5 Books That Influenced Sister Eleanore


If you know Sister Eleanore Hillenbrand, you know she loves books. Originally an English teacher, Sister Eleanor also served as a school librarian under Sister Vivian and, in her retirement, has become the monastary's librarian.

Every month she creates a suggested reading list for her fellow sisters. Among all the books she shares, we decided to ask Sister Eleanore for the five books that had a significant impact on her life as a woman of faith.

She shared with us the top five books that have inspired her and, we hope, inspire you, too.

5 Books that Sister Eleanore Favors

1. The Bible

Sister Eleanore says that she has been inspired by different translations, but particularly appreciates the Knox Bible translation. She says it is "outstanding" and leads to the more formal texts.

2. In the Likeness of Christ, by Fr. Edward Leen

This book is a "masterpiece, an old classic" says Sister Eleanore. Re-published by Angelus Press, it is a collection of meditations on the life of Christ. A description by the editor says, "If your spiritual life is dry, an all too human effort to avoid 'forbiddens' and occassionally (and usually begrudgingly) checking off a 'good deed' to rack up the merit count or to make a payment on the purgatory tab, then you are missing the vivifying principle of the spiritual life -- an intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ.... Allow Fr. Leen to lead you to a greater knowledge and love of Our Lord through this collection of meditations on the life of Christ." Sister Eleanore notes that it is a very rich reading experience and a book to cherish.

3. The books by Dom Columba Marmion, OSB

Sister Eleanore praises Dom Columba's books, saying they are about "deep, down spirituality." Dom Columba was a reknowned preacher, teacher, and writer and his writings are considered spiritual classics. He was beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul II. For a list of his books, click here.

4. The Collected Works of Shakespeare

Sister Eleanore remarks that "all his works" are excellent and reminds us that it is a good year to read Shakespeare since 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of his death.

5. The Greater Reformer, by Austen Ivereigh

This recent book about Pope Francis is a favorite of Sister Eleanore's. Published in 2014, this biography of Pope Francis takes you through his early years in Argentina and shows how his experience came to shape the man he is today. Sister Eleanore notes that the book's author studied at Oxford and specialized in Catholicism and Politics in Argentina. As a result, the author has written what Sister Eleanore considers to be the definitive biography of Pope Francis at this time.

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