If you are looking for a good, relatively quick, read then you could do no worse than pick up a copy of English Catholic Heroines, edited by Joanna Bogle and published by Gracewing. Follow the link here to buy direct from the publisher which includes a 10% discount. Gracewing say:
In this book a group of distinguished authors with varying interests champion the achievements of twenty-three seminal figures in the history of the English Church, from the seventh century to the present day, who through their Catholic witness have made a contribution to the spiritual, intellectual, ethical and physical welfare of the nation which can be fairly described as "heroic". Includes chapters on: St.Hilda and St.Etheldreda, Julian of Norwich, St.Margaret Clitherow, M Elizabeth Hayes, and Elinor Brent-Dyer.
The book accompanies the English Catholic Heroes edition, edited by John Jolliffe, which was also riveting stuff. The books present each of the heroes (or heroines as the case may be) in bite size chunks, very accessible and surprisingly addictive. Being more a dipper than a reader the books cater for those with busy schedules.
Of particular note, and my first dip this time around, was the chapter by Dr Judith Champ who has written on Margaret Hallahan. Margaret, it turns out, was a most determined and yet seemingly gentle woman who worked hard with William Bernard Ullathorne (later Bishop of Birmingham) at St Osburg’s parish in Coventry. Being the first tertiary Dominican in England she was, undoubtedly, a trail-blazer.
Now it happens that I was chatting with Dr Champ at my alma mater today and it was this conversation that put me in mind to write this post. If you happen to be passing a good Catholic bookstore, or want to get it on line, I highly recommend the book and don’t imagine you will be disappointed.