On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering

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Anniversary Edition

Author: John Paul II, Pope
Publisher: Pauline Books & Media Pages: 128
Binding: Paperback
Series: Anniversary Edition

Commemorate the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's apostolic letter, On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering.

About this Book:

Published on February 11, 1984, Salvifici Doloris addresses the question of why God allows suffering. In this apostolic letter, Pope John Paul II reflects on the origins of suffering, explores the different types of suffering we endure, examines our quest to discover its meaning and purpose, and explains how we are to respond to suffering. He links our personal experiences with suffering to the mystery of God, of humanity, and to the redemption brought by Christ's suffering.

This expanded anniversary edition offers the complete text of the letter, along with thought-provoking commentary by Myles N. Sheehan, SJ, MD. As a priest and a physician who was trained in geriatrics and specialized in palliative care, Dr. Sheehan approaches the topic of suffering from firsthand experience and extends his warm compassion to readers. This edition makes the content of the papal document more accessible and places it in the context of recent world events, including September 11th, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and gun violence incidents in schools and public places across the nation. Each of the eight sections of the original document contains insightful questions suited for individual or group use, applicable prayers, and ideas for meaningful action, inviting readers to personally respond to the mystery of suffering.

Features & Benefits:


  • Author co-hosted Aging Gracefully, a five-part mini-series addressing body matters for the elderly that premiered in September 2012
  • Incorporates relevant biographical elements of John Paul II's life and of the respective historical period
  • Provides different forms of prayer, including the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
  • Continues long-standing publication and sales history since initial publication in 1984
  • Addresses pertinent subject matter in light of the Death with Dignity Act and physician - assisted suicide
  • Brings themes from the original document into a modern context, making them relevant for the sufferings of today's world
  • Highlights the essential points of the encyclical
  • Encourages active engagement in reading
  • Serves as a springboard into prayer
  • Provides conversation starters for group use


About the Author:

Fr. Myles N. Sheehan, SJ, MD was named Provincial of the New England Province of Jesuits on July 31, 2009. Fr. Sheehan joined the New England Province of Jesuits on August 25, 1985, made his novitiate at St. Andrew House in Boston, MA, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1994. On April 22, 2005, he professed solemn vows in the Society of Jesus. Prior to becoming Provincial, Dr. Sheehan's work at Loyola University included administrative, teaching, and curricular development work in his role as Senior Associate Dean and Director of the Ralph P. Leischner, Jr., MD Institute for Medical Education. He had a practice in geriatric medicine along with his work in end of life care and improving palliative care, especially in Catholic healthcare. Fr. Sheehan was named one of Chicago's Top Doctors yearly from 2002-2010.

Product Details:


Binding: paperback
Trim size: 5" x 7 3/16"
Pages: 128