The Holiness of Ordinary People



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Product Details

Product Code:
0.5 (in)
Size (HxW):
7.25 x 4.88 (in)
Publication date:
March 07, 2024
6.48 oz
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"There are some people whom God takes and sets apart," observes Venerable Madeleine Delbrêl (1904–1964), but "there are others whom he leaves in the masses and whom he does not withdraw from the world. These are people who do ordinary jobs, who have an ordinary household or an ordinary single life. . . . 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."

French poet, social worker, and lay missionary Madeleine Delbrêl knew that Christ's unspeakable goodness touches the smallest, most forgotten corners of our everyday world—the laundry, the checkout counter, the commute. His word shines before us "while we walk in the street, while we do our work, while we peel our vegetables, while we wait for a phone call, while we sweep our floors. We see it glow between two of our neighbor's sentences and between two letters to write, when we wake up and when we go to sleep." Yet prayer alone gives us the eyes to see it.

This book gathers together essays and notes written by Delbrêl during her most active years, giving peerless insights into the distinctive lay vocation in the Church. All men and women—married and unmarried—must follow the Holy Spirit into all that is true in this world, from the small talk around the coffeepot to the great silence of the Holy Eucharist.

"The holy Church expects saints," she tells us, "and saints are those who love."

Editorial Reviews

"This is an important book for our time. For in these pages we discover that holiness is not reserved to people who are specially gifted or in particular circumstances, but for all who desire to be a light and leaven in the world. This book shows us what it looks like when ordinary people are filled with the extraordinary love of God."
— Fr. Sebastian White, O.P., Editor in Chief, Magnificat

"What a gift to meet Madeleine Delbrêl and be inspired by her message, as relevant now as it was last century. We can all benefit from her reminder that our faith asks us to grow in holiness through the circumstances of our particular lives, not despite them, and that even our seemingly unimportant tasks and challenges are infinitely important to God."
— Kendra Tierney, Author, The Catholic All Year Compendium

"The passion and the conviction of Delbrêl's faith are contagious. And her expression of the Faith is compelling, even provocative. It is a great blessing to have such a fine translation of her writings offered in one volume."
— Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P., Editor, Aleteia (English edition)

"Venerable Madeleine Delbrêl is an immense treasure for the Church today. She demonstrates how to proclaim the Gospel in a desacralized world, within ordinary circumstances: taking up the broom or the pen, answering the door, sewing or caring for a sick person—Jesus in us continues to be sent."
— Sr. Margaret Kerry, F.S.P., Daughters of Saint Paul

"God raises up saints for every generation. Writing of the power and demands of the Gospel and the closeness to God that is attainable in everyday life, Madeleine Delbrêl's lived expression of a Catholic spiritual life for the lay person is just what we need today. For those who are striving to truly live the Christian life, this book contains so much that will deeply inspire."
— Dr. James Pauley, Professor of Theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville


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