Saturday 17 December 2016

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues - Jean M. Heimann

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues
Servant Books a division of
ISBN 9781616368456

I have read over 80 Catholic books in the last 12 months. Over that time I have encountered numerous saints both the known and lesser known, and read a lot on the seven virtues. This is the first book that ties the two together. And Jean has created a powerful book for personal study or group study. For I doubt you can read this book and keep it theoretical. A few times while reading this book I had to stop and pray. I needed to pray to learn to live the example of the saint presented. Or pray to grow in a specific virtue. And twice I stopped to pray for specific friends that the chapter brought to mind.

The Seven saints that Jean presents as examples for us are:
Mother Teresa
John Paul II
Catherine of Siena

The Seven virtues if you need a reminder are:

And the way the two line-up is:
Mother Teresa of Calcutta - Model of Charity
St. Agnes - Model of Chastity
St. John Paul II - Model of Diligence
St. Joseph - Model of Humility
St. Catherine of Siena - Model of Kindness
St. Monica - Model of Patience
St. Augustine - Model of Temperance

Each chapter begins with a quote from the saint. This is followed by a meditation or reflection from Jean. This is followed by specific examples of the virtue and how the saints modelled it. And then each chapter concluded with a prayer. Jean has drawn from a wide variety of sources and life circumstances for the saints in this book; a bishop, a pope, 2 nuns, a young woman, a mother a father. 

Lisa M. Hendey in the beginning of the forward to this book says: "Would you consider yourself a virtuous person? If you're reading this book, perhaps your answer to that question is similar to mine: "I'm trying!" Ask most of us to paint a portrait of a "person of virtue," and we'll describe our beloved grandmother, a saintly nun or priest we know, or the second-grade teacher who prepared us for our first Holy Communion. We hold this individual in high esteem, equating their quality of character with some level of holiness we desire in our own lives. But if we're being totally honest with ourselves, perhaps we focus too often our own shortcomings, our limitations, and the sin nature that keeps us from fully giving our full "yes" to a life of virtue." And she concludes it with these words, "Will we embrace lives of vice or lives of virtue? The choice is ours. God cherishes each of us, even in our profound simplicity. Salvation awaits, and the seven virtues hold a key to our ultimate destination. I invite you to join Jean and me, the saints, and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ on the adventure of a lifetime." So the question is will you pick up the book, take and read and then embark on the adventure of trying to live the virtues and growth in saintliness. And that is the focus of the final chapter 'Saints in the Making'.

This book was a wonderful read. I really believe you will enjoy it and be challenged by it if you give it a try!

Books by Jean M. Heimann:
Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir
Fatima: The Apparition That Changed the World

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)

1 comment:

Jean Heimann said...

Thank you, Steven, for your wonderful review! This was an unexpected, but very pleasant surprise.