Tuesday 5 September 2017

Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier - Susan Helen Wallace and Ray Morelli - Encounter the Saints Book 7

Saint Joan of Arc: 
God's Soldier
Encounter the Saints Series Book 7
Susan Helen Wallace 
Ray Morelli (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870339
eISBN 9780819871763

My family and I love this series, but I must admit this was a harder book to read. Part of my hesitation was knowing what was coming and my expectations of how the children would react. However this book does a masterful job or presenting the life and death of Joan in such a way that even children can appreciate it greatly.  We have now read more than half of this series, and to be honest with each new book I have a greater appreciation for the series. When I was doing a degree in Religious Studies, there was a course offered on Joan of Arc, I could never fit it in my schedule, but did get the syllabus and read through the course one term for fun. I believe this book would have been a great book to begin that course with. For this book takes the life and death of Joan and presents them with pure faith, simple trust, and deep devotion much like the example that Joan lived. 

As a family we loved this book and the whole series. The Encounter the Saints Series, from Pauline Books and Media, and consider them wonderful reads. The series is written for younger readers, but so well written it can be appreciated by anyone who wants to grown in knowledge of a specific saint or learn from the examples of the 37 saints in the series to date. I love reading these books with my children, but need to be upfront and say I am well ahead of them in working my way through the series because I just cannot put them down. But now onto specifics about this book and Saint Joan of Arc.

The chapters in this book about Saint Joan of Arc are:
1. A Nightmare Comes True
2. The Voice
3. The Saints
4. Too Incredible!
5. A Second Try
6. The Dauphin
7. "My Good Duke"
8. Sword and Banner
9. On the March
10. Orleans
11. Victory
12. Last Chance…
13. The Battle
14. Coronation Day
15. A Broken Heart
16. Captured!
17. Failed Escape
18. The Trial
19. The Verdict
20. A Mother's Grief, a Father's Pain
21. To Heaven
22. Restored Honor

This book is different than many in the series as there is no prologue. It jumps right in. The story begins with Joan at a young age being afraid of lighting the fire. It also begins with a debate between her parents Jacques who believes his wife Isabelle is too soft on Joan. But as we know looking back across time Joan becomes anything but soft. Joan becomes a warrior, she rallies a nation. She leads armies; she helps to free France from English oppression. But she only does it because God is leading her. For not only did she see the success she knew what was coming:
Meanwhile, her voices continued to speak to her. "Joan," they told her, "you will be captured before the feast of Saint John. But do not be afraid. God will help you."
And those words were what guided most of Joan's life. Be not afraid God is with you. And that is the lesson my children and I needed to be reminded of from reading this book.  This prayer at the end of this book is one of the ones that is identical to the one in The Saints Pray for Us. So they have encountered this prayer before and prayed it from the prayer book. But they still loved it especially my youngest daughter.

Saint Joan, your life was really one of love, faith and courage. It took so much of all three to do everything that God asked of you! 
God will probably never ask me to lead an army to free my country. And I'll never be visited by angels or saints. But God does want me to love and obey him before anyone or anything else, just as you did. 
Help me to know God's will, Saint Joan, and to do it well. Help me never to avoid doing what I know is right and pleasing to God because I'm afraid of what others will say or think of me. 
Give me the courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads. Pray for me, Saint Joan. Amen.

This is one of eight books in the series written by Susan Helen Wallace, FSP. It is very well written, especially considering the life and especially death it is portraying. And we still have 6 other books by her left to read in the series. The book contains 5 illustrations by Ray Morelli. They are in a pen and ink style. They are a little cartoonish or caricature-ish.  They were not our favorites. My children were surprised there was not one of her with her sword. Or one of her with her Banner especially after the chapter about how the sword was obtained.

This book is a wonderful portrayal of Saint Joan of Arc's life. It captures the essence without going into a lot of the extraneous stuff, especially for younger readers.

There are currently 37 books in this series, including The Saints Pray for Us. I have read a number of these books on my own and also about half of them with my children.  My oldest who is 11 can read them to us. She has read them to me and also helped me read them to the younger children. My son who is 9 can read them with some help on the more difficult words, but he really enjoys just listening to these powerful stories. My youngest who is 6 loved the story, and while reading this one held her pink play sword. This book is part of the Encounter the Saints Series; from Pauline Books and Media, and this book is an inspiring read as is the entire series!  Our family gives them five stars.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

Other books about Joan of Arc:

Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media:
Blessed James Alberione Media Apostle
Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Journey to the Summit
Journeys with Mary Apparitions of Our Lady
Saint André Bessette Miracles in Montreal
Saint Anthony of Padua Fire and Light
Saint Bakhita of Sudan Forever Free
Saint Bernadette Soubirous And Our Lady of Lourdes
Saint Catherine Labouré And Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal
Saint Clare of Assisi A Light for the World
Saint Damien of Molokai Hero of Hawaii
Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Daughter of America
Saint Faustina Kowalska Messenger of Mercy
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Cecchina's Dream
Saint Francis of Assisi Gentle Revolutionary
Saint Gianna Beretta Molla The Gift of Life
Saint Ignatius of Loyola For the Greater Glory of God
Saint Isaac Jogues With Burning Heart
Saint Joan of Arc God's Soldier
Saint John Bosco Champion for the Young
Saint John Neumann Missionary to Immigrants
Saint John Paul II Be Not Afraid
Saint John Vianney A Priest for All People
Saint Juan Diego And Our Lady of Guadalupe
Saint Kateri Tekakwitha: Courageous Faith
Saint Katharine Drexel The Total Gift
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque And the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin de Porres Humble Healer
Saint Maximilian Kolbe Mary's Knight
Saint Paul The Thirteenth Apostle
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina Rich in Love
Saint Teresa of Avila Joyful in the Lord
Saint Teresa of Calcutta Missionary of Charity
Saint Teresa of Kalkota Missionary of Charity

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