November 2, 2011

Saints and Stories

"A saint is a sinner who just keeps getting back up." - Brian Patrick on EWTN's Son Rise Morning Show (quoting an unknown source)

Back in May, I introduced my friend Lisa Hendey to Peace Garden Writer. Today it seemed fitting to introduce Lisa's newly released book:

As I write this, we are celebrating All Saints Day in the Catholic world. By the time you read this post, it will be All Souls Day. I can think of no more fitting time than now to have my first book giveaway of a book titled, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul, here on Peace Garden Writer!

Before I go further, I want to address my Protestant friends, who probably account for at least half my readership. Although the subject of canonized saints might feel a bit foreign and not applicable to you, I really do feel that this book and the concept of heroes -- which is really all that officially recognized saints are -- can apply to anyone regardless of particular denomination or faith.

It might be helpful to explain why I'm personally drawn to the saints. Well not all saints. We have upwards of 40,000 who have been officially recognized within our tradition over the years (we realize there are many, many more saints who have not been officially recognized). But certainly, ones who have crossed my path and held my attention for one reason or another.

Basically it comes down to the same thing that compels me to anybody and anything: story.

The saints have all led lives marked with wonderful stories! Stories of heroic virtue. Stories of ill-fated beginnings that have turned brilliantly faith-filled. Stories of despair and hope, suffering and redemption. This is the stuff good characterization is made of!

Just in case someone might feel alienated from the subject of sainthood, let me remind you, as author Thomas Caughwell did me this morning, that a good many saints have colorful histories. His book, Saints Behaving Badly: The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints, is a helpful reminder that we need not begin as a saint to become one.

Lisa's book includes stories also; inspiring stories that can help us as mothers in this journey of attempting to achieve holiness. She highlights a sampling of 52 of them, which means one saint for every week of the year. Each section is broken up into the following categories related to the relevant saint: stories, lessons, traditions, wisdom, Scripture and activities.

It's my privilege to offer a free copy of Lisa's book to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment to let me know you've stopped by, and some way of getting in touch with you, should you be chosen. Though I'll choose the winner randomly, I'd love for you to include, in your comment, the name of your favorite saint, or a saint you're interested in learning more about, and why.

Meanwhile, I'm going to be taking these saints week by week myself. I'm looking forward to hanging out with these holy men and woman of God who have so much to share with us about why it's worth it to travel the journey of faith.

I'm going to give this a couple weeks. I'll share the winner of the giveaway in the November 16 edition of Peace Garden Writer!


Rina Heisel said...

Reading your post, I had to share my recent "saint story" with you:

When we couldn't sell our house in SD, my mother-in-law brought over a statue of St. Joseph. She asked us to bury it in the yard! I had never heard of this practice. Yet we did it and said the accompanying daily prayer. Three days later- after months of no activity- a family happened to drive buy our house. They decided to put in an offer. We sold 2 days later. My mother-in-law, needless to say, was not surprised. :)

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

It would be a complete learning book for me, your Protestant reader. I'm trying to remember some of the ones you've mentioned. I think you said that Elizabeth chose Cecelia for her saint name. Do I have that right? Because of her connection to music. (or, I'm just making this up.) Is there a patron saint of the artistic muse?

Vicky said...

I have to admit, I am completely unfamiliar with Saints and their stories :) But my mind is open and I think learning can come from anyplace, sometimes especially in the places we are least exposed to. What a wonderful offering of a book!

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Rina, Mary and Vicky, you are all officially entered in the book giveaway. :)

Rina, I hear that has worked for many people, though I tried it once and it didn't work for me. But you know, when you're at a point of desperation, I say anything goes in terms of asking for spiritual help. And you just never know what our spiritual helpers can offer, especially if it's something that is part of God's plan for us.

Mary, yes, St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians! There's a patron saint for just about anyone, but thinking particularly about your love of drama, our penultimate pope, John Paul II, in his younger life was a huge thespian. You might be able to solicit him for help with your drama camp. :)

Vicky, I'm glad you showed up here. I didn't want to scare off my Protestant friends! We all have the same God, the same faith, and the saints are for everyone, Catholic or not. I hope to introduce a few of them to you, through the book or just through sharing here and there. Who can't use a hero in her life to look to for guidance, right? We have heroes on earth too, but why not gather up the whole army of helpers for the cause? :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love reading about saints. I'm not Catholic, but I have always been drawn to stories of the saints and the wonders of the rosary. I read a whole book once on the story of Saint Therese of Lisieux. What a great first giveaway, Roxane. :-)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Shannon, story lover that you are, book dreamer too, I'm not at all surprised that the story of a saint has attracted you! And St. Therese of Lisieux is a good one to begin with. You're now in the drawing. :)

N. Phillips said...

I would love to read that book! I've been looking for
Something inspiring. A girl can only read So Many romance novels! Thanks for sharing! What a neat idea!

Barb S said...

I love the saints. It is hard for me to choose just one of my favorites because I have many. One of my favorites it St. Gianna. We named our second daughter after her. My father-in-law who isn't Catholic thought that it was neat that we named our children after people with such interesting stories. I would love to have Lisa's book to continue to learn about the saints.

maria ruiz scaperlanda said...

One of my favorite saints is Teresa of Avila -- I love her spunk, her determination, and her very intimate relationship with God. She rocks! And this is a great idea, Roxane! :-)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

N. Phillips, Barb S and Maria, you're in! :) Thanks for your thoughts all. Barb, love that you have a Gianna namesake. :) She's a favorite of mine, too!

Here's an interesting reflection on saints for anyone who wants to read something about them right now:

Melanie said...

I linked over from Lisa's post on FB. I am still working my way through the saints having only recently (the last few years) embraced this aspect of our faith. The Blessed Mother is my go-to girl because she is perfect for any and every situation I find myself in. But my children are named for St. Joseph, St. Genevieve, St. Clare, and St. Jude so I am a fan of them too.

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Melanie, beautiful names! You're now in the drawing. Oh yes, The Blessed Mother, my go-to-girl too! :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Just got this on my Facebook page:

If anyone else is having problems posting a comment but wants to be included, please send your comment to my email inbox or Facebook (Beauclair Communications): Sorry for the hassle all!

The Ranch Wife Chronicles: I have read some about Saints. I find their stories inspirational and hopeful. I read a book about Saint Therese. I think there is so much to learn from her.

I had problems posting a comment on your blog. Please consider this my entry for the book giveaway. Thank You!

Amanda said...

I've been very interested in reading this book. My favorite Saints lately are St. Monica & St. Augustine. And, of course, I'm always partial to Our Blessed Mothers! :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Amanda, oh, I love them too! A mother-son pair is so inspiring! Consider yourself entered in the drawing!