Religious Orders and Religious Life

This is an index of legally free online ebooks on religious orders and religious life.  To keep the list from becoming unwieldy, this does not include works that, though written by members of religious orders, do not concern religious orders and spirituality.


I. Religious Orders and Traditions

  1. The Capuchin Constitutions of 1536: A New Translation in English, translation by Paul Hanbridge (Rome: Collegio San Lorenzo da Brindisi, 2007, Revised 2009). Available in PDF format at this page of Capuchin Beginnings.
  2. The Capuchin Reform: A Franciscan Renaissance—A portrait of Sixteenth Century Capuchin life, second edition, by Melchiorre da Pobladura, OFM Cap, with an Introduction by Giuseppe De Luca, translated by Paul Hanbridge OFM Cap from Melchiorre da Pobladura’s La bella e santa riforma and edited by Dr. G. Lomas (Rome, 2007). Available in PDF format through this page of Capuchin Beginnings.
  3. The Capuchins: a contribution to the history of the Counter-Reformation, by Father Cuthbert, O.S.F.C. (London : Sheed and Ward, 1928) Available at Open Library and Internet Archive  (Digitizing sponsor: Internet Archive, Book contributor: Internet Archive). From microfilm.
  4. The Civilizers of the Philippines. Subtitled on the first contents page as “Statements concerning the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippine Islands”. Available in various formats as Internet Archive and Open Library. [N.B., This is a history of the religious orders in Spanish Philippines, and an explanation of their role in its evangelization, education, and socio-economic life.]
  5. “The Economics of Monasticism” (working paper), by Nathan Smith, Department of Economics, George Mason University (September 6, 2009). Available in PDF format at this page of the Association of Religion Data Archives. Its abstract on this page notes: “…Monasteries, in principle and largely in practice, are a form of society based on consent of the governed, unlike liberal states which preach but do not practice consensual governance…” [N.B., The paper applies secular economic analysis to monasticism and demonstrates why it has contributed so much to civilization. I’m still trying to determine Mr. Smith’s religion, but his paper seems orthodox.]
  6. Education within the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition, from the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities. Available in PDF format on this page of the website of the Benedictine Sisters-Mount Saint Scholastica (Atchison, Kansas). A revision of the Report of the Committee on Benedictine Intellectual Tradition (June 2005) commissioned by the Association of Benedictine Colleges and Universities.
  7. Hermitage in the Capuchin Tradition: A Proposal for a Capuchin Contemplative Community (1996). Available in PDF format through this page of Capuchin Beginnings. [The proposal is originally titled, A Capuchin Hermitage in the Province of Australia]
  8. A History of the Protestant “reformation” in England and Ireland, showing how that event has impoverished and degraded the main body of the people in those countries. In a series of letters addressed to all sensible and just Englishmen, by William Cobbett (London: C. Clement, 1824) Available at ManyBooks.net in multiple formats. Also available at Open Library and Internet Archive. History, Protestantism, Monasticism. [N.B.: Cobbett was not a Catholic, but amidst the fight for Catholic Emancipation against the oppression of Protestant England, he published this work to break English historical prejudice.]
  9. The Ideal of the Monastic Life Found in the Apostolic Age, by Germain Morin, translated by C. Gunning, with a preface by Dom Bede Camm (London: R. & T. Washbourne, 1914). With Imprimatur. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Regis College Library, University of Toronto).
  10. The Jesuit Missions: A Chronicle of the Cross in the Wilderness, by Thomas Guthrie Marquis (Toronto, 1916). Volume 4 of 32 of Chronicles of Canada, edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton. Available in various formats at ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg. Audiobook available at Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.org.
  11. The Jesuit Missions: A Chronicle of the Cross in the Wilderness, by Thomas Guthrie Marquis (Toronto, 1916). Volume 4 of 32 of Chronicles of Canada, edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton. Available in various formats at ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg. Audiobook available at Project Gutenberg and LibriVox.org.
  12. The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church: A Historical and Geographical Study of the Fifth to Seventh Centuries, by Abbot Paul Naaman, translated by the Department of Interpretation and Translation (DIT), Holy Spirit University, Kaslik, Lebanon (Trappist, Kentucky: Cistercian Publications; Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2009). Available in PDF format on this page of the Liturgical Press.
  13. The New Conspiracy Against the Jesuits Detected and Briefly Exposed, with a Short Account of their Institute; and Observations on the Danger of Systems of Education Independent of Religion, by R. C. Dallas (London, 1815). Available at ManyBooks.net and Project Gutenberg.
  14. Our Lady’s Garment, The Brown Scapular: A Sign of Salvation and Protection. With 2010 Imprimatur. Available in PDF format at The Fatima Network. [N.B., The website, though containing much that is valuable, has an extremely negative view of Vatican II which warrants correction with the hermeneutic of continuity. Please exercise due caution in reading other materials on the website. On the other hand, this particular work is stated to have an Imprimatur from a bishop in full communion with the Pope; and it favourably quotes Popes Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II.]
  15. The Rule of St. Benedict – Latin and English Edition May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index.
  16. Rule of St. Benedict: a commentary by the Right Rev. Dom Paul Delatte, Abbot of Solesmes and Superior-General of the Congregation of the Benedictines in France, translated by Dom Justin McCann, monk of Ampleforth (London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1921). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  17. La Trappe: Origine, Esprit, Organisation Actuelle de la Réforme de l’Abbé de Rancé, par un Trappiste de Sept-Fons (Paris: Libraire Ambroise Bray, 1870). Avec l’Approbation de l’Eveque de Moulins. Disponible en Internet Archive.
  18. The Work of the Benedictines of Solesmes in the Plainsong Revival, by Henry Bremridge Briggs (London: Harrison and Sons, 1899). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.  (N.B., The book has no Imprimatur, but the work has no apparent heterodoxy and the topic relates to the Church, specifically the musical research of the Benedictines of Solesmes. The author is possibly a High Church Anglican.)
  19. The Workers are Few; Reflections upon Vocation to the Foreign Missions, by Rev. Paolo Manna, translated by Rev. Joseph F. McGlinchey (Boston, Mass.: Society for the Propagation of the Faith, 1911). With the apostolic benediction of Pope St. Pius X for the original Italian text, and Imprimatur for the translation. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.


II. Religious Life and Spirituality

  1. The Call of the Desert, by Archbishop Francis M. Zayek (June 1977). Available in PDF format at the in PDF format on this page of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn. [N.B., This 13-page booklet, written to mark the canonization of Saint Charbel Makhloof, provides an introduction to the eremetical life, especially in the Maronite Catholic Church.]
  2. Carmelite Mysticism: Historical Sketches, by Blessed Titus Brandsma, O.Carm (Darien, Illinois: The Carmelite Press, 1986). Available in PDF format on this page of the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, and may be read online at the EWTN Library.
  3. Communio: International Catholic Review, vol. 31, no. 1, Consecration and the States of Life (Fall 2004). The following articles may be downloaded in PDF format through this page of Communio: ”The Evangelical Counsels and the Total Gift of Self” by Jacques Servais, ”Consecration and Human Action: The Moral Life as Response” by David S. Crawford, ”Evangelical Counsels in Marriage?” by Jörg Splett, ”Theological Perspectives on Marriage” by Marc Ouellet.
  4. Contemplations and Meditations on the Passion and Death, and on the Glorious Life of our Lord Jesus Christ, According to the Method of St. Ignatius, 5th edition, translated from the French by a Sister of Mercy, revised by the Rev. William H. Eyre, S.J. (London: Burns & Oates; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Bros, 1901). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  5. Concerning Virginity, by St. Ambrose of Milan. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index,
  6. The Directorium Asceticum; or, Guide to the Spiritual Life, Volume 1, 5th edition, by Giovanni Battista Scaramelli, translated and edited at St. Beuno’s College, North Wales, with a Preface by Cardinal Manning (London: R. & T. Washbourne; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1902). Available at Internet Archive.
  7. The Directorium Asceticum; or, Guide to the Spiritual Life, Volume 2, 5th edition, by Giovanni Battista Scaramelli, translated and edited at St. Beuno’s College, North Wales, with a Preface by Cardinal Manning (London: R. & T. Washbourne; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1902). Available in various formats at Internet Archive. The 7th edition (London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow: R. & T. Washbourne, 1917) is available at Internet Archive and Open Library [labeled as Volume 1 on the OL index page].
  8. The Directorium Asceticum; or, Guide to the Spiritual Life, Volume 3, 5th edition, by Giovanni Battista Scaramelli, translated and edited at St. Beuno’s College, North Wales, with a Preface by Cardinal Manning (London: R. & T. Washbourne; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1902). Available in various formats at Internet Archive.
  9. The Directorium Asceticum; or, Guide to the Spiritual Life, Volume 4, 5th edition, by Giovanni Battista Scaramelli, translated and edited at St. Beuno’s College, North Wales, with a Preface by Cardinal Manning (London: R. & T. Washbourne; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1902). Available in various formats at Internet Archive.
  10. The Divine Office: Considered from a Devotional Point of View, by Abbé Nicolas Bacuez, ed. by Ethelred Luke Taunton (London : Burns and Oates; New York : Catholic Publication Society, 1885?). With a foreword by Cardinal Manning. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Trinity College, University of Toronto).
  11. A Manual of Ascetical Theology: or, The Supernatural Life of the Soul on Earth and in Heaven, by Arthur Devine (London; New York: R. & T. Washbourne, 1902). With Imprimatur. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  12. Manual of Christian Perfection, by P.J. Stockman, adapted from the celebrated Method of Spiritual Direction by the Rev. J.B. Scaramelli, S.J. With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  13. The Religious State: a Digest of the Doctrine of Suarez, Contained in his Treatise “De Statu Religionis”, by William Humphrey; based on the work by Francisco Suarez, 1548-1617; (London: Burns and Oates, 1884). Volume I available on Open Library and Internet Archive. Volume II available on Open Library and Internet Archive. Volume III available on Open Library and Internet Archive.
  14. The Religious State: Together with a Short Treatise on the Vocation to the Priesthood, 2nd edition, translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus De Liguori, edited by Rev. Eugene Grimm, C.Ss.R. (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1889). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Forgotten Books; and may be read online (on this page) at Hathi Trust.
  15. Searching for God: Contemplative Prayer in the Dominican Tradition, by Paul Murray, O.P. 17 pages. Available in PDF format on this page of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. [N.B., Readers are cautioned that, on page 8 of the text, a non-Catholic leader is praised as an exemplar of contemplative spirituality.].
  16. Spiritual Theology, by Jordan Aumann, O.P. (Manila: University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Theology, 1989). With Imprimatur. May be read online at the website of the Dominical Central Province and may be downloaded in ZIP through this index. Available in PDF, Full Text, Rich Text, and DJVU formats at Internet Archive. [N.B. This book provides a systematic treatise on the Christian life.].
  17. States of the Christian Life and Vocation, according to the Doctors and Theologians of the Church, by Rev. Jean-Baptiste Berthier, with a Preface by Rev. Joseph Shea, S.J. (New York: P. O’Shea, 1879). With the approbation of the Master of the Sacred Palace and H.E. Cardinal McCloskey. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library; and may be read online (here and here) at Forgotten Books; and may be read online at WikiSource.
  18. Vocations Explained: Matrimony, Virginity, the Religious State, and the Priesthood, by a Vincentian Father. (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benzinger Brothers, 1897). Published with the permission of the Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission. With Imprimatur. May be read online, and available in PDF format and in RTF format at the Saints’ Books. [N.B., The front page states that ‘”Vocations Explained” is a compendium of “Questions on Vocations,” a catechism approved by His Eminence Cardinal Gibbons; His Eminence Cardinal Satolli; by five Archbishops and twenty-two Bishops; also by numerous priests and religious Brothers and Sisters.’]
  19. Vocation to the Religious State, taken from the writings of St. Alphonsus de Liguori by the Rev. Cornelius J. Warren, C.Ss.R. (Boston, Mass.: Mission Church Press, 1926). With Imprimatur. May be read online, and may be downloaded in PDF format and RTF format, through the Saints’ Books index. Available in multiple formats at Internet Archive.
  20. Les Voies Ordinaires de la Vie Spirituelle: traité de théologie ascétique d’après les principes de Se Thérèse, proclamés par le Congrès Carmélitain de Madrid (Mars 1923) à l’usage des séminaires, du clergé et des gens du monde, by Mgr. Albert Farges (Paris: Lethielleux; Librairie Saint-Paul, 1925). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  21. The Way of Perfection, 2nd ed., translated from the autograph of Saint Teresa of Jesus by the Benedictines of Stanbrook including all the variants from the Escorial and Valladolid editions; revised with notes and an introduction by F. Benedict Zimmerman; with additional notes by the translator. (London: Baker, 1919). Available at Open Library with a 2nd copy here and a 3rd copy here.


III. Founders and Members of Religious Orders and Traditions

  1. Holy Women Mystics in Church History, by Pope Benedict XVI (General Audiences). May be read online through Discerning Hearts. This provides a partial collection of the teaching addresses of Pope Benedict on the lives and works of Catholic women mystics up to St. Theresa of Avila.
  2. Life and Doctrine of St. Catherine of Genoa. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index,
  3. Life of Blessed Margaret Mary Alacoque of the Sacred Heart, by Albert Barry (London: Burns & Oates; New York: Catholic Publications Society; Dublin: Gill, 1889). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  4. The Life of Saint Anthony, by St. Athanasius, newly translated and annotated by Robert T. Mayer (Westminster, Maryland: Newman Press, 1950). Ancient Christian Writers: Works of the Fathers in Translation (edited by Johannes Quasten and Joseph C. Plumpe), No. 10. With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive.
  5. The Life of St. Cajetan, Count of Tiene, Founder of the Theatines, translated from the Italian by Lady Herbert, with a preface by the Bishop of Salford (London: Thomas Richardson and Son, 1888). Available at Open Library and Internet Archive. [Internet Archive shows the original author to be Maria Giuseppe Zinelli, and the full name of the translator to be Baroness Mary Elisabeth À Court Herbert Herbert. A commenter on Internet Archive, Antonio Manno, stated: “This is an english translation from D. GIUSEPPE, M. ZINELLI, Memorie istoriche della vita di S. Gaetano Thiene, Venezia, presso Simone Occhi, 1753, a rare book of which only one copy exists in the italian public libraries.”]
  6. The Life of Saint Columba, Apostle of Scotland, Second Edition, by Frances Alice Forbes (London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Glasgow: R. & T. Washbourne, Ltd., 1919). With Imprimatur. Part of the series Standard-bearers of the Faith: A Series of Lives of the Saints for Young and Old. Available at Project Gutenberg, and in epub, fulltext and kindle formats at Internet Archive.\ ·  The Life of Saint Teresa of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, edited and with a preface by Henry Edward Manning (Dublin: James Duffy, 1867). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  7. Life of St. Francis of Assisi, by St. Bonaventure. May be downloaded in PDF format through the Saints’ Books index,
  8. The Life of St. Francis Xavier, apostle of the Indies and Japan, by D. Bartoli and J.P Mafei, with a Preface by the Very Rev. Dr. [Frederick William] Faber (London: Thomas Jones, 1858). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  9. The Life of St. Thomas of Villanova, Archbishop of Valentia and Augustinian Monk, with an Introductory Sketch of the Men, the Manner, and the Morals of the Sixteenth Century, first American edition, by Claude Maimbou (Philadelphia: Peter F. Cunningham & Son, 1874). With the permission of superiors. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  10. Life of St. Vincent de Paul, by Frances Alice Forbes (London: R. & T. Washbourne, Limited, 1919). With Imprimatur. Part of the series Standard-bearers of the Faith: A Series of Lives of the Saints for Young and Old. Available in many formats at Manybooks, in fewer formats at Project Gutenberg, and in epub, fulltext and kindle formats at Internet Archive.
  11. Maria Teresa Kowalska of the Child Jesus (1902-1941) [Booklet]. Translation based on the article by Leonhard Lehmann in Sulle orme delle santi, 2000, p. 113-118. Available in PDF format at this page of Capuchin Beginnings.
  12. Saint Benedict, by Frances Alice Forbes (New York, P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1921). With Imprimatur. Part of the series Standard-bearers of the Faith: A Series of Lives of the Saints for Young and Old.  (1921). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  13. Saint Camillus de Lellis: Founder of the Clerics Regular, Ministers of the Sick [Booklet]. With Imprimatur. Available in PDF format on this page of Catholic Pamphlets.net.The Saints of the Canon of the Mass, by Rev. Nicholas Gihr. From The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, 1918; Reprinted from The Catholic Voice. Available in PDF format on this page of Sancta Missa.
  14. St. Camillus of Lellis, by Father Sanzio Ciccatelli, translated by F.W. Faber and M. Mueller (Milwaukee, Wis.: Servants of the Sick, 1926). With Imprimatur. Available in PDF, Full Text, and DJVU formats at Internet Archive. [This is a biography of the Saint by a witness to his life, first written in 1615.]
  15. Saint Dominic, by Jean Guiraud, translated by Katharine De Mattos (London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow: R & T Washbourne; London, Cincinnati, Chicago, 1913). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library, with a second copy at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  16. Saint Dominique, par Jean Guiraud (Paris: Libraire Victor Lecoffre, 1899). Disponible à Internet Archive et Open Library. [Publié dans le respect de la fête de saint Dominique dans la forme extraordinaire du rite romain.]
  17. Saint Francis of Assisi, by Léopold, de Chérancé, 1838-1926; translated by R.F. O’Connor. (London : Burns and Oates ; New York : Catholic Publication Society). Available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly – University of Toronto).
  18. Saint Ignatius Loyola, by Francis Thompson, 1859-1907, John Hungerford Pollen, 1858-1925 (London: Burns & Oates; New York, Chicago [etc.] Benziger Bros., 1910). Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Cornell University Library).
  19. Saint John Capistran, by Vincent Fitzgerald, O.F.M. (New York, London, Bombay, Calcutta: Longmans, Green and Co, 1911). With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  20. Saint Lorenzo da Brindisi (1559-1619) [Booklet]. Translation based on an article by Costanzo Cargnoni in Sulle orme dei santi, 2000, p.153-160. Available in PDF format at this page of Capuchin Beginnings.
  21. Saint Veronica Giuliani (1660-1727) [Booklet]. Translation based on an article by Mariano D’Alatri in Sulle orme dei Santi, 2000, p.145-152. Available in PDF format at this page of Capuchin Beginnings.
  22. Santa Teresa de Jesús y la Orden de Predicadores, Estudios Historicos, por Felipe Martin, O.P. (Avila: Sucesores de A. Jiménez, 1909). Con Imprimatur. Disponible en Internet Archive y Open Library.
  23. Ss. Augustine Zhao Rong & Companions: Martyrs of China (Booklet), compiled and edited by George G. Christian, O.P. (August 2005). Available in PDF format at the Dominican Province of St. Joseph.
  24. St. Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers (A.D. 1221). A 6-page excerpt from Fr. Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints. Available at the University of Arizona.
  25. St. Francis, by G.K. Chesterton. Biography, Saints. Available at ManyBooks.net and at G.K. Chesterton’s Works on the Web.
  26. St. Thomas Aquinas, by Jacques Maritain. May be read online at the online on this page of the Jacques Maritain Center (“Copyright by the Jacques Maritain Center, University of Notre Dame. All rights reserved”).
  27. Vie de Saint Dominique, par le Reverend Père Frere Henri-Dominique Lacordaire (Paris: Debécourt 1841). Disponible à Internet Archive et Open Library, avec un second (moins clair) copie à Internet Archive et Open Library.
  28. Vie de Saint Dominique: Précédée du Mémoire pour le Rétablissement en France de l’ordre des Frères Prêcheurs; et Suivie de la Lettre sur le Saint-Siège, par le Reverend Père Frere Henri-Dominique Lacordaire (Paris: Sagnier et Bray, 1844). Disponible à Internet Archive et Open Library.
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2 thoughts on “Religious Orders and Religious Life”

  1. https://catholicebooks.wordpress.com/subject/religious-orders-and-religious-life/

    On this page you have a broken link:

    Searching for God: Contemplative Prayer in the Dominican Tradition, by Paul Murray, O.P. 17 pages. Available in PDF format on this page of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. [N.B., Readers are cautioned that, on page 8 of the text, a non-Catholic leader is praised as an exemplar of contemplative spirituality.].

    I found a working alternative:

    http://movil.dominicos.org/kit_upload/file/blogs/iniciativas/contemplation_in_the_dominican_tradition.pdf

    Thank you for hosting this site, it is a real treasure.

    Love from The Netherlands,

    Judith

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