even in the most secular environments. And they can do so with friends, success, and most importantly, with joy."
Alan Sears, President, CEO, and General Counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom
Aurora Griffin's How I Stayed Catholic at Harvard is a work of exuberantly joyful Christian witness. For Aurora, the scribes and pharisees of contemporary secularism are simply no match for the One who is 'the way, the truth, and the life'---the incarnate Son of God who teaches us by both precept and example about the redemptive power of self-sacrificial love. --Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
About the Author
Aurora Catherine Griffin attended Harvard University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Classics in 2014. There she served as President of the Catholic Student Association. She was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University, where she received a graduate degree in Theology.
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The fundamental conviction underlying this book is that the Catholic Christian Faith must be personally appropriated and “actively” lived. No one can simply “stay” Catholic without growing in his or her faith, at college or anywhere. Because of this conviction, Ms. Griffin confidently assures her readers that they can thrive even at a secular school – provided they attend to their faith in the process. And so she provides in this book a wonderful collection of concrete ways to pursue a deeper faith and stronger friendship with Christ, particularly in a college environment, though many of her suggestions will apply equally well to Christians of any age and in any walk of life.
Ms. Griffin argues convincingly, from Christian doctrine and her own experience, that a living faith – far from being a hindrance – is in fact the greatest asset that a college student can have (that is, next to the very love for God that makes faith alive). She illustrates how the Catholic Faith indeed does not take away from a full college experience, but rather provides the best means for achieving academic success, finding fulfilling relationships (even if it takes a little time), and developing fully as a human person. Ms. Griffin is adept at pointing out the places and situations in which the Catholic Faith can make a difference in the daily life of students, from the first moments of waking up, through classes, Masses, and parties, up until the time for bed and even through vacations. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to anyone who wishes to get the most out of their college years and to graduate – not with regret – but with gratitude, meaningful friendships, a stronger faith, and a solid education (although this last point will of course depend somewhat on the particular school).
For anyone who might be wondering about the doctrinal orthodoxy of the book, the best thing I can do is point to its publication by Ignatius Press and the glowing endorsements it received from Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Michael Novak, and Curtis Martin, all exceptional lay Catholic leaders. Reading it myself, I was impressed by the depth of the author’s personal devotion and her refreshingly balanced presentation. The material presented in this book is clearly rooted in the Catholic Tradition, nourished by twenty centuries of Christian prayer, meditation, and experience, while it seamlessly welcomes young people today, with their unique challenges and opportunities, into the fullness of life in this Tradition.
The book contains 40 chapters of “Tips,” divided into the categories of Community, Prayer, Academics, and Living It Out. Some of my favorite chapters were “Just Be Catholic,” “Stay in Touch,” “Go to Adoration,” “Have a Litany of Saints,” “Pray for People,” “Attend a Traditional Mass,” “Read Catholic Literature,” “Rest on Sundays,” and “Use Social Media and Technology.” But I suspect everyone will have their own favorite chapters based on what they need at the time and the unanticipated invitations of grace.
I would only give two suggestions here to those who read this book.
First, take Ms. Griffin’s advice in the Preface: don’t try to apply everything all at once. There is so much packed into this book that even reading it too quickly can be overwhelming, although it is a hard book to put down. There are many great ideas and much good advice, but many things have to be gradually and thoughtfully applied throughout college and afterward. I’d say that some things should be done immediately (even if in small doses at first) like praying daily, but other things, like attending conferences, might take some time – or for some students might not even be a possibility. This book is not a checklist for Day 1, though I would recommend reading it as a whole before the first day; it is something rather more valuable: a resource that should be revisited many times throughout college.
Second, I would encourage prospective students to seriously discern where God is calling them to attend college. Some people will find a fervent Catholic campus environment to be helpful or necessary, while others will find the challenges of a secular institution more beneficial for their own growth. (I was blessed to attend a large public high school and then a deeply Catholic University, and I grew in different ways in both places.) The author is absolutely right that the Catholic Faith can sustain a person in any environment, and Catholic community and support can be found in many unexpected places, as well as in expected places. At the same time, it is clear that Ms. Griffin had an extraordinarily strong upbringing, which undoubtedly contributed to her ability to maintain her faith in a highly secular atmosphere. I would just suggest that students take a careful look at the campus life where they are considering attending. The decision must be made prayerfully and honestly in light of one’s personality, resources, and goals, in consultation with wise and holy people, if possible. God’s grace is certainly sufficient, but He’s also given us common sense, which also has its place. Still, whatever prospective students decide, this book provides solid guidance for any young Christian who is embarking on the journey of higher education, whether at a Catholic/Christian or secular institution.
Overall, I enthusiastically recommend this book to every young Catholic, especially those soon to attend college. Thank you, Ms. Aurora Griffin, for obeying the inspiration(s) of the Holy Spirit which led you to write this book and for providing this resource for all of us!—even those of us who are still in college after our undergraduate degrees have been completed! :)
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