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Friday, May 11, 2007
Please contribute $1 to Sophia Institute

I received this email and want to take a moment to pass it along to my readers. I do not like to frequently post articles asking for donations, but I feel that Sophia Institute is a Catholic publishing company deserving to remain in business.

Here is the email:

At the end of the 18th century, penniless Fr. Clement Hofbauer established an orphanage in Warsaw. To keep his boys fed and clothed, he begged door-to-door. Entering a tavern, Fr. Hofbauer approached a drunken man who was playing cards.

"Could you contribute something?"

"Sure thing!" the drunk responded, and spat beer in Fr. Hofbauer's face.

Looking the man directly in the eyes, Fr. Hofbauer said calmly, "That was a gift to me personally; now please let me have something for my poor children."


In my quarter-century of begging for my own "poor children," no one has spat in my face, but I've been cursed and even threatened when I ask people to help me clothe the saints who are my children: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Edmund Campion, St. Catherine of Genoa, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Isaac Jogues, St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Francis de Sales, St. Martin of Tours,
St. Francis Xavier, and many others. Yes, "clothe the saints who are my children."

For soon after Vatican II, most Catholics abandoned these holy men and women, judging they were no longer relevant in our modern age, letting them fall into obscurity. (What about you? Before today, had you heard of St. Clement Hofbauer and his encounter in the tavern?)

Yet these were the saints whose dusty works brought me and countless generations of souls into the Church.

So, soon after my conversion, I began rounding up dozens of their orphaned works --- books by and about saints, and about Christ and His Church.

I cleaned them up, retypeset them, and, with greater care than I give my own children, dressed them in handsome new jackets and sent them out into society again, which is where they are today, teaching and preaching like Jesus in the Temple.


I started this in the early 1980s, two million Catholic books ago --- two million books published by my non-profit Sophia Institute Press that have spread to every continent now, drawing Catholics worldwide closer to Christ and His Church.


I first read about St. Clement Hofbauer and the drunk in Saintly Solutions, a book by Fr. Joseph Esper I published a few years ago. In it, Fr. Esper tells another tale:

A young man visited a hermit with a reputation for great holiness and this desert father
taught the young man many methods of prayer. One day the young man asked, "What can I do to attain God?" The master responded, "What can you do to make the sun rise?" The young man became angry: "Then why are you teaching me all these different ways of praying?" The hermit explained, "To make sure you're awake when the sun rises."

Our century has mastered the art of amusement, and across this beautiful world of ours, souls fall deeper into slumber because of ever more seductive amusements: TV, IPODs, TIVO, cinema, the Internet, video games, and so much more.

You're not asleep (if you were, you wouldn't have read this far), which leads me to hope that you will help me ensure that others will also "be awake when the sun rises." I'm doing that with my begging, which has fathered 2 million Catholic books that call to souls and prod them to stay spiritually awake, and that show them how to do so.

But we may have to close our doors.

By an unusual combination of events, I am suddenly running out of copies of nearly 20% of the holy Catholic books I have in print. Here's the list of books that are either gone or soon gone (if you want one, you'd better order right away):

Already out of stock

A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot
How to Raise Good Catholic Children by Mary Reed Newland
The Aquinas Catechism by St. Thomas Aquinas
The Aquinas Prayer Book by St. Thomas Aquinas
The Wartime Prayer Book by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Less than 100 copies left

The Book of Saints and Heroes by Andrew and Lenora Lang
True Devotion to the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Luis Martinez
Fire of Love by St. Catherine of Genoa
Saintly Solutions by Fr. Joseph Esper

Less than 250 copies left

The One-Minute Philosopher by Dr. Montague Brown
Twenty Tales of Irish Saints by Alice Curtayne
Time Management for Catholics by Dave Durand
Secrets of the Interior Life by Archbishop Luis Martinez
Surprised by Truth 3 by Patrick Madrid
Surprised by Truth 2 by Patrick Madrid
I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C. J. d'Elbée
The Scriptural Roots of Catholic Teaching by Chantal Epie

Reprinting all these titles will keep us in business but costs $80,000, which we don't have.

Letting them go out of print will slash our already meager income by 20%, and shut our doors.

So, using credit to pay for this e-mailing to 250,000 Catholics, and with St. Clement Hofbauer
as my model, I must go begging again.

Just $1 will save us

Hoping you won't spit beer in my face, I ask you, Can you contribute $1 to help me keep these books in print, and save our non-profit apostolate?

And then, Can you forward this e-mail to your friends, asking them to give one dollar, too?

If everyone who receives this e-mail contributes a dollar, I'll be able to keep all these fine Catholic books in print and have enough left over to ensure we can publish another two million holy Catholic books!

As that hermit said, neither you nor I can make the sun rise; nor can we, on our own, attain God. But we can be awake when the sun rises and we can help others be awake, too.

That's what I'm asking you to support with your dollar. Not WalMart nor even eBay offers that much value for a dollar!

So please use Paypal or your credit card to make a contribution at our website ( or print the form there and send your dollar by snail mail.

Finally, whether you contribute or not, please say a brief prayer to St. Clement Hofbauer that this appeal will work, and then forward this e-mail to every Catholic you know.

If they chide you for it, remember Fr. Hofbauer's words to the man who spat in his face:

"That was a gift for me personally; now please let me have something for my poor children."

Thank you. I'm praying for you. Please pray for me.

John L. Barger, Publisher
Sophia Institute Press
Box 5284, Manchester, NH 03108 USA


del_button May 12, 2007 at 10:30 AM
Ma Beck said...

Thank you, Matthew!
Sophia Institute is such a wonderful resource - I'd hate to see them go away.

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