Wednesday 5 September 2018

Saint Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe - Josephine Nobisso and Virginia Esquinaldo - Encounter the Saints Series Book 14

Saint Juan Diego 
and Our Lady of Guadalupe
Encounter the Saints Series Book 34
Anne Eileen Heffernan, FSP
Mary Elizabeth Tebo 
Mari Goering (Illustrator) 
Pauline Books and Media
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870643
eISBN 9780819872746

My children and I loved this book and love this series! We have now read 28 books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media. I started by reading them myself, they were books I stumbled upon about saints I wanted to know more about. But soon started reading them to and with my children. Now, my children and I are working our way through the whole series. Of the 28 book I have read the majority have been reread with one of more of my children. My Oldest and I read these books together, alternating pages. And I read them with the youngest. The middle child and I will now often read alternating pages also. I read this book with my son, after he was given a small statue of Juan Diego that was shipped to us for his prayer corner in his room. We both really appreciated the book.

I was very familiar with the name Juan Diego, and of the tilma with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe prior to reading this book. I know a number of people with a deep devotion to this image of our Lady and have seen numerous prints, paintings and photos of this image over the years. But I was unaware of the incredible story behind it. 

The chapters in this book are:
1. Back from the Dead
2. God's Great Plan
3. Serious Troubles
4. The Good News
5. Enter the Spaniards
6. A Prayer for Help
7. Aztec Life
8. The Emperor's Error
9. Tragedy!
10. The Miracle at Last
11. Mary's Second and Third Visits
12. The Sign
13. The Lady Gets Her Wish
14. Hidden Messages
15. Our Lady's Title
16. Science Proves the Miracle

The first part of this book is history, to set up the story. It gives a very clear and concise overview of the history of the Aztec people and the coming of Christianity to their lands. We are told:

"Many of the Aztecs' religious rituals resembled the sacraments of Catholicism. The Indians practiced a form of baptism, initiated (confirmed) young people, performed marriage ceremonies, and held death rites. Their very concept of offering sacrifices to their gods echoed the Eucharistic sacrifice, the Mass, in which Jesus offers himself to the Father on our behalf.

As much as the Indians' rituals made them open to learning about the sacraments, they were only shadows, signs of things to come. Once the Indians, like Juan Diego, had experienced the grace that the true sacraments bring, they were willing to suffer anything to receive this grace. Juan Diego had to walk for hours just to attend catechism classes. Many other Indians had to face the opposition of their friends and families when they converted to Christianity."

It is the tenth chapter of the book before we actually get to Juan Diego. The story is set of suffering and hardships but also of faith. It was on Saturday, December 9, 1531 that Juan first encountered out Lady. She appeared to him three times. And she asked for asked for a chapel to be built upon the hill she appeared on. And thus began the devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe that has spread around the world.

This book follows the format of all the books in the series. There is the story, a prayer and a glossary. The prayer in this book is:

"Thank you, Mary, for having visited Mexico so many years ago. Because of that visit you are the Patroness of the Americas, and we give you the title Our Lady of Guadalupe.

I know that the messages you gave Saint Juan Diego are also for all of us, your children. Help me not to be sad or disturbed by anything. Help me not to be afraid, even when bad things happen. You have told us that you are our Mother. You have promised that you will protect us. I know that you always pray to God for us.

Saint Juan, I want to love Jesus and Mary as you did. Ask God to make my faith strong. Help me to imitate you. I want to be always ready to do what God wants. Pray for me, Saint Juan. Amen."

This is the only book to date in the series written by Josephine Nobisso. It is illustrated by Virginia Esquinaldo who illustrated three other volumes. There are 5 illustrations in the volume as is the standard for the series. The illustrations are pencil sketches. The final illustration is wonderful and I would love to be able to get a print of it for my son's prayer corner. 

This book surprised both my son and I. The history was an important lesson. And the appearance of Mary to a simple farmer was heartening. We both loved this book and look forward to reading more in the series together.

A great book in an excellent series as a family we love them and recommend them to all who read to or with children.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

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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