"Everything is so beautiful when we look at it with a little love," wrote the French social worker and poet Madeleine Delbrêl (1904–1964), whom the Vatican named Venerable in 2018.
Through the convulsions of the twentieth century, she made her home in one of the most brutal towns of Europe—the Communist-run Parisian suburb of Ivry. But to her shock, she saw the dazzling light of God everywhere she looked.
Gathered in this book are buds of wisdom from across the writings of Madeleine Delbrêl, who believed that Christian joy is possible—indeed necessary—in the bleakest settings. God can never abandon the world he loves. "We, the ordinary people of the streets, believe with all our might that this street, that this world where God has placed us, is, for us, the site of our holiness."
Delbrêl's luminous reflections on Christ, man, and everyday life tap into the depths of divine mystery yet shine with the simplicity of a child. If we read them carefully, we might finally become the saints we're called to be.
"In Delbrêl’s writing, one encounters a radical and refreshing Christian evangelism—the beautiful scandal of charity without compromise. All who strive to imitate Christ in today's atheistic culture will find here a wonderfully rich source of inspiration."
— Margaret Turek, S.T.D., Author of Atonement: Soundings in Biblical, Trinitarian, and Spiritual Theology
"This book is a real treasure trove. Madeleine Delbrêl shows us how to pray right at the heart of the contemporary age, with all its pressures and distractions."
— David C. Schindler, Editor, Communio: International Catholic Review; Professor, John Paul II Institute
"These short texts reveal the clarity and depth of Madeleine Delbrêl's thought. Her primary goal is to encourage and admonish Christians to embrace the vocation of witnessing to Christ in a world that is often indifferent or hostile to the truth of the gospels."
— Terrence Wright, Author, Dorothy Day: An Introduction to Her Life and Thought
"I could not put the text down. A most welcome antidote to much of the inauthenticity that surrounds us in our culture and in the Church. Every essay is like a smack in the face for the spiritually somnambulant and a bracing drink for those in a spiritual desert."
— Larry Chapp, Author, Confession of a Catholic Worker
"Madeleine Delbrêl is just the person to show us the narrow way. It's hard to imagine a collection of essays, poems, and provocations more suited to our time and its peculiar confusions than these."
— Rodney Howsare, Chair and Professor of Philosophy and Theology, DeSales University