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Reading Robert Ellsberg’s profiles of holy men and women is like throwing open a window in a stuffy old church and taking in great gulps of fresh air. Henri Nouwen has described his writing as “evocative without being pious.” He broadens the traditional vision of sanctity and calls modern readers of all stripes to claim their potential for moral and spiritual growth, courage and action. By choosing relevant models and contemporary heroes, he makes holiness accessible and attractive to ordinary people.
These 101 spiritual trailblazers span the centuries from Francis and Clare to Solanus Casey and Mychal Judge, with representatives from every walk of life and corner of the world.
Each entry features the essential biographical facts and adds the insight and depth only Ellsberg can provide. The author’s sharp eye for signs and stories of holiness in the gritty, messy real world informs his selections, making his work unique. Obscure lay peasants, married activists, and controversial social reformers take pride of place alongside better-known theologians, founders, and canonized saints.