Friday, February 14, 2014

Saint Bernadette and Saint Joan of Arc (Pauline Books and Media)

Back in October, I had the pleasure of reviewing two graphic novels from Pauline Books and Media called Saint Francis of Assisi: Messenger of Peace and Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Leading the Way. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them, but noticed that these were geared toward boys, not that there is anything wrong with that. So I investigated their site and found two graphic novels geared toward girls called Saint Bernadette: The Miracle of Lourdes and Saint Joan of Arc: Quest for Peace. and Both of them are written by Bruno Mar and illustrated by Dominque Bar.

Saint Bernadette: The Miracle of Lourdes begins with doubt. The first apparition has already occurred at Lourdes, and Commissioner Jacomet doesn't believe any part of the story. Also among the doubters is Father Peyramale and perhaps worst of all young Bernadette's friends and family. This lack of faith of others, however, does nothing to shake her faith. She knows what she has seen, and she knows that she must keep her word to continue to visit the grotto despite being told by the police to stop. Eventually, Bernadette is able to confirm that the lady in white is indeed the Virgin Mary when she asks her name. Mary replies, "I am the Immaculate Conception."

I really wish that this book would have given more information about St. Bernadette's life before and after the Lourdes apparition. However, I did appreciate the final page of the book, which gave a paragraph summary of what happened to the major people in this event. We are also presented with key statistics on Lourdes, such as the number of yearly pilgrims and number of healings that have occurred.  information surrounding the Lourdes apparition, but very little about Bernadette. With great illustrations and a compelling story, your kids will love to learn about Our Lady of Lourdes in this graphic novel!

Saint Joan of Arc: Quest for Peace begins in the midst of the Hundred Years' War. England and France are deep in a war that has affected several generations of people. What is the motivation for this war? England is trying to gain control of France and make all their future kings, king of both England and France. France is in desperate need of a hero, a military force who will help end this war and secure victory. Little did they know that this hero would come in the form of a teenage girl named Joan.

The rest of this book then goes on and shows both battles and politics. With all her victories, people begin to wonder if Joan is actually a witch. However, it is clear that she has a close relationship with God and is a saint in the making. The politics were the saddest part of the book to me. Corrupt clergy and people in France were conspiring against Joan and France all for the love of money. The book then tragically ends with Joan being burnt at the stake. I falsely assumed that because this graphic novel was about a female saint that it would only appeal to girls. I was SORELY wrong, and I can see how it would appeal to boys and girls alike. It would also be an excellent supplement for a European or World History class to make the story of the Hundred Years' War come alive. I highly recommend this book.

Both of these books are worthy of the 5-star rating. Modern day graphic novels are full of questionable and unrealistic "superheroes," who live in a world of moral grays. These two graphic novels give us heroes of the Faith. They were ridiculed, persecuted, and endured many adversities. With God's help and guidance, they persevered and won the ultimate prize salvation and sainthood. May these books inspire us and our children to persevere in the faith and race toward the ultimate goal, our heavenly home!

If you found these reviews helpful click here and here, and hit Yes!