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5 of the Best Books About Catholicism to Ignite Your Faith

Some of the best books about Catholicism
A small stack of my favorite Catholic books from my collection.

A collection of the best books about Catholicism to inspire you to live your faith authentically and passionately.

Y’all, I m so excited to be talking about two of my all-time favorite things: Catholicism and books! In this case, specifically, the best books to learn about Catholicism! What could be better, right??

I converted to Catholicism on April 19, 2014. My journey to the Church was long and arduous, but it was the greatest decision I ever made. Even seven years later, I am still constantly learning and growing in my Faith. There’s always something new to learn about Catholicism, always new questions to explore. Much to the delight of my book-loving heart, there is no shortage of amazing Catholic books to choose from. Honestly, it can be a little overwhelming to find just the right books about Catholicism that will inspire, teach, and entertain you. Back in the early days of my conversion, when my heart was on fire and my soul was starved for truth and beauty, I poured over Canon Law and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, desperate for information straight from the Church Herself.

Fast-forward to the present, and my tastes are…different. I still love the Catechism, obviously, but my worn-out mom-brain needs something a little less…intense. Short and powerful works have become my go-to choices for books anymore. My heart craves powerful stories by people whose love for Catholicism is so palpable that you can’t help but devour everything they have to say.

This brings me to my list! Below are 5 of my all-time favorite books about Catholicism written by laypeople. This list isn’t exhaustive, but I hope that you’ll be inspired to check these titles and authors out.

Let’s get started!

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1. Something Other Than God – Jennifer Fulwiler

Best books about Catholicism - Something Other Than God by Jen Fulwiler

So, to be honest, I used to think that I had nothing to learn from reading other peoples’ conversion stories. I would get excited when I met my fellow converts in real life. Comparing conversion stories is one of my all-time favorite topics of conversation. But the idea of using my precious time to read a whole book about someone I never met felt silly.

Enter Something Other Than God. My son’s godmother gave it to me several years ago, and it completely changed my outlook on conversion stories. Jennifer Fulwiler’s story touched my heart in a way I could not have expected. I related to her atheistic background and enjoyed her dry humor. It was the first book about Catholicism I had read by a living layperson. It was refreshing to read such relatable stories from a fellow convert. Jennifer tackles her objections to the Faith with so much humor and passion and leaves you wanting to know more about her and her faith.

Jennifer Fulwiler Comedy Tour
Pics, or it didn’t happen. 😉

I mentioned her humor before, but for real, the woman is hilarious. I highly recommend checking out her skits on social media and her Naughty Corner Tour comedy special. Fun fact: I went to her Atlanta show back in 2019, and she signed my copy of Something Other Than God!

2. Into the Deep: An Unlikely Catholic Conversion – Dr. Abigail Rine Favale

Best books about Catholicism - Into the Deep by Abigail Favale

Y’all. Run, don’t walk, to get this book. My husband bought this for me after watching Abigail’s interview with Matt Fradd on Pints with Aquinas. To this day, it is one of the best things he’s ever bought for me. It’s simply one of the best books about Catholicism I have ever read.

Into the Deep is part-conversion story, part-apologetics overview, and part-gender studies introspective. Abigail is witty and does not hold back about anything. She tackles difficult subjects like purity culture and secular feminism head-on with such raw honesty that it leaves you breathless. She stuns you with her deep reflections on the Truths of the Catholic Faith on one page and has you laughing hysterically at her wry humor and the occasional swear word the next. I love that she wasn’t “all-in” from the moment she came into the Church and how her conversion was an ongoing, extremely nuanced process. She doesn’t pretend that her story was all butterflies and rainbows. In fact, she goes out of her way to point out how she struggled with Church teachings even after becoming Catholic!

Another fun fact for you, she and I were brought into the Church on the same day!

This is just a taste of her interview with Matt Fradd. I highly recommend watching the whole video the next time you have two hours to spare.

3. The Catholic Table – Emily Stimpson Chapman

Best books about Catholicism - The Catholic Table Emily Stimpson Chapman

For those who don’t know, I am a HUGE foodie. I’ve been cooking since I was old enough to hold a whisk. Cooking is how I relax, and I firmly believe that hosting and feeding people should be its own love language. My relationship with food has gone through its fair share of rough patches, especially during my battle with disordered eating. It took years of healing and a newfound respect for my body through my conversion to reorder my view of food. So when I found a book that combines Catholicism, delicious recipes, and deeply theological reflections on cooking, hosting, and body image, written by a woman who also experienced issues with eating disorders, I knew I absolutely had to read it.

I finished The Catholic Table in a day. Emily is an excellent writer, and her work is so heartfelt and raw. She makes you feel like you’re a guest in her home and the whole book reads like a deeply personal talk with a cherished friend over a bowl of risotto and a very dry martini. Her talent for hosting is down-to-earth and yet so heaven-centered that it makes you want to throw a spontaneous dinner party to live your call to be a disciple. Her love for the Blessed Sacrament is palpable, and the connections she draws between food and Our Lord’s presence in the Eucharist will change the way you view food forever.

Emily and her husband are the adoptive parents of three beautiful children, and she wrote a whole cookbook to help fund her adoptions AND raise money for the Sisters of Life. Her recipes are delicious, and the reflections included in the cookbook are fantastic. You can donate and download her cookbook here.

4. The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throw-Away Culture – Haley Stewart

The Grace of Enough Haley Stewart

The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart is one of those books that makes you want to go out and follow every last piece of advice in it. She was the first Catholic blogger and podcaster I started following regularly.

The book documents the Stewart family’s journey from living the “American Dream” in the suburbs to moving to a self-sustaining farming community in pursuit of simplicity. Drawing heavily from Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You),” Haley explores what it means to live Gospel values in a world that tells you that the only way to be happy is to constantly want more. More stuff, more power, more money. Greed is the name of the game, and Haley ain’t playin’ it.

This was another book that I devoured in record time, and I responded to Haley’s call to love our neighbors by leaving cookies on our neighbor’s doorsteps. That’s how powerful her words are. She gives you tangible suggestions to live out the message she’s preaching and even includes a whole section of discussion questions to help you dive deeper into her message of community and contentment. The book also has a hefty dose of bookish references that make my nerdy little heart leap with joy.

Haley and Christy are hosting a literary tour of England in June of 2022, and it’s become my life’s mission to raise enough money to join them! You can find out more about the trip here.

5. Girl, Arise!: A Catholic Feminist’s Invitation to Live Boldly, Love Your Faith, and Change the World – Claire Swinarski

Girl Arise Catholic Feminist

Claire Swinarski is the creator of now off-air The Catholic Feminist Podcast, and she’s one of my favorite Catholic women to follow on social media. She’s passionate, knowledgable, and always seeking to deepen her understanding of whatever topics she chooses to speak on.

Girl, Arise is one of those books that I wish I had when converting to Catholicism. Claire is as sassy as she is theological, and she holds absolutely ZERO punches when it comes to her faith. She has a heart for social justice and challenges her readers to dig deep into what it means to be Christ’s hands and feet on earth. She clearly loves the Church and wants Her members to be the best they can be and truly practice what we preach.

If I could pick one book to give to a loved one who wants to understand what the Church teaches about abortion, birth control, immigration, etc., it would be Girl, Arise. Claire beautiful defines what it means to be a Catholic Feminist and how we can boldly live our Faith while also tackling some of the biggest issues of our time.

Claire writes monthly emails called “Letters to a Catholic Feminist,” and paying subscribers also receive monthly installments of her excellent book “Follow: Logging Out and Leaning In.” She’s also leading a pilgrimage to France this October!

Thank you for being bookish with me!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little list of what I feel are some of the best books about Catholicism! If you’ve read any of these titles or if I’ve inspired you to check these authors out, leave a comment, shoot me an email, or let me know on social media!

I wrote a post about my favorite Tolkien and Tolkien-inspired books if you’re looking for more book recommendations.

Happy Reading, lovelies!

To Him through Her,

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