Friday 26 October 2018

Inspiration from the Saints Stories from the Lives of Catholic Holy Men and Women - Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh

Inspiration from the Saints:
Stories from the Lives of Catholic Holy Men and Women
Maolsheachlann Ó Ceallaigh
Angelico Press
ISBN 9781621383369
ISBN 9781621383352
eISBN 9781621383376

First I must state this book was an excellent read. In fact, it was so good that I have now read it twice before attempting this review. Second, I do not really believe I can do the book justice, in a review. This book is unlike any other book I have read about saints. It is not a biography. It is not a highlight or keep features or a selection of saints. No, it is the examination of 17 topics through the eyes and lives of a wide range of saints. The short description of this book is:

“The tales told in Inspiration from the Saints cover a variety of themes in the lives of these holy men and women: their childhoods, inspirations, and deaths; their boldness and humility; their love of prayer, mortification, and the Eucharist; their urge to spread the Gospel; their family life; the impression they made upon others; and much more.”

This is a book I have already read twice and will likely re again and again. It is already in the pile beside my bed again. And I do not typically read physical books. The chapters in this book are:

 1. Childhood
 2. Sinners
 3. Inspirations
 4. Boldness
 5. In Other People’s Eyes
 6. Mortification
 7. Marriage
 8. Family
 9. Chastity
10. Losers
11. Humility
12. Catechetics
13. Evangelization
14. The Eucharist
15. Prayer
16. Mirth
17. Death
18. Afterward

And each chapter begins with a list of the saints that will be drawn upon in that section of the book. Here are a list if saints by chapter:

1. Childhood:  The visionaries of Fatima * St. Aloysius Gonzaga * Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich *St. John Berchmans * St. Miguel Pro * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
2. Sinners: St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Augustine of Hippo * St. Philip Howard * St. Bernard of Corleone * Blessed Bartolo Longo * Blessed Charles de Foucauld
3. Inspirations: St. Augstine of Hippo * St. Anthony of Egypt * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. John of God * St. Raphaela Mary of the Sacred Heart * St. Mary of the Incarnation
4. Boldness: St. Josemaria Escriva * St. John Paul II * St. Theresa of Lisieux * St. Maximilian Kolbe
5. In Other People’s Eyes:  St. Charles of Mount Argus * St. Damian of Molokai * St. Bernadette of Lourdes * St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta * St. Gemma Galgani * Blessed John Sullivan S.J.
6. Mortification: St. Junipero Serra * St. Rose of Lima * St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Catherine Ricci * St. John Paul II * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Mary of the Incarnation * St. John Berchmans * St. Jean Vianney * St. Francis Assisi
7. Marriage:  St. Louis and St. Marie Azalie Martin * Blessed Luigi Beltarme and Blessed Maria Quattrocchi * St. Elizabeth of Hungary * St. Jane Frances de Chantal * St. Joaquina of Spain * St. Elizabeth Ann Seton * St. Louis of France * St. Margart D’Youville * Blessed Paola Gambera-Costa
8. Family: St. Pappin of Ballymum * St. Benedict and St. Scholastica * St. Francis of Assisi * St. Thomas Aquinas * St. Rose of Lima * St. Germaine de Pibrac * Blessed Laura Vicuna * St. Thomas More
9. Chastity:  Blessed John Henry Newman * St. Aloysius Gonzaga * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity * St. Alphonsa of India * St. Maria de las Maravillas Pidal Chico de Guzman * St. Maria Goretti * Blessed Antonia Messina * St. Charles Lwanga * St. Bernard of Clairvaux * St. Frances Xzavier Cabrini * St. Padre Pio * Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
10. Losers:  St. Joseph of Cupertino * St. Jean Vianney * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Charles of Mount Argus * Blessed Mariano da Roccacasale * St. Benedict Joseph Labre * Blessed Margaret of Castello * Blessed Solanus Casey
11. Humility:  St. Gemma Galgani * St. Clement Hofbauer * St. Maximilian Kolbe * St. Catherine Laboure * Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich * St. John Berchmans * St. Raphaela Mary of the Sacred Heart * St. Nimatullah Hardini * St. Crispin of Viterbo * St. Peter of Alcantara * St. Francis of Borgia * St. Charles Borromeo
12. Catechetics:  St. Marcellin Champagnat * Blessed Josefa Naval Girbes * St. John Bosco * St. John Neumann * St. Louise de Marillac * Blessed Edmund Rice * Blessed Cesar de Bus * St. John Paul II * St. George Preca
13. Evangelization:  St. Louis Bertrand * St. Joseph Freinademetz * St. Jean Vianney * St. Rose of Lima * St. Paul of Tarsus * St. Philip Neri * Blessed John Henry Newman * Blessed Giacomo Alberione
14. The Eucharist:  Blessed John Henry Newman * St. Peter Julian Eymard * St. Mary Euphrasia Pelletier * St. Rose of Lima * St. Alphonsus Liguori * St. John Berchmans * St. Pius X * St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Gemma Galgani * Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Cost * St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
15. Prayer:  St. Therese of Lisieux * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta * St. Peter of Alcantara * St. Jean Vianney * St. Elizabeth Ann Seton * St. Andre Besette * Blessed John Sullivan * St. Teresa of Avila * St. John Paul II * St. John XXIII * St. Padre Pio * St. Joseph Cottolengo * Blessed Ceferino Gimenez Malla
16. Mirth:  St. Philip Neri * St. Miguel Pro * St. Bernadette Soubirous * St. Teresa of Avila * Blessed John Henry Newman * St. John XXIII * St. Maria Mazzerrello
17. Death:  St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort * St. Louise de Marillac * St. Robert Southwell * St. Joseph Pignatelli * St. John Berchmans * St. Oliver Plunkett * St. Josemaria Escriva * St. Gemma Galgani * St. John Paul II * St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Across the 17 chapters 147 saints are examined. Some I have a particular devotion to, some I was familiar with, and a few were completely new to me. Maolsheachlann made sure that he stuck with only recognized saints and blesseds. Even if you remove saints or blessed that appear more than once we have a list of 108. And some of the saints appear up to five times.

This book is written from a place of a great deal of research. But also, a deep devotion. It is an excellent read. There are only really two things that I think would make it even better. First, I would love to see an index in a future edition of the book. Based on the numbers above it would be great to be able quickly find sections about specific saints. Second inside the cover of the book there is an ISBN for an eBook edition, but at the writing of this review it is unpublished and no response from the publisher when I inquired about it. I know a few people I would give the eBook to as soon as it came available. But even with that being said this is an amazing read.

The afterword of this book states:

“Let us again contemplate the passage from the book of the Apocalypse with which I began this book, which is read from the altar on All Saints Day:

‘After this I had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.
They cried out in a loud voice;
“Salvation comes from our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and from the Lamb.’

The history of the Catholic Church is the greatest love story ever told. The saints were lovers, consumed by the love of Christ. They beckon us to emulate the love. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

“I have come to bring fire to the earth,” said Jesus. Such a fire burned in the hearts of saints, and in their lives, and in their words. My hope is that some of this fire emanates from the pages of this book, too.
Viva Cristo Rey! Long reign Jesus Christ the King!”

It should be noted that the appendix mentions a number of people whose cause has begun but do not yet have the title servant of God. And the majority of that appendix is dedicated to G.K. Chesterton.  One of the best books about saints I have read. It is a book I will give away frequently as gifts and reread again and again. An excellent read well worth pursuing.

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

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