I am a Catholic wife and mother who is a self-obsessed sinner in desperate need of redemption. As a passionate convert to the Faith, I love to delve into the beauty and truth found in Catholic spiritual traditions. Years ago, I began to notice a stark contrast between what I was reading and what I was witnessing all around me. In a world in which virtually every convenience can be found at the tips of our fingers, how could joy be scarcer than ever? To understand this paradox, I immersed myself in these words of Christ: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24). My study led me to a new appreciation for the art of sacrifice – the narrow path trodden by saint after saint toward holiness, happiness, and eternal reward. My latest book, The Lost Art of Sacrifice (Sophia Institute Press 2021), is my attempt to share what I’ve learned, not from the perspective of a theologian, but from that of a wife and a mother, struggling daily with a temptation toward self-gratification.
I have blogged about sacrifice and spiritual reading for the past 10 years. I am also the author of How to Read Your Way to Heaven: A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between (Sophia Institute Press 2017). My commentary has been featured and shared on National Catholic Register, Catholic Exchange and Big Pulpit, and I have contributed to study and leaders’ guides for The Augustine Institute, which “serves the formation of Catholics for the New Evangelization.” Additionally, I have been a guest on EWTN Live, EWTN Bookmark, The Busted Halo Show, The Son Rise Morning Show, EWTN Morning Glory and On Call with Wendy Wiese, among others.
22 thoughts on “About”
I fell in love with How to Read Your Way to Heaven! My “problem” is I love Rome Sweet Home so much I can’t just read it on dribs ad drabs. So, I’ll do the Bible and CCC at the same time, but I cannot wait to dig into all of the other books and devour them. Will that mess up the schedule or themes? As a former teacher, I’m a firm believer in sticking with the syllabus. As a returning Catholic, I want to read everything I can get my hands on as fast as possible.
Thanks so much for your message! I’m thrilled that you like the book and are working through the reading program!!! No worries on pace or order or if you’ve already read a book and need to substitute! I have many times changed up the order of books or the pace at which I read them. Also, I’ve often substituted for books I’ve already read. That’s totally FINE!!! That’s the beauty of this – it is YOUR program! The boxes allow you to mark off what you’ve read when you’ve read it. If you read through Rome Sweet Home in two days and move onto the next book, terrific!!! Just mark off those boxes and keep moving along. One tip — I went through the first time and made a diagonal slash in each box. The second time I make a slash the other way so that I have an X, and so on until I have a star and then color the box. I figure I can go through this program at least five times before getting a new book:). I have substituted many books going through the second time – some I’ve read twice. But I just divide the number of pages for the new book and lay it out in the margin so I can continue the reading program without a hitch. Of course, you can’t read Sacred Scripture or the Catechism enough, so I never change that portion (although I have been known to read slower or faster depending on my schedule). Best of luck to you as you continue and many Blessings to you as you dive back into this beautiful and amazing Faith!!! Welcome Home!!❤️
I found your book on kindle over 2 years ago. Only now realising that it was at the time recently published. I am about to finish year 2. Wow. Cannot believe that I have got so far. I take time every so often, due to other books I want to read or needing time out, but I continue my scripture reading regardless, so I’ve covered a few bible books more than once.
At times I had to alter which books I used, because the one suggested was not available. Although often when not available digitally, it was physically, so I am building a library. Loved most books, changed one by Hilaire Belloc on Reformation to The Roots of the Reformation by Karl Adams, and loved it.
I read you love Peter Kreeft, I do too, cannot have enough of his wisdom, sense of humour and great teaching.
Even when I think, oh I am not sure about this book, I usually end up such a fan. Currently, am really enjoying HW Crockers book Triumph: The power and Glory of the Catholic Church. He is powerful and never ever minces words.
As I approach year 3, I have a problem. The first book, This Tremendous Lover by Eugene Boylan. The only copies i can find are in the hundreds of dollars a book and there is only 2. I really need an alternative. It has such high praises so I know why you chose it. And I am not sure how to find an equivalent. Can you help?
I have the same problem with Covented Happiness by Cormac Burke. At least that is later in the year. With others as they were topics, not relationships, or novels, I was able to find my own substitute, esp if Peter Kreeft wrote on the topic. But with these two I am stumped. Can you assist with any suggestions for me.
Your big fan
I am so happy that you’ve enjoyed your spiritual reading program and so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your simple question!! Please forgive me — Thanksgiving weekend, new puppy, Christmas prep, etc. — no good excuse but just busy and overlooked the message. I have two suggestions for you. A book that would fit perfectly into a Year on the Sacraments is Catechism of Perseverance by Abbe Gaume. I think it was published in the 1800s. You can find it in online archives, but I purchased the book on Amazon as a reprint. Here is the link: https://www.amazon.com/Catechism-Perseverance-Historical-Liturgical-Exposition/dp/1495403777/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=catechism+of+perseverance&qid=1576043502&sr=8-1. I just read the description and it says something about an in-depth textbook. Trust me. It is not a difficult read at all — it is absolutely beautiful. Another option that is probably more of a fit for Year 4, but is so amazing that you could read it every year — The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Diary-Elisabeth-Leseur-Goodness/dp/1928832482/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1QILKVTRDDSD3&keywords=secret+diary+of+elisabeth+leseur&qid=1576043661&sprefix=secret+diary+of+elisabeth+%2Caps%2C174&sr=8-1. Wishing you Happy Reading and a fruitful spiritual life:)!!! In Christ, Vicki
Sharing the same difficulties as Leonie, indeed two books on the Year 3 List are no longer available even in Old Europe. I have checked public libraries, thrift shops and online sellings without succcess.
Looking forward to any recommendation.
Catherine from France
My apologies Vicky, I should have checked more carefully your reply to Leonie.
Good news for your french audience: the diary of Elisabeth Leseur is available in any catholic bookstore throughout the country.
Thank you, Catherine!! I’m sure others will be happy to hear that!
I wasn’t sure how to contact you directly. I’ve started working on a podcast partly inspired by your book where I’ll be covering all sorts of great Catholic literature. I was calling it “Reading Your Way to Heaven”. I hope you don’t mind as I know this is close to the title of your book. For the record, I’m not copying or using your plans that are laid out in the last part of your book as I didn’t want to fringe on copyright. On a sidetone: I would love for you to be one of the first guests to talk about your book and the importance of lifelong reading.
Sorry for the delayed response! Great podcast idea:)! Would love to hear more about it as you get it going! Can I look it up now? Thanks! In Christ, Vicki
What has happened to the book club at Spiritual Direction? Oh my goodness!
Unfortunately, Sarah and I both had to leave at the same time – end of 2017. I had lots of family obligations and was just not able to continue. As you can see, my posts are not as frequent here as I’d like them to be either:). Between family and a book I’m working on, my blogging has been slim. I thought they were starting another book club that Dan Burke was going to lead via video. Did you check that one out? I’ve considered doing one here, but time has been a significant issue. Maybe in time. I hope you’ll catch up with us here where possible. I try to put a post out at least every month right now – hoping to increase to every couple of weeks soon. We’ll see…
After reading your interview with Brandon Vogt on your new book “How to read your way to heaven”, I knew exactly that this was the kind of tools I was desperately looking for a long time in France where I live.
Starting your reading program on Pentecost 2017, I completed Year 1 last week: it changed everything…
The bible is always at hand, the catechism has become my biggest ally in discussing and sharing with catholics and non-catholics, finally the books you recommended have helped me answering many questions I was struggling with as a catholic.
Your program makes us fall deeper and deeper in love with the Catholic Church (my husband confirms that this is the best thing what can happen to us).
Can’t wait starting with Year 2, be blessed for helping people like me getting to the next level!
What a beautiful note! I am so thrilled to hear that you have are moving on to Year Two!! Our God is so good and the gift of His Mystical Body, The Church, is beyond words! You use the word “deeper” in your email – I could not think of a more perfect word to describe the effect these resources can have on our faith! They absolutely help us to delve more deeply into His truth, and ultimately to fall more deeply in love with Him. Thank you so much for your kind words. May everything you read draw you closer to Christ.
God bless you!
Here again goes your biggest French fan of your wonderful book ‘How to Read Your Way to Heaven’:
This week I’ve started Year 3, unbelievable !
I am so excited to continue this journey with your help. You have become part of the family (so says my beloved husband), and it is unthinkable going somewhere without your book in our luggage. Just to make things clear for the audience, the real star of this reading adventure is of course Our Lord Jesus Christ and his dear Church. But Vicky, you have so much talent in pointing towards Him.
Knowing the faith is no rocket science, just follow Vicky’s reading advice and timetable and you will hit target so easily! Your relationship to the Lord will go so much smoother as you will become more and more deep in knowing Him.
Thank you so much Vicky for your increadible work,
Seeing you next year,
Catherine, I am so grateful that this program has been a blessing for you!! Thank you so much for your kind words – I pray they will encourage others to continue with the program or to give it a try for the first time!!! We have such a wealth of wisdom available to us as Christians!! We only need slow down and prayerfully soak it in:)!!! I’m so glad that you have spent at least two years doing exactly that – God bless you!
Thanking you for your tremendous support, I would like to report that your book suggestion for Year 3 titled ‘A Tremendous Lover’ by F. Eugene Boylan is no longer available in Europe. Wondering if you have an alternative book recommendation for me. Thank you!
thank you! how about creating a reading list for children under 12 yrs old
Great idea – I will get right on that!:)
You are an inspiration! Thank you for your uplifting, loving, and beautiful posts that inspire others to open their hearts and minds about love in all its spiritual aspects! Karen 🙂
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Thank you for this post! This is my focus for Lent. God bless you.
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Just wanted to let you know, I just found your blog and I am looking forward to participating in the book club. I am a recent Catholic convert, homeschooling mom and your article “When your family doesn’t measure up” brought tears to my eyes. You are so right and this will always be a struggle. Once a homeschooler always a homeschooler and I needed the verification today from your blog. THANK YOU.
I love your inspiring writing. Thank you so much!