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Liturgical Press

When the Saints Came Marching In

Exploring the Frontiers of Grace in America

Kathy Coffey

When the Saints Came Marching In SEE INSIDE
When the Saints Came Marching In

eISBN: 9780814637432, E3743

Details: 160 pgs,
Publication Date: 02/15/2015
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This is not your usual collection of saints. God's creative genius peopled the fresh terrain of the United States with remarkable men and women. With the fears, hopes, frustrations, longings, and failures of ordinary humans, the people featured in When the Saints Came Marching In explored new frontiers in holiness. Like those who floated the Mississippi River for the first time, scaled Pike's Peak, or settled the unknown regions of Kentucky, they tried something new in health care, science, education, and race or labor relations. Kathy Coffey celebrates the remarkable lives and experiences of holy explorers of faith whose stories continue to inspire today's pioneers to discover new paths to welcome the North American saints of tomorrow.

With her well-known insight and unique style, Coffey draws us closer to Junípero Serra, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Pierre Toussaint, John Neumann, Julia Greeley, Marianne Cope, Katharine Drexel, Rachel Carson, Dorothy Day, Thea Bowman, Ruma Martyrs, Cesar Chavez, Mychal Judge, and Dorothy Stang. Includes a chapter on Saint Junípero Serra.

Kathy Coffey is the author of thirteen award-winning books and many articles in Catholic periodicals like Give Us This Day, America, U.S. Catholic, St. Anthony Messenger, Catholic Update, Everyday Catholic and National Catholic Reporter. Kathy taught for fifteen years at the University of Colorado, Denver, and Regis Jesuit University. She has won sixteen awards from the Catholic Press Association, the Foley Poetry Award from America magazine, the Independent Publishers Book Award and the Associated Church Press Award for Editorial Courage. She continues to give retreats and workshops nationally and internationally. For more information, see her website:

eISBN: 9780814637432, E3743

Details: 160 pgs,
Publication Date: 02/15/2015


Kathy Coffey makes America shine through its saints and its saints radiate new light in an American context. She is one of the best Catholic writers I know, and has written a book about saints that is like no other. It will expand your ideas about holiness and make your heart glow.
Michael Leach, author of Why Stay Catholic?

Kathy Coffey has given us a book of American saints for the era of Pope Francis. Where her title metaphor focuses on the American penchant for exploring frontiers, the book's saints-some canonized, others simply recognized-made me also think of Francis' metaphor of going out to the streets of our world. The saints Coffey covers, in brief readable chapters, are all "gutsy realists"-a memorable phrase used to describe Sr. Dorothy Stang. And all wonderfully human, warts and all. I learned about saints I'd never known, and learned more about others I thought I knew. In the end the book made me think of all the saints among us in this country-so much good news to counter all the bad news that fills our headlines and our heads.
John F. Kane, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, Regis University

Uh-oh. Here comes marching in a book that won't ever again let us say, `But the saints aren't anything like us.' Read, if you dare, about the courageous, cantankerous, saintly people who lived in America in their time, but changed the world for all time.
Kathy McGovern, author of the weekly scripture column The Story and You

Kudos to Kathy Coffey for this collection of "open, sociable, normal, happy companions," just the kind of saints Pope Francis says we need. In her characteristically engaging and entertaining prose, Coffey helps us entertain the notion that the path toward sainthood is the very ground on which we stand. Be prepared for the spaciousness that emerges in these stories, both in the vast terrain of landscape these men and women traversed and in their very souls. It is in these wide open places that God enters, grace abounds, and lives are transformed in love."
Mary Stommes, editor of Give Us This Day

When the Saints Came Marching In moves seamlessly between past and present, bringing to life a host of "spacious souls" and North American saints proclaimed "by acclamation." A few widely known and many often overlooked, these are people celebrated by their contemporaries for their goodness of heart, witness to faith, and courage for justice. At a moment in our social history when cynicism seems the norm and acerbic criticism has become all too automatic, Coffey locates the diamonds in the rough, turning their lives for us in the light with her usual directness, humor and clarity. In the humanity of these variegated saints we see a reflection of our own, and a luminous reflection, as Coffey suggests, of the church Pope Francis calls us to be. I love Coffey's earthy, expansive, sacramental vision.
Christopher Pramuk, Xavier University, Author of At Play in Creation: Merton's Awakening to the Feminine Divine

In this compact and creative series of meditations on 14 saints and a batch of "Glorious Nobodies," Coffey illuminates their lives and legacies. Make no mistake about it, the saints that the author has chosen to write about are courageous and adventuresome souls.
Spirituality & Practice

Coffey's book will engage readers interested in American history, faith, and inspirational figures. What I appreciate most, though, is the book's spirit of connection-between writer and reader-to North America, and to the communion of saints, which inspires us to be better people as we continue to encounter ever-new frontiers of grace.
St. Anthony Messenger