Set the World on Fire

A 4-Week Personal Retreat with the Female Doctors of the Church

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Pub Date 11 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 30 Mar 2022

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Description

Only four women in the two thousand–year history of the Church—Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen—have the distinction of being named Doctors of the Church because of their impact on the faith.

In Set the World on Fire, bestselling author, retreat leader, and spiritual director Vinita Hampton Wright offers a four-week personal retreat that immerses you in the dramatic lives, historical eras, and groundbreaking ideas of these formidable saints and invites you to develop the grit, humility, pragmatism, hope, joy, and vision these women possessed.

Each week of your retreat begins with weekend reading and prayer to introduce the saint and the primary topic of the chapter, followed by five days of morning and evening prayer. Much of the text comes from the saint’s own writings. Scripture, reflection questions, and suggestions for action are designed to help you engage personally with the saint and her wisdom for living your faith.

Each week offers a unique and in-depth experience of the saint and her unique gifts to the Church:

• Week one: St. Thérèse of Lisieux—the young Carmelite nun whose autobiography sent ripples across Christendom—will teach you to love God through her Little Way.

• Week two: St. Teresa of Avila—a Carmelite who spent years reforming her order and gave to the world a spiritual masterpiece called The Interior Castle—will instruct you in trusting your personal experience of God.

• Week three: St. Catherine of Siena—a Third-Order Dominican who poured out her life for people in need but also gave astute, sharp direction to Church leaders—will guide you to live every moment with courage through the love of truth.

• Week four: St. Hildegard of Bingen—a Benedictine abbess whose spiritual visions led to books, poetry, music, art, and early scientific discovery—will show you how to engage life with passion and creativity.

Each woman’s experience of God, understanding of spirituality, and timeless wisdom gained her the title Doctor of the Church, which indicates that through her life, research, study, and writing, she has deepened and advanced the faith.

Only four women in the two thousand–year history of the Church—Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen—have the distinction of being named Doctors of the...


A Note From the Publisher

Vinita Hampton Wright is an award-winning author and workshop and retreat leader who served as a book editor for more than thirty years. She retired as managing editor at Loyola Press in 2021.

She is the author of a number of books, including The Soul Tells a Story, The Art of Spiritual Writing, and The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book. Her novel, Velma Still Cooks in Leeway, won a Logos Book Award for fiction, and Christianity Today honored her book Dwelling Places as the best fiction of 2007.

Wright earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Pittsburg State University in Kansas and a master’s degree in communications from Wheaton College in Illinois. She also earned a certificate in spiritual direction from the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Wright previously worked as a teacher and musician in both the United States and abroad.

Vinita Hampton Wright is an award-winning author and workshop and retreat leader who served as a book editor for more than thirty years. She retired as managing editor at Loyola Press in 2021.

She...


Advance Praise

“This book highlights the spirituality and brilliance of some of the most influential women in Church history. From the soaring visions of St. Hildegard to the little way of St. Therese, this retreat guides the reader in a simple yet profound reflection that will leave the soul refreshed and inspired.”
Fr. Blake Britton
Contributor to Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

“Vinita Hampton Wright is the perfect retreat guide for this inner exploration, holding the brilliance of these four saints with the precision of an artist and the expansiveness of a spiritual director. This book is an important offering for those seeking authentic inner growth.”
Shannon K. Evans
Author of Embracing Weakness

“A true gift. Not only does Set the World on Fire provide everything we could possibly need for a rich, self-guided meditative journey but it also invites us to participate in the intimate prayer lives of four spiritual giants of the Church, women whose visionary wisdom transformed Church doctrine.”
Paula Huston
Author of One Ordinary Sunday

"Whether you are doing this retreat all by yourself or in conversation with friends, if you are seeking to develop a spiritual life in the world you will find Set the World on Fire a brilliant resource.”
Timothy P. O’Malley
Author of Real Presence

“This book highlights the spirituality and brilliance of some of the most influential women in Church history. From the soaring visions of St. Hildegard to the little way of St. Therese, this retreat...


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ISBN 9781646801015
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Featured Reviews

I received an ARC of Set the World on Fire, by Vinita Hampton Wright. This book is about 4 women of the church, Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen. I heard about the first three but not Hildegard. This is a great book about these four women, it has prayers, stories, and other sources to get more information on these lovely women of the Catholic Church.

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Four women saints whose lives spanned eight centuries are the centrepiece for this timely support to reflection and prayer.
Four female Doctors of the Catholic Church; Thérèse of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Hildegard of Bingen give renewed vision to one’s spiritual life.
These women were all larger than life. Women who struggled to own their faith and see its relevance and meaning for them. Women who knew of God’s Grace in their historical setting.
Their lives are a gift passed forward and well worth the journey.

An Ave Maria Press ARC via NetGalley

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A grand mix of history lesson, celebration of women, seeking God, devotional and contemplative prayer. The study goes through four weeks, looking at four amazing doctors of the church.

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I confess I did not read this book as it was intended, as a four-week guided personal retreat, but plan to go back and do so for Lent. Focusing on the four women who have been named Doctors of the [Catholic] Church, this book guides the reader through a virtual retreat, beginning with brief biographies of each woman (St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Hildegard of Bingen), with recommendations for additional reading, scriptures, personal reflection questions, and prayer. This is an excellent resource for not only learning more about the important roles these women played in the development of the church, but for seeing how they can inform one’s own life. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with this self-guided retreat. #SettheWorldonFire #NetGalley

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Set the World on Fire is a four-week guided retreat that focuses on four women saints: St Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Hildegard of Bingen. These four women's lives span eight centuries, and this book does an excellent job of offering valuable insight into these Doctors of the Catholic Church.

I like the format and structure of the book. Four weeks are spent with each Saint. An overview of their lives is given, including additional reading, scripture passages, reflections, and journaling questions. Each day was broken into content for morning and evening prayer, making this a wonderful personal retreat.

The author clearly knows these Saints and shared information about their lives that made each of these women feel accessible, making it easier to draw connections and relevance in my own life.

Each of these women has played a significant role in the Church. I especially enjoyed the weeks spent on St.Hildegard of Bingen; it seems she is less well known than the others.

I highly recommend this book as a personal retreat. I filled an entire journal working through the prompts that were well written and not generic, as is often the case in individual retreat books.

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