Devotions for College
Book Pick: Prayers, Papers Play: Devotions for Every College Student
Prayers, Papers & Play
Devotions for Every College Student
By Barbara Canale
192 pages, $10.99
To order: liguori.org
Canale touches on the many ups and downs of collegiate life, such as peer pressure, student stress, campus life and independence. She especially encourages students to place faith and prayer at the top of their to-do lists.
Canale originally wrote the devotions for her daughter while she attended college in northern New York because there wasn’t a Newman Center on campus.
The book’s layout consists of a daily devotion from August-December and January-May, the usual at-college months. She also includes special sections for Christmas and summer breaks. Each day’s reflection comprises a Scripture reference, reflection and prayer. A focus on the lives of the saints helps the reader to understand that holiness is for everyone.
Canale emphasizes the importance of selflessness, unconditional love, honesty, thanksgiving, trust and faithfulness. She also encourages students to lift up every trial and tribulation to Jesus, particularly those associated with homesickness and the stresses of studying.
Canale tells students in her November portion of the book, “Suffering through stress and studies are temporary. What can you do today to minimize the misery? How can you embrace this stage of your life? What blessing from God can you dwell on to get through this difficulty?” Following this excerpt, she adds a small prayer to help struggling students: “Strengthen me, dear Lord, as I struggle through my studies and wrestle to maintain focus on all that is good and right in this world. Keep my motivations and concentration strong. Thank you for reminding me to pray today, for I know that prayer builds resilience. With you at my side, I can do anything.”
This book is perfect for any young college student, particularly those leaving home for the first time. Students will enjoy the personal style of this devotional. Having graduated from college recently, I would have found this book extremely helpful.
The only criticism I have concerning Canale’s work would be its lack of emphasis on the need to discern one’s vocation. College students are in a state of life where discernment is of vital importance. This book could have been a great opportunity for Canale to expand on this topic.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to students. As a university campus minister, if I could buy one copy for every student, I would.
To all parents, campus ministers, priests and religious: Consider purchasing copies of this book for the students involved in your ministries. You are not just purchasing a book — you are purchasing the possibility of leading a young person deeper into his or her faith.
Jacqueline Burkepile is a
campus minister at
St. John Paul II University Parish
and Campus Ministry in
Denton, Texas, which serves the
University of North Texas and
Texas Woman’s University.
- Jan. 25-Feb. 7, 2015