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The Imitation of Christ Book Club

December 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

The Imitation of Christ Book Club

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If you read Journal of a Soul with us, you are well aware of the impact The Imitation of Christ had on Blessed Pope John XXIII. In 1898, as part of his Daily Rule, he wrote: Read carefully and thoughtfully a whole chapter, or at least a part of one, of the very devout Latin book of Thomas à Kempis. This was to be done in addition to his other daily spiritual reading. Pope John XXIII must have kept this schedule, for he referred to the book often in his journal.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux also refers to The Imitation of Christ in her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. Her constant companion from the age of 14, this book proved to have profound influence on her spiritual life.

The Imitation of Christ has the potential to change our lives as well if we read it with prayerful meditation and not as a means of filling ourselves with knowledge for knowledge sake. For this reason, we plan to take our time with this book. As we did with Journal of a Soul, we will spend 10 weeks on The Imitation of Christ, despite the fact that Imitation has 150 fewer pages.

The following paragraph is taken from the back of the Vintage Spiritual Classics edition, 1998:

“Only the Bible has been more influential as a source of Christian devotional reading than ‘The Imitation of Christ'. This meditation on the spiritual life has inspired readers from Thomas More and St. Ignatius Loyola to Thomas Merton and Pope John Paul I. Written by the Augustinian monk Thomas à Kempis between 1420 and 1427, it contains clear instructions for renouncing worldly vanities and locating eternal truths. No book has more explicitly and movingly described the Christian ideal: “My son, to the degree that you can leave yourself behind, to that degree will you be able to enter into Me.”

I’m so excited to read on the coattails of so many holy people who came before us! I pray that you’ll join us as we embark on the spiritual journey of a lifetime.

Reading Assignment:

Week 1: Book 1 Ch. 1-13


Read more: Previous Book Club Posts

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

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  • Free version of the book! 
    By the way this site…  Project Gutenburg is a treasure trove of free classics… religious and literature… 🙂

  • CatholicKath

    I am so excited–a deacon at our church introduced me to this wonderful treasure and I cannot wait to read what you have to say about it!

  • Which edition or translation do you recommend? Thanks

    • LizEst

      Any edition or translation will do. Based on what she has written above, it looks like Vicki is using the Vintage Spiritual Classics edition, 1998

  • LisaB101

    How very exciting! I have read bits and pieces of The Imitation of Christ and just with that little bit have experienced peace. Very excited to read the whole book with you all!

  • saijiki88

    Well, I have been meaning to read this for a long time, have received a few copies, and bought a few, so I guess this is the time to read the book!  Looking forward to it.  

  • Alexandra Campbell

    my copy has fallen apart so I will have to see about getting a new one! Love this book though. It made a huge impact on me when I came back to the faith.

  • Superb choice. I’ve read and reread for the past 10 years; one paragraph a night nourishes the soul. Given to me by my Gramma ages ago, I took her advice to keep nearby always.

  • Truly a building block, following the book on Pope John XXIII. So glad you mention how he and other saintly inspirations have used this book as a spiritual daily bread. I’ve had it as a read nightly for about a decade now (don’t ask how many times I’ve been through it), but I find gems in just a sentence. I took my Gramma Sophie’s advice years ago and read a nugget a day.

  • LizEst

    I will send the pdf to anyone who requests it and posts their email address.

    • mickie72

      I would love for you to sent the pdf to me. Thank you.

      • LizEst

        OK, mickie72. It’s on the way. Please check your email.

  • TeresaVee

    Looking forward to this study. Been wanting to read this book for quite some time.

  • What a great choice! I have this book and just recently shared this with a friend. I have only read bits and pieces of the Chapters but it has brought me so much peace when reading the Chapters.

  • carl641

    Hi everyone. I just learned of this site and this is the first book I will be reading along with you all. Just wanted to introduce myself. 

    • LizEst

      Welcome carl641! We are happy you are joining us. God bless you!

  • MaryofSharon

    I like the chapter by chapter format of this free online version at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

  • Plevesque

    St Louis de Monfort asks all to read much of Imitation of Christ in his true devotion to Mary. I have read the imitation once before but not very deep. May I also join your study.

    • Absolutely

    • LizEst

      Welcome Plevesque! We’re happy you are joining us! God bless you!

  • CLudwick

    Well, this is providential! I’m going to try to re-join you with this book. My spiritual director has asked me to read it and this is a great way to do that. Vicki, thank you for your prayers and support earlier in my family situation. It really hasn’t improved but I know that God is with us.

    • LizEst

      Welcome back CLudwick. You’ve been missed. God bless you.

  • MaggieMae

    I’ve had this book for years, never quite finished it. I’m looking forward to to picking it up once again and reading and learning from it as part of my Advent journey. 

    • You are not alone, Maggie. I also have had this Book for quite a time and I did not actually begin reading it.  Heavy reading sort of gets me muddle up….I lamely excuse myself of old age….But now that it is to be our next in the Book Club, I shall make it a must prayerful reading this Advent.

  • I’ve limped along trying to read, this Advent I’m going to try to keep up ! Janet

  • I’ve been following this website through the Newsletter, and I’m so pleased to be able to join in the book club, sharing The Imitation Of Christ. I downloaded an electronic copy by @The Catholic Primer, which is free.  My hard copy is from Image Books  @1955.  The print is rather small but it’s heavily underlined from previous attempts to read it. I’ll enjoy reading back and forth between it and the pdf version.(which will be easier to read
    .My prayer is that this reading will bring me the spiritual growth I so desire.

    • LizEst

      Welcome mejco…and we are so pleased you are joining us! God bless you! Enjoy!

  • terence muriki

    Greetings Moderator,

    I was wondering how i could join the book club

  • Ramanie

    Dear Vicki,
    Thank you for this article. I must say that Imitation of Christ is a classic and a wonderful book. I have the honor of having the book and am reading it right now. When reading the book I sometimes feel that we are so far from the kind of life it gives us as an example. Makes me realize how humble we need to be for the Lord. God bless you

  • Hi! I’d like to join you, too, if that’s okay. Patty

  • ST246

    I have had the Imitation of Christ on my Kindle for quite a while and when this book was announced as our next book I pulled it up and found that I was on chapter 10….apparently I have read AT it for quite a while. 🙂 Now I am excited to read it with this group and really dig in. My spiritual director is excited to see where this leads me in my spiritual growth.

  • Irie777

    Hello everyone, I’m a new member and will be joining in this reading of Imitation of Christ. I’ve started (and not completed) a few of my own books lately, but look forward to doing it as a group and reading your thoughts, and see what I learn through this new experience.  

    • LizEst

      Hi Irie777 and welcome! We are very happy you are joining us. God bless you!

  • novice01

    Hi, I am a new member and am excited about our new book-Imitation of Christ. I have read this book a few times but I believe I will gain more insight by sharing with the group.

    • LizEst

      Welcome novice01. We are happy to have you on with us. God bless you!

  • shellyb54

    Hi Vicki:
    I do not own the Imitation of Christ book but I do have the Imitation of Mary by Thomas Kempis which I deeply love. I hope to pick up the Imitation of Christ to follow along but was wondering if you have read the Imitation of Mary.

    You have to laugh – my name comes up “bimbo”!!!

  • Dan Paulus

    Just started reading Imitation of Christ.  I love this book and am ready to dive in head first!

  • Hello, I am new to the book club, I have read Imitation of Christ, but it has been a while. I am looking forward to reading it again with a club and learn more ! Thank you for being here.

    • LizEst

      Welcome Rebecca! We are pleased you are joining us. And, we’re looking forward to your participation. God bless you!

  • Phemmie

    I had previously read “The Journey of a Soul”. Pope John XXIII was the pope that I knew following my First Communion. I also grew up with Vatican II changes in our church. Reading that book gave me a whole new perspective on this enlightened pope. I have begun the new assignment and am anxious to share and learn.

  • linbravo

    I would like to join the book club.  How do I go about it?

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