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Additional disclaimer: This book is also available on, where if you jump through some hoops you can get it for free. Their website is an amazing resource for Catholic teachers, students and anyone who wants to know more about Jesus.

Beautiful Mercy is a compilation of writings by spiritual powerhouses, including Pope Francis, Scott Hahn and Fr. Mike Schmitz. I think it was originally written to be read during Advent in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, but I read it just this year and really enjoyed it. I am also thinking of using pieces from it in my religion class next year.

The book is organized into the Spiritual and Corporeal Works of Mercy with short inspiring stories and essays for each one. I learned about a lot of inspiring people trying to make the world a better place through reading the short and manageable chapters. Some chapters were a bit of a stretch as the author wanted to talk about their area of expertise and then vaguely connect it to mercy, but others were really in depth looks at what actually living the works of mercy looks like for real people in the real world.

I am always looking for resources for my 8th grade religion class, especially as we no longer have a textbook. Some of the essays in here would be an easy read for them, while others could be more challenging. I also think that many Catholics don’t actually read what the Pope writes to us, and we should. Teaching them at 13 that they can handle reading some of the Pope’s wisdom will drastically improve their understanding of the Catholic Church. And besides, Pope Francis is pretty cool.

Another reason this would work well in classroom setting is because it also has lots of companion videos you can stream for free on This would be a great resource for someone who commutes on public transit- you could pop your headphones in and learn more about your faith on the ride. I know my friend Corinne has used the videos with her sixth graders with a lot of success.

Popcorn Rating: 5. This book is nice and easy to read, and also easily divided into chunks if you wanted to use it as a daily devotional.
Stars: 3. Some of the articles were better than others.