British Catholic theologian Christopher Villiers at Durham University

christopher-villiersHere is a photograph of our award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers during a reading of his  book Sonnets From the Spirit earlier today at Durham University, North East England. Both the author and the poems were very well received by the audience who could not stop asking for more. Sonnets From the Spirit is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, the publishers and major booksellers.

British Catholic theologian Christopher Villiers at Durham University

5* reviews for The Jeweler’s Polish

cover the jewelers polish-page-001

What a brilliant book, loyal on an historical level, and while it is fictional it very much reflects the period in which it is set, at the same time presenting a very exciting drama. It’s the kind of novel which makes you crave a sequel.

Highly recommended! A really well written thriller, interesting characters along with well researched history – The Jeweler’s Polish had it all. A highly recommended read.

Wonderful book! I enjoyed it very much. History, intrigue, love of God, joys and sorrows. And an ending that makes me look forward to more from this author. Written beautifully!


5* reviews for The Jeweler’s Polish

NEW RELEASE: The Jeweler’s Polish

cover the jewelers polish-page-001Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the first book in our Melitensia category with The Jeweler’s Polish, written by the Iowa novelist, poet, teacher, and homeschooler Marie Ann Dean. The Jeweler’s Polish is a Catholic historical fiction novel set primarily in the small Mediterranean island of Malta at the time of the Knights Hospitaller or the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Containing a near-gothic narrative that includes knightly orders, Masons, Illuminati, conspiracies, curses, mysterious jewels, apparitions of spirits, poisoners, gender dysphoria, the evil eye, and incest, The Jeweler’s Polish presents to readers the 21st century young Englishwoman, Emerald Rohan Grady, and her ancestral namesake, the Lady Emerald Esther Maria de Rohan, niece of the kindly but corrupt Grandmaster Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc.

But who, in reality, was Lady Emerald? Who was Lucas de Pinto? What made Captain Azzopardi meet his men in secret, at nighttime, in the historical city of Valletta? Who betrayed the kingdom of God and worked for the kingdom of Man? Why did Lady Emerald have to meet Pope Pius VI in Rome? How were the Jesuits and the Masons involved? Above all, who was the Repentant? The Jeweler’s Polish is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon worldwide, Hope and Life Press, and other major booksellers.


“Malta is a fascinating, yet somewhat mysterious, island nation known throughout history as the home of the famous, but somehow also mysterious, Knights. In The Jeweler’s Polish, accomplished author Marie Ann Dean brings us on one woman’s fascinating voyage of self-discovery to Malta. Dean adroitly weaves together the tale of that woman’s journey with events in the lives of historical figures connected with the Knights in Malta and elsewhere. As her prose portrays transformations in her characters, the reader is also brought to contemplate profound, yet very simple truths. You will enjoy The Jeweler’s Polish” Monsignor Richard Soseman, J.C.L., Official of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican City State.

“From the start of the story, Marie Ann Dean draws the reader into an historical mystery that will capture the imagination. She does a masterful job of tying the past history of the Church and of Europe to current times. The heroines, Emerald both of old and of new, guide the reader through an exciting adventure that falls just short of discovering the biblical Antichrist. I highly recommend The Jeweler’s Polish” – James A. Toups, author of The Storm: A Time of Mercy, Choices and Hope, Principal at RMR Corporation.

“Marie Ann Dean’s familiarity with the isle of Malta and her literary skills are put to good use in constructing a near-gothic narrative, combined with an intriguing apocalyptic storyline involving the identity of the Antichrist and the timing of the Second Coming. The result is a highly entertaining read, reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code but of higher literary quality and more complex . . . a very diverting and compelling first novel that leaves enough plot threads untied to demand a sequel or two. The Jeweler’s Polish leaves the reader wanting more!” – Mary Ann Beavis, Ph.D., Professor of Religion and Culture, Saint Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.

“In The Jeweler’s Polish, the heroine Emerald’s plans to travel initiate a journey to seek the ‘jewels’ of her heritage. The story is immersed in intrigue, secrecy, and the adventurous danger of the hunt. Traitors, mistresses, knights, and monks fill the pages of an effervescent novel. The pages turn quickly: Dean diligently weaves the tale of Emerald’s search for her hereditary matrix that serves both to elude and define her. Any reader of The Jeweler’s Polish who has sought family trees, or who has been fascinated by the Da Vinci Code, or Angels and Demons, will no doubt be riveted to Emerald’s search. The mystery is laced with danger and delight, discovery and disappointment, with new clues uncovered and the real hidden treasure of the heroine’s beneficence.

“One travels through multiple settings following both Emerald’s contemporary life and that of her centuries-old namesake – merry old England, Paris, Rome, yet always returning to a crisscrossed Malta: between two continents and between eras; the failing religiousness of the late Renaissance and the violent birth of contemporary democratic secularity. Within the thrill of the search, Dean’s work is, in the end, a battle between good and evil. And in the end, Emerald’s search rises above ennui and passivity to a new receptivity of the divine: the polish of a grace from beyond brings light both because of her goodness and despite her weakness.

“Is it not everyman/everywoman’s journey to seek their source and uncover treasures hidden for the ages – whether in Tehran, Tokyo, or New York? In The Jeweler’s Polish, one finds fellow seekers, while enjoying a well of literary refreshment. One hopes that Dean’s excellent work of final delight will reach many readers. One also hopes that readers will uncover, at least, some of their own hereditary jewels – the soulful treasures of any truly good persons, which often remain hidden until finally polish by Grace and Love itself” – Reverend Brian Miclot, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, Saint Ambrose University.


Marie Ann Dean RESIZEDMarie Ann Dean is an American novelist and poet from Iowa, with a particular interest in Catholic contemplative spiritualities in the Latin Rite tradition. A teacher by profession and former Montessori homeschooler, Dean helped set up various classical education schools and Montessori homeschools across the United States (US). She also lectured on English Literature at the University of Notre Dame (US), and on both Theology and Literature at Bristol University, United Kingdom (UK). As a practicing Catholic and pastoral counselor, Dean has served as lecturer to diocesan teachers in the US and Canada, also teaching catechesis and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes as director. She was also a lay chaplain with the Westminster Diocese, United Kingdom (UK).

Dean has a Bachelor’s degree in History and Philosophy/Theology from Marycrest College, and a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Notre Dame. She was also Downside Scholar Fellow in Theology at Bristol University. Dean holds a Master Teacher’s Certificate from the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools. An international Catholic blogger since 2007, Dean writes regularly on matters of the Catholic faith and spirituality at Etheldreda‘s Place and The Courtyard. She is also twice winner and Grand Prize-winner of the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest with her poems. Dean enjoys painting in watercolors, acrylics, and oils.

NEW RELEASE: The Jeweler’s Polish

OUT SOON: The Jeweler’s Polish by Marie Ann Dean of Iowa



Another 5* review for Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters

This book itself is a true blessing; written by a passionate soul, that is Larisa Dmitrieva Micallef, Ph.D., who touches upon the most sacred topic with such an eloquence and utter delicacy that couldn’t leave one not feeling spiritually enlightened upon reading.

From the very first page, we, as readers, are met with divine wisdom of each letter of the Church-Slavonic alphabet. The Church-Slavonic language is the soul of the people and the traces of it left imprints on language, culture, and literature altogether, evoking most powerful and sincere feelings.

What is treasured about this book is that it reveals the Church-Slavonic language as a means that opens and deepens our connection to God.

By reading Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters, we are going through the holy journey on which we become closer with our Holy Father and it, itself, is a true gift.

With so much love in my heart, I would like to thank Larisa Olegovna Micallef for giving us a blessing in the form of this divine book.

(Source: Amazon UK)

Another 5* review for Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters

NEWSFLASH: Hadel Ma’ayeh and her poetry book “From the Heart” featured in Be A Bestseller

Hadel GOOD
Hadel S. Ma’ayeh

Our Jordanian-American author Hadel S. Ma’ayeh and her book of poetry, haikus, and sayings titled From the Heart: A Journey of Love (2014; Hope & Life Press) have been featured in the January 11 Issue (#132) of the online magazine Be a Bestseller. Ma’ayeh, who is also a Huffington Post Passionista, was interviewed for this feature by Jennifer Carlevatti Aderhold. The interview is reproduced below for your enjoyment, with the magazine publisher’s consent.

Makin’ It Happen

As this week’s Makin it Happen Author we have Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, who resides in scenic Illinois, USA and beautiful Madaba, Jordan. Hadel is passionate about the arts, poetry in particular, and she draws her inspiration from profound poets, such as Khalil Gibran, Emily Dickinson, and Edgar Allen Poe. Hadel enjoys writing poems and haikus by taking in the world around her and writing from the heart. All of Hadel’s poetry is expressed by her emotions and the people who surround her in life. Like an oil painter who uses a paint brush, Hadel paints scenes and moments through her eloquent words.

Hadel is an American-Jordanian poet who has been writing poetry since she was nine years old. She is influenced and encouraged by her peers, family, and teachers. Her poetry spans 20 plus years of life experience, and readers are able to glimpse into Hadel’s Jordanian heritage as well as her faith as a Greek Orthodox Christian. Hadel is proud of the fact that she was baptized in the historical Saint George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Madaba, Jordan, which houses a sixth century mosaic map of the Holy Land on the church’s floor.

Hadel is a new author of a book of 56 poems, 14 haikus, and various sayings published by Hope and Life Press. The book, FROM THE HEART – A Journey of Love, is available on Amazon worldwide along with other major booksellers. Additionally, before the book’s release date (October 16, 2014), Hadel made Amazon’s list of “Hot New Releases in Middle Eastern Poetry.” Currently, Hadel continues to write poems and haikus along with some new short stories.

You can learn more about Hadel and her work at:


NEWSFLASH: Hadel Ma’ayeh and her poetry book “From the Heart” featured in Be A Bestseller

5* review for Relics of the Saints: January-February

This is an impressive book, the first volume of a series covering first and second class relics of major saints venerated throughout the liturgical year. The ecumenical treatment of relics from the saints of both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions (like St Thomas Aquinas and St Seraphim of Sarov) and indeed the geographical and chronological range covered is admirable. More recent saints, including ones from the New World such as St André Bessette are included with older favourites, including Biblical saints such as the Three Kings and St John the Baptist. The illustrations of the relics, accompanied by helpful short explanatory texts, are beautiful.


It might have been a good idea to include a foreword, explaining the significance and validity within the Christian tradition of relics. Veneration of relics is often attacked as superstitious and even grotesque; it might help to explain why such a view is mistaken. It is also a bit debatable whether St Gregory of Nazianzus should be described as “introducing Hellenism into the Early Church,” (p 23) he certainly used Hellenistic concepts to help articulate his theology but he certainly wasn’t the first to introduce ideas from what might loosely be called “Hellenism” (St Justin Martyr for instance or indeed St Paul), but this is not meant to be an academic textbook and one should not be pedantic. Overall, this is a marvellous book that shall aid Christian devotion.

(Source: Goodreads)

5* review for Relics of the Saints: January-February

NEW RELEASE: Sonnets From the Spirit (Kindle edition)

Sonnets from the Spirit FRONT COVERHope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the Kindle edition of the book Sonnets From the Spirit, written by the award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers. The paperback edition of the book was released by Hope and Life Press last month.

Sonnets From the Spirit is a collection of 52 icons in poetry on major episodes from Sacred Scripture, written according to the ancient practice of midrash. The themes of the sonnets are illustrated by great works of sacred art. This book is intended to provide readers with a little feel for God working through, and sometimes despite, very human people whose strengths and weaknesses greatly resembled those of 21st century humankind. Sonnets From the Spirit is also available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon globally, and other major booksellers.

Early Reviews

“The poems of Villiers continue the ancient practice of midrash, the breaking open of Scripture texts, by entering into the voices of its characters and illuminating new facets of the stories. As such they offer worthy meditations to accompany our sacred reading, inviting us to consider our own lived responses” – Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D., online Abbess at Abbey of the Arts, Pantheos contributor, and author of eight books on monastic spirituality and creativity.

“In this series of sonnets, Villiers takes us from the birth of Eve to the Assumption of the Virgin, the Second Eve. The sonnets are like icons in poetry, each poem a meditation seeking to take us through the biblical text into the mystery of God” –Archpriest Andrew Louth, FBA, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University.

“A new voice in poetry that helps us to find fresh insights into some of the classic passages of Holy Scripture, stimulating reflection and prayer” – Reverend Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop (ret.) of Newcastle and Reviews Editor of the Church of England Newspaper.

“In Sonnets from the Spirit, the talented poet and theologian Christopher Villiers conveys Bible stories in verse. These rhythmic sonnets do not just tell a story. As you read, you become the central character of each poem, entering the viewpoint of Bible people and the events they encountered then, coming away with an ‘I’ ready to perceive and receive an ongoing relationship with God” – Mary Harwell Sayler, Christian poet and writer.

Continue reading “NEW RELEASE: Sonnets From the Spirit (Kindle edition)”

NEW RELEASE: Sonnets From the Spirit (Kindle edition)

NEW RELEASE: Relics of the Saints: January-February

Relics of the Saints Bk 1 Front CoverHope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of Relics of the Saints: January-February, written by the Reverend Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A., and Marcelle Bartolo-Abela. This book is the first of six volumes in the HOPE AND LIFE PRESS SERIES on relics of the saints of the universal church.

Relics of the Saints (Vol. 1) features in large, full color illustrations the first and second class relics, many of them rare, of 42 saints and blesseds venerated by the Catholic Church and/or the Orthodox Church during the liturgical months of January and February. Included are relics of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints Anthony the Great, Basil of Caesarea, Cyril and Methodius, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Ephraim the Syrian, Gregory of Nazianzus, Hilary of Poitiers, the Japanese Martyrs, John the Baptist, John Chrysostom, Josephine Bakhita, Marcella of Rome, Maximus the Hagiorite, Seraphim of Sarov, Symeon the God-receiver, Thomas Aquinas, and the Three Kings among others. Highlights of the lives of the saints and blesseds are also presented from authoritative sources, together with details of where the relics may now be found.

Relics of the Saints: January-February is available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon globally, and major booksellers.

About the Authors

The Reverend Richard G. Cannuli, O.S.A., is professor of studio art at Villanova University and one of the foremost iconographers today. He is also a master watercolorist and world-renowned designer of liturgical vestments. Cannuli is the iconographer-author of the book Approaching the Divine: A Primer in Iconography  (2014, Hope & Life Press). His icons can be found in several churches and collections across the globe, including in the possession of Pope Francis; Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, and at the famous monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai, Egypt.

Marcelle Bartolo-Abela is a Catholic Christian writer on faith and spirituality in daily life. She is also the founder and director of Hope and Life Press. Bartolo-Abela is the author of the books A Voice Calling God’s People, Deification of Man in Christianity, God’s Gift to Humanity: The Relationship Between Phinehas and Consecration to God the Father; The Divine Family: Experiential Narratives; The Divine Heart of God the Father, The Icon of the Divine Heart of God the Father: Apologia and Canon; The Warrior-Prince: Saint Michael the Archangel; and Thoughts for the Day: Reflections for the Soul. 

NEW RELEASE: Relics of the Saints: January-February

NEW RELEASE: Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters (English ed.)

Divine Significance Front Cover English edHope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the English edition of the Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters, written by the Russian Orthodox scholar Larisa Dmitrieva Micallef, Ph.D. Dmitrieva Micallef is a lecturer in linguistics at the Leo Tolstoy Institute of Language and Culture, Moscow, Russia.

In this book, Dmitrieva Micallef reveals and conveys the meaning and outlook of each letter in the Church Slavonic alphabet, with their inherent divine wisdom and cognitive/educative functions. Church Slavonic is the proto-Slav language of Saints Cyril and Methodius, that significantly influenced Russian language, literature, and culture. It is also the old liturgical language of the Orthodox Church. Dmitrieva Micallef explores the origin and intersection of Russian and other Slavonic languages, expertly showing how sociocultural values in both Russia and Orthodoxy were formed through Church Slavonic. Similarities and differences between the Church Slavonic and Russian languages are clarified. Readers are introduced to Church Slavonic as a way of communicating with God, since the alphabet itself, combined together, results in a homily, with the divine wisdom found therein providing the Word of God for a deep spiritual journey.

Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters (English ed.) is available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon, and other major booksellers. The book is also available in paperback and ebook editions in the Russian language.

Early Reviews

– Exciting journey through the history of the Russian language and culture through Church Slavonic letters, highly recommended – Marina Tikhonycheva, Ph.D., Rector, Leo Tolstoy Institute of Language and Culture.

– The book Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters corresponds to the requirements established for such a work and is highly recommended for publication – Archpriest Andrey Khokhlov, Saint John the Apostle Orthodox Parish Church, Bronnaya, Moscow.

– Fascinating, combines profundity of thought and scientific content. Useful not only for those who are Orthodox, but also for those interested in Russian culture and language – Vladimir Eger, Catechist, Saint John the Apostle Orthodox Parish Church, Bronnaya.

– Shows close connection between Russian and Church Slavonic, expressing divine wisdom and the original ideology of the Slavs – Anastasiya Piskunova, Master of History, Faculty at Moscow State University.

NEW RELEASE: Divine Significance of Church Slavonic Letters (English ed.)