1st Edition

Faithful Careers Integrating the Catholic Faith and Work

By Peter M. Smudde Copyright 2021
    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    132 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Faithful Careers Peter M. Smudde contends that God calls us to live an "integrated life" that unifies both the spiritual and the secular aspects of life.

    As an introduction to integrating the Catholic faith with one’s work, this book answers, in the Catholic context, basic questions of what work is, why work is important, who we are as workers, how may we have fruitful careers, where may we find help about faith-work integration, and when we should take next steps toward better integrating our work and the Catholic faith. Smudde demonstrates how the Catholic faith truly does apply to our labor, and that our lives depend on that labor, by putting forth particular matters of the faith that pertain to faithful careers. He then puts into real-world context, pertinent teachings, concepts, principles, practices, and other means the Catholic Church provides for us, so that those lessons can be practically applied on a daily basis. Sources such as the Bible and writings of the saints, popes, contemporary Catholic spiritual writers, apologists, and scholars are applied to strengthen the support made about the book’s content.

    Catholic professionals at all stages of their careers will welcome this insightful book, which explores the call to put spirituality in the foreground—to obtain ever-deeper faith and, thereby, greater integration of faith in everyday life and career.

    Introduction: Faith and Work Need to be Integrated

    1. What Is Work?

    2. Why Is Work Important?

    3. Who Are We as Workers?

    4. How May We Have Faithful Careers?

    5. Where May We Find Help?

    6. When Do We Take the Next Steps?

    Prayer for Working Well for God in His Vineyard

    References and Selected Sources

    Appendix: Recommended Sources About the Catholic Faith


    Peter M. Smudde is Professor and Associate Director of the School of Communication at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. He has worked for 34 years in industry and in academia (basically half the time in one and half in the other) as a professional communicator. He has been a full-time professor in higher education since 2002 and has had numerous publications, including six other books. He has a doctorate in communication and rhetoric theory from Wayne State University in Detroit, is a member of the Knights of Columbus (fourth-degree), is a member of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, is a sacristan for his parish, is an Oblate in the Order of St. Benedict (Obl.OSB), and has been a leader for several years in his parish’s program for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

     Dr. Smudde is available to lead workshops or speak to groups about integrating the Catholic faith with their work. He can be reached at [email protected].

    "In this fine work, Prof. Smudde fills an important niche within the broad dialogue surrounding the integration of faith into one’s vocational career path. Faithful Careers will serve as a powerful discernment tool to help anyone interested in the Catholic faith to first become well informed about the rich spirituality and theology of human labor and then to apply that experience in making wise and holy career choices. The practical points for prayer and suggested plans for action that are included with each chapter will systematically direct readers along a vocational journey that renders daily life more meaningful as the workplace becomes more faith full."

    Fr. John Kartje, Rector, Mundelein Seminary

    "In Faithful Careers Pete Smudde shares his Catholic journey in a poignant and thoughtful narrative .He clearly lays out a foundational truth about the Catholic faith: To be a faithful worker is to work at one's own faith .In sharing his own reflections on the integration of work and faith, Smudde encourages every Catholic to find their faith in their work and to see it not simply as a job, but as a vocation we are called to by God .He carefully and cogently wields scripture and Catholic teachings not for a theological argument, but for an exercise in deep personal introspection .This is a must read for any Catholic, and any person seeking to find meaning in their daily efforts."

    Joseph M. Valenzano III, Ph.D., Professor, University of Dayton

    "Dr. Smudde has shown a spotlight on the importance of understanding God’s will from a holistic vantage point and integrating that knowledge in all aspects of our lives especially our work world. Our Catholic faith can’t be siloed, but rather, it needs to be a part of the very blood and sinew of our everyday lives. Dr. Smudde highlights the significance of utilizing the gifts and talents that God has given us while staying connected to God through daily prayer will not only yield amazing results for us individually, but more importantly, working together as a Catholic community will reveal God’s designs beyond anything we could ever fathom."

    Dan Wagner, Government Relations Professional

    "In 2020, the world of work turned upside down with many going remote full time. Removed from the day-to-day in my office with my team, I had a lot more quiet time. Questions of, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘What do I *really* do?’, ‘Do I have the right focus in life?’, ‘Do my career goals align with the teachings of my Catholic faith or do they hinder my spiritual growth?’, became louder when the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago retreated inside amid the COVID-19 pandemic. I needed a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment professionally, and Faithful Careers offered the right insights and guidance to give me renewed perspective. Through the chapters’ content to the questions for meditation and suggested activities for application, I feel spiritually empowered in my career!"

    Kaitlin Nickrent Saldanha, Marketing Manager

    "This book is a must read for Catholic professionals looking to meaningfully connect their work and religious lives. The insights shared from both church leaders and accomplished experts gives a deeper understanding to how these two worlds are really one and the importance of recognizing how they build each other up. And, the best part of the book is the interactive breaks throughout that create an opportunity for personal reflection and transformation."

    Marrison Worthington Biel, Manager of Public Affairs

    "This book is a must-read for Catholics seeking a greater understanding of the role work plays in our lives and in our faith. Dr. Smudde beautifully weaves Church teaching with practical guidance for the reality of today's workplace. He demonstrates how our faith and our work can and should be united in giving glory to God, contributing to the common good, fostering personal holiness, and leading others to Christ."

    Kris Kranenburg, Catholic Speaker, Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation

    "Faithful Careers, by Pete Smudde, Ph.D., is an exquisite triumph giving clear direction on why and how we can hide our lives in Christ and still manage our careers. According to Dr. Smudde, the corporate world had effectively banished God from the workplace, only to discover that workers who put God first are actually more productive. Dr. Smudde’s long journey and depth of research behind this book come to life as crystal clear, actionable ways we can transform our work lives into something beautiful. The application of Bible verses, papal encyclicals, commandments, virtues, the Beatitudes, and more inspire the young and old alike in completely new ways."

    Angela Jeffrey, Vice President Brand Management

    "The timing of Faithful Careers is ideal for those looking to transition their professional lives into something more meaningful. The global pandemic has hastened people of all faiths to make a career shift. Many have been laid off and are incredibly frustrated by Internet-driven searches that rarely land a position. For Catholics who see that ending as a potential new beginning, Faithful Careers provides meaningful guidance for broadening their thinking and figuring out what that next step could be. The book’s organization of what, why, who, how, where, and when of integrating the Catholic faith and work, along with ‘scriptural sparks’ and a highly applied (vs. theological) approach, will prove beneficial for readers and seekers."

    Sandra Duhé, Ph.D., MBA, Southern Methodist University

    "Work is an integral part of what it means to be human. God endowed each of us with the right and obligation to work even before it became a burden-- whether it is work in our "career" or work in another domain. Dr. Smudde guides the reader on a journey to understand how work can often be misunderstood and how we might miss opportunities to sanctify moments of ordinary work. Dr. Smudde shares the richness of the Catholic tradition's understanding of the nature of work and offers an invitation to pause and listen to God's call on our life's work."

    Dawn Carpenter Ph.D., Practitioner Fellow, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University; Host and Executive Producer, What Does It Profit? Podcast


    "We don't just bring our mind and body to the workplace. We bring our spirit as well. The office, the factory, the classroom, the retail shop, the trading floor are the crucibles in which our faith is often tested, but also the ground where we pass on our values, plant seeds of hope and lay stones for the kingdom of God. The beauty of this book is that it does not approach work and faith as an abstract idea or some hoped for combination, but as a reality shared by thousands of people who seek the preach the gospel not by words but the witness of their lives. The Catholic Church has a long tradition of recognizing the spirituality of work and Faithful Careers explores that theological grounding while offering practical guidance for how to be a person of faith at work. A must read for all who believe as this book shows that being religion is not incompatible with a successful career."

    Judith Valente, former religion correspondent for PBS-TV and author of The Art of Pausing: Meditations for the Overworked and Overwhelmed and How to Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community.