Here is the series of catecheses from Pope Benedict XVI on the Lives of the Saints – from the Early Church Fathers up through the modern day Doctors of the Church. This series follows his Catechesis on the Apostles. Both his Catechesis for the Year of St. Paul and his Catechesis for the Year for Priests served as breaks within this series. This series began on March 7, 2007, and concluded on April 13, 2011. It includes 108 general audiences.
This catechesis is available in book form in several volumes. The first volume on the Early Church Fathers is available from Our Sunday Visitor (also available in an Illustrated Edition) and Ignatius Press. Our Sunday Visitor has also published a corresponding Study Guide which is available for purchase and as a free downloadable .pdf file. Both books consist of Audiences #1-36 and end with Pope Benedict’s catechesis on St. Augustine. ( The Illustrated Edition covers Audiences #1-31.)
Ignatius Press has published the second volume Church Fathers and Teachers: From Leo the Great to Peter Lombard. This title covers Audiences #37-71. OSV has also published the second volume The Fathers, Volume II (also available in an Illustrated Edition). This title covers Audiences # 37-62 (though the Illustrated Edition only covers Audiences #32-46).
OSV has come out with the third volume: Great Teachers. This title covers Audiences # 63-83. The third volume from Ignatius Press (Holy Men and Women from the Middle Ages and Beyond) likely finishes off the series with Audiences # 72-108 (I cannot confirm that yet as it is only recently released and I have yet to obtain it).
OSV finishes their publication of these audiences with Holy Women and Doctors of the Church. Holy Women picks up where Great Teachers left off, but also includes the women saints from the Doctors of the Church. Thus, it includes Audiences #84-100 & 107. Doctors of the Church includes the remaining six Audiences not included in the previous four volumes, but it also contains the previous audiences on the Doctors of the Church that were part of other sections of the catecheses. It includes Audiences #11-16, 19-22, 24, 26-27, 29, 32-37, 42-43, 45, 48, 52, 58, 60, 62, 75-82, 94, & 100-107. Neither book contains the concluding Audience #108.
Many of these audiences are also available in Ignatius Press’ Holiness is Always in Season. This book cleverly arranges many of these catecheses (in addition to some of the pope’s Sunday Angelus addresses on the saints) by the liturgical year. It is a wonderful way to work through these audiences. It contains nearly 100 reflections in all.
In the final audience, Pope Benedict referred to it as the conclusion to “this series of catecheses on the lives of the saints”. Therefore, I have changed the title from the long-standing “The Fathers” to “The Lives of the Saints”, which better reflects the scope of the series as a whole.
- Audiences (an organized table of all 108 Audiences with links to those Audiences on the Vatican website)
- Related Church Documents