Monday, June 13, 2016

Saints by Our Side (Pauline Books and Media)

When we think about saints, we are often intimidated by them. Most of us have an unrealistic expectation that saints walked around this earth (or floated) and were holy all the time. In reality, they were people just like you and me. Today, I would like to share with you two books about two amazing female saints - Elizabeth Ann Seton and Therese of Lisieux.

The book Elizabeth Ann Seton begins with an introduction on how the author, Anne Merwin, first became aware of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and how events in her life connected her to this saint. The first few chapters give us a background on Elizabeth and her husband's parents and lineage. It was here that I learned that her husband, William, had an ancestor who was a lady-in-waiting to Mary Queen of Scots. We learn of the marriage of William and Elizabeth, their five children, and sadly William's early death. It was his death and their financial circumstances that led to Elizabeth taking up a teaching job.This was not the only sadness the family would experience as Anna (one of the children) would die of tuberculosis. In addition to learning about her time in a religious order and her mission, we learn about the lasting impact she had after her death, which included affordable Catholic education and social services that religious sisters provided.

The book Therese of Lisieux begins with her birth and gives us some brief information on her parents, Louis and Zelie Martin. Louis was 49 and Zelie was 41 at the time of Therese's birth. They had four other daughters at the time that were living and there were three children that died as infants and one that died at age five. We also learn that Zelie documented stories of Therese as a child that would later show how she chose to live her life in devotion to Christ. In this book, we see how Therese lived somewhat of a dual existence. She was still a child and acted like a child in many ways, but she was also a holy being who was attune to God. Much of this, as noted in the book, can be attributed to her family, which is full of saints and near-saints. The main focus of this book, however, is Therese's gaze to Carmel and becoming a Bride of Christ, which she eventually experience, but much later in life than she liked.

Both books, Elizabeth Ann Seton and Therese of Lisieux, belong to the "series" entitled Saints by Our Side. I say "series," because at the moment, they are the only two in it. Perhaps, there will be more in the near future. What I liked best about these books is that there are equal parts biography and spiritual biography. Due to the saints chosen, I would say these books are more geared towards women than men, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't benefit men to read these books as well. These would be excellent editions to a home, school, or parish library as your tween could read either of these books for a good role model or even a Confirmation saint.

These books were provided to me for free by Pauline Books and Media in exchange for an honest review. If you found these reviews helpful, please click here and/or here and hit Yes!