Wednesday 27 June 2018

Saints of North America - Jean Olwen Maynard - Catholic Truth Society

Saints of North America
Jean Olwen Maynard
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784691707
eISBN 9781784692353

First this is an excellent little read. I believe anyone who read this book will be inspired, encouraged and challenged. But it is not comprehensive. And therefore I want to start this review with a quote from the afterword:

"Such a short booklet can be no more than an introduction to the saints of North America. If it's caught your interest, do try to find out more. It's necessarily had to be selective, and not everyone will agree with the selection. It wasn't possible even to include all the canonised and beatified figures - among them St John Neumann's curate, Fr Francis Seelos, who was beatified in 2000, or Fr Stanley Rother, the Oklahoma farm boy martyred in Guatemala in 1981, whose beatification is expected in 2017 - or so much as look at the saints of Mexico. The full list of people who were important for the Catholic history of the US and Canada, and for whom causes have been opened or proposed, is long and fascinating: it includes Frs Eusebio Kino and Fr Frederic Baraga, who've been mentioned here, but it also includes Dorothy Day and Fulton Sheen (on whom CTS booklets are available); Fr Augustine Tolton, the first black US priest; Sr Blandina Segale, who took on Billy the Kid; Catherine de Hueck Doherty; Georges and Pauline Vanier; and many, many more."
And Jean is correct, this little volume could not possible capture all the saints, blessed and venerable of North America. To be honest no single book can, an entire encyclopedia would be needed to do just ice to all the holy men and women who are from North America or who served there. But this book does do an amazing job to give a cross section of men and women who served and of many who gave their life for service to Christ.

The chapters in this book are:
The Gospel in New France
Outposts of New Spain
The Age of Revolution
The Melting Pot that Wasn't
Two Nations under God

This book is a great little read. You will encounter so many fascinating saints, and amazing stories. I doubt you could read this book and not pick one or two or a few saints to learn more about. This book breaks using geographic and time as a way to group these saints. Living in Canada and having gone to Catholic School I was surprised by how many saints in this book I was unaware of. I was familiar with a few saints in this booklet. I had previously read books or 4 or 4 of the saints. A few I was aware of, my almost half of the saints I have not encountered before.

Jean Olwen Maynard has written a wonderful book. As soon as I had finished it I picked up a couple more by her to add to my to be read pile. It is written in a very engaging manner, I found it hard to put this book down, and yet because of the size it can easily be read in a single afternoon or over a few days. Maynard presents the saints is such an engaging manner that it is like sitting and chatting about old friend. Reading this is a way to catch up with what God was doing in North America during the early years. An excellent read I highly recommend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Published work by Jean Olwen Maynard:
Privately published by religious orders/parishes:
Greyfriars Convent, Elgin (2006)
A History of St Mary and St Michael’s Parish, Commercial Road, East London (2007)
Sisters of Mercy Bristol (2008)
150 Years of Mercy: A History of the Sisters of Mercy Commercial Road East London (2009)
The Saint of Hoxton (2011)
Saint Monica’s Church Hoxton Square (2018) 
150th anniversary history brochure for Parish of Guardian Angels, Mile End (2018)
150th anniversary history brochure for Parish of Our Lady and St Catherine of Sienna, Bow (2020) 
Immaculate Heart of Mary and St Dominic, Homerton 1873-2023 – 150 Years: A History of the Parish (2023)

CTS Booklets:
Isidore Bakanja 
Joseph Vaz

Between Christendom and Islam, The Martyr Mystic Christian de Chergé and the Atlas Cistercians in Algeria, in: Catholic in Religious Dialogue: Monasticism, Theology and Spirituality, ed Anthony O’Mahoney and Peter Bowe OSB, Gracewing, 2006
Campaign for the Catholic Workhouse Children, in: British Catholic History, Vol 31: Issue 4 Oct 2015

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