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Catholic Poets

The Saints and the Spiritual Tradition

Although they are not often studied from a literary perspective, the spiritual writings of these saints provide early examples of Catholic devotional poetry. 

St. Francis of Assisi – Several poems praising God and nature are attributed to St. Francis, founder of the Franciscan Order.

St. Hildegard of Bingen – This Benedictine visionary’s prolific writings include poetry, hymns, and theological treatises.

St. Teresa of Avila – A Spanish mystic and Camelite nun, St. Teresa documented her spiritual evolution through poetry and other theological works.

The Medieval and Renaissance Traditions

Francesco Petrarch – Petrarch, considered by many to be the father of Humanism, is also credited with the development and popularization of the Italian sonnet.

Geoffrey Chaucer – The undisputed father of English poetry, Chaucer is best known for his memorable portraits Canterbury pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.

Dante Alighieri – Dante Alighieri’s epic poem La Divina Commedia presents an allegorical vision of the afterlife and is among the most significant works of Western literature.

The Modern Tradition

Gerard Manley Hopkins – Hopkins was a Jesuit priest and is generally considered one of the greatest poets of the Victorian era.

Hilaire Belloc – Belloc was a controversial figure known for both his radical political views and his mastery of light poetry in the style of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear.

Thomas Merton – A monk who lived in isolation for several years and one of the most well-known Catholic writers of the twentieth century, Thomas Merton was a prolific poet, religious writer, and essayist.