Bishop Nash launches The Magna Anima (A large soul) by Father Billy Swan

1 Jul, 2024 | Bishops, Church, News

On Friday last, 21st June, Bishop Ger Nash of Ferns launched the latest book from Father Billy Swan (pictured with Bishop Nash) entitled The Magna Anima’: How Christian Faith Revives and Expands the Soul. Published by Saint Pauls, the launch took place in Clayton White’s Hotel and was attended by about 200 people.

In his address at the launch, Father Swan reminded his audience that the life of the mind is always at the service of the life of witness and mission.  He expressed the hope that the book will enrich the faith of adults, especially those who are discerning vocations as catechists.

The book is a series of 25 articles that have already been digitally published on Bishop Robert Barron’s ‘Word on Fire’ website (  The theme that unites all 25 is that of magnanimity and the basic idea that Christian faith is like air coming into a balloon – it not only expands the human soul but breathes new life into our lives too.

Father Swan said, “One of the defining features of our culture today is the strong focus on the individual self and one’s autonomy.  However, when this freedom becomes the most important thing above all others, then trouble ensues.  One problem is that in our determination to be free, we mark exclusive boundaries around ourselves that are drawn up by our own fears and desires.  And when we stay within than narrow space, we can easily become blinded to the needs of those around us.

In contrast, the ‘Magna Anima’ or a large soul, takes the risk to love, to serve and go on mission.  With Mary, the Mother of Jesus, such a soul Magnifies the Lord as it rejoices in God, causing it to revive and expand in a way that makes room for God and for others.  The Magnanimous person puts his/her own self-preservation last and takes the risk to respond to God’s invitation to go on mission, to take that chance, to have the courage to leave the safety of the harbour and to put out into the deep water of adventure.  The person with a soul inflated with the Spirit of God knows that this might be the more difficult path but in the words of the late Pope Benedict, we are not made for comfort but for greatness”.

The Magna Anima’: How Christian Faith Revives and Expands the Soul is available for purchase at Saint Pauls at



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