Books We Love

We are often asked to recommend books that will assist with an introduction to and understanding of the Catholic classical liberal arts educational tradition. These are the works that have guided and inspired us and many others.

The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB

A summary and synthesis of modern Church documents on education. This would be the ideal place to start. Ask faculty to read it, then to discuss it chapter by chapter in faculty meetings or a retreat. As you educate parents, it would be good recommended, and simple, reading for them.

Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision for a Secular Age

Edited by Dr. R. Jared Staudt

Catholic education remains one of the most compelling expressions of the Church’s mission to form disciples. Despite decades of decline in the number of schools and students, many Catholic schools have been experiencing renewal by returning to the great legacy of the Catholic tradition. Renewing Catholic Schools offers an overview of the reasons behind this renewal and practical suggestions for administrators, clergy, teachers, and parents on how to begin the process of reinvigoration.

The Heart of Culture

Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership

The Heart of Culture is a succinctly substantive history of Western education and a profound witness to the necessity of maintaining tradition. The West is the product, not of geographic, ethnic, or political forces, but of a dynamic educational tradition. When that tradition breaks down, the culture suffers a crisis of identity. Today, the West is undergoing just such a crisis, as the perennial wisdom of its tradition is ignored, misrepresented, or outright rejected. This short book confronts that crisis, bringing to light the living, intricate educational tradition that built the West, from the Greek ideal of paideia to John Henry Newman’s idea of a university.

From Christendom to Apostolic Mission: Pastoral Strategies for an Apostolic Age

University of Mary

Every human society possesses a moral and spiritual imaginative vision, a set of assumptions and ways of looking at things according to which life proceeds. This essay is an attempt to contribute effective strategies to engage our own time and culture once more with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and – for a weary world – to awaken the Catholic imaginative vision.

The Religion of the Day

University of Mary

This sequel to From Christendom to Apostolic Mission presents an equally important, foundational understanding of the times in which we live. Dogmatic, secular gospels are displacing Christianity as the narrative that underlies modern society. The insights offered in this slim volume are essential reading—especially for those called to the vocation of education, so they may be alert to the errors embedded in many secular educational materials and approaches.

Educating for Eternity

Brett Salkeld, Ph.D.

In Educating for Eternity: A Teacher’s Companion for Making Every Class Catholic, Brett Salkeld, Ph.D., explains the role of Catholic anthropology in education and accompanies Catholic teachers in integrating the Faith into all aspects of the curriculum. From math and science to health and social studies, every subject can and should be taught from a Catholic worldview. And in doing so the true purpose of Catholic education is fulfilled.

The Case for Catholic Education

Ryan S. Topping

He does not speak extensively about “classical liberal arts education” but he is describing in easily accessible terms why Catholic education must be different. This is good for both teachers and parents.

Recovering a Catholic Philosophy of Elementary Education

Curtis L. Hancock.

This is a bit deeper, but wonderful and inspirational, reinforcing and expanding on the above.

The Seven Laws of Teaching

John Milton Gregory

Important for pedagogy.

Beauty in the Word:
Rethinking the Foundations of Education

Stratford Caldecott

This and its companion (next on list) are two of our favorite books on Catholic education. Very inspiring and theological.  This focuses on the Trivium, the arts of language and their significance; the next illuminates the Quadrivium, the arts of number, in the same beautiful way. Definitely a deeper dive, but when your teachers and parents are ready for it, very worthwhile and formative.

Beauty for Truth’s Sake:
On the Re-enchantment of Education

Stratford Caldecott

Demonstrates the beauty and order of the universe created by God. Especially gives math and science teachers a better lens.

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Classical Christian Education

Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark

Not specifically Catholic (and therefore missing the Eucharistic aim of the effort) but very helpful in explaining each of the seven liberal arts, but also the sequence and context of their use.  We are not just minds. We also need to nurture piety, story and music, physical grace. All of these combine to lead us to the truth of man and God (philosophy and theology) — which lead us to a life of virtue.

The Educational Plan of St. Jerome Academy

St. Jerome Academy

Firmly grounded in a holistic Catholic vision of education, St. Jerome Academy’s Educational Plan offers the most complete curricular guidance for Catholic elementary schools available. This second edition is enriched by the experience of SJA’s first decade of renewal.