Groups‎ > ‎

Book Reading Group

One of the recent popular groups Fr Dylan led in his previous parish was a book reading group.  The group read two books: Forming Intentional Disciples, and then the Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales.  Before we start the group, you'll be able to buy copies in the church porch for £8 or from Amazon here or here 

Each week we will discuss the reading we've done for the previous week and the dates and chapters will appear in the newsletter

Forming Intentional Disciples is described on another page of this website here

The Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales is a book that was written by a saint for laypeople, and summarises the wisdom of nearly 2000 years worth of saints and sinners on how to make use of all the means to holiness.  It is simply and practically written and broken down into lots of short readable chapters.

Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales

Reading plan


Please read the chapters before the meeting to discuss them!

Week 1

PART I. CHAPTER 1. What true Devotion is

PART I. CHAPTER 2. The Nature and Excellence of Devotion

PART I. CHAPTER 3. Devotion is suitable to every Vocation

PART II. CHAPTER 2. A short Method of Meditation. And first, the Presence of God, the First Point of Preparation

PART II. CHAPTER 10. Morning Prayer

PART II. CHAPTER 11. Evening Prayer and Examination of Conscience

PART II. CHAPTER 12. On Spiritual Recollection


Week 2

PART II. CHAPTER 13. Aspirations, Ejaculatory Prayer and Holy Thoughts

PART II. CHAPTER 14. Holy Communion, & how to join in it

PART II. CHAPTER 16. How the Saints are united to us

PART II. CHAPTER 17. How to Hear and Read God's Word

PART II. CHAPTER 18. How to receive Inspirations

PART II. CHAPTER 19. On Confession

PART II. CHAPTER 20. Of Frequent Communion

PART II. CHAPTER 21. How to Communicate


Week 3

PART III. CHAPTER 1. How to select that which we should chiefly Practise

PART III. CHAPTER 2. The same Subject continued.

PART III. CHAPTER 3. On Patience

PART III. CHAPTER 4. On Greater Humility

PART III. CHAPTER 5. On Interior Humility

PART III. CHAPTER 6. Humility makes us rejoice in our own Abjection

PART III. CHAPTER 7. How to combine due care for a Good Reputation with Humility


Week 4

PART III. CHAPTER 8. Gentleness & Remedies vs Anger

PART III. CHAPTER 9. On Gentleness towards Ourselves

PART III. CHAPTER 10. We must attend to the Business of Life carefully, but without Eagerness or Over-anxiety.

PART III. CHAPTER 11. On Obedience

PART III. CHAPTER 14. On Poverty of Spirit amid Riches

PART III. CHAPTER 15. How to exercise real Poverty, although actually Rich

PART III. CHAPTER 16. How to possess a rich Spirit amid real Poverty



Week 5

PART III. CHAPTER 26. Of Conversation; and, first, how to Speak of God

PART III. CHAPTER 27. Of Unseemly Words, and Respect 

PART III. CHAPTER 28. Of Hasty Judgments

PART III. CHAPTER 29. On Slander

PART III. CHAPTER 30. Further Counsels as to Conversation


PART III. CHAPTER 13. How to maintain Purity


Week 6

PART IV. CHAPTER 1. We must not trifle with the Words of Worldly Wisdom

PART IV. CHAPTER 2. The need of a Good Courage

PART IV. CHAPTER 3. Of Temptations, and the difference between experiencing them and consenting to them

PART IV. CHAPTER 4. Two striking Illustrations of the same

PART IV. CHAPTER 5. Encouragement for the Tempted Soul

PART IV. CHAPTER 6. When Temptation & Delectation are Sin

PART IV. CHAPTER 7. Remedies for Great Occasions


Week 7

PART IV. CHAPTER 8. How to resist Minor Temptations

PART IV. CHAPTER 9. How remedy Minor Temptations

PART IV. CHAPTER 10. Strengthening against Temptation

PART IV. CHAPTER 11. Anxiety of Mind

PART IV. CHAPTER 12. Sadness and Sorrow

PART IV. CHAPTER 13. Spiritual and Sensible Consolations

PART IV. CHAPTER 14. Of Dryness and Spiritual Barrenness

PART IV. CHAPTER 15. An Illustration


Week 8

PART III. CHAPTER 17. On Friendship: Evil and Frivolous Friendship

PART III. CHAPTER 18. On Frivolous Attachments

PART III. CHAPTER 19. Of Real Friendship

PART III. CHAPTER 20. Of the Difference between True and False Friendship

PART III. CHAPTER 21. Remedies against Evil Friendships

PART III. CHAPTER 22. Further Advice concerning Intimacies

PART III. CHAPTER 23 On Bodily Mortification


Week 9

PART III. CHAPTER 31. Of Amusements and Recreations: what are allowable.

PART III. CHAPTER 32. Of Forbidden Amusements.

PART III. CHAPTER 33 Lawful but Dangerous Amusements

PART III. CHAPTER 34. Using such Amusements rightly

PART III. CHAPTER 35. Faithful in Things Great and Small

PART III. CHAPTER 36. Of a Well-Balanced, Reasonable Mind



The above reading plan does not cover the whole book.  The reading plan has been selected to focus on sections suitable for those who do not yet engage in a daily half-hour mediation (of the type recommended by St Francis de Sales and described in Part II chapters 1-9)