Tuesday 29 September 2020

Brave Leader, Big Heart - Father Juan Velez - St. John Henry Newman’s Adventures

Brave Leader, Big Heart:
St. John Henry Newman’s Adventures
ISBN 9781594173875
eISBN 9781594173882

This book is an excellent read. It is written for tweens and teens, but anyone would benefit from reading this volume. Over the last few years I have read several books by and about Saint John Henry Newman. And with everything I read I have a greater appreciation for the man, his life, his wisdom, and the need of his example today. The description of this volume is:

“Brave Leader, Big Heart invites young readers to meet this new saint, John Henry Newman. Far from being a distant academic, he was a happy child, a thoughtful young man, a warm friend, and an affectionate brother. With his pen, he helped start a movement that would change lives. As a Catholic priest, his courage and warmth led many to seek his guidance. His heart can still speak to hearts today.”

And I completely agree his heart does speak to us today. And as he faced difficulties and conflict in his life. So are many Catholics who are living out their faith today. The chapters in the volume are:

1Christian Heroes
2 Spy Club
3 A Big Discovery
4 Growing in Valor at Trinity College
5 Reforming Oriel College
6 Newman’s Mediterranean Trip
7 Reviving the Anglican Church
8 The Decision to Become Roman Catholic
9 From Oxford to the City of Rome
10 Helping Irish Immigrants in Birmingham
11 The First Catholic University in Ireland
12 Starting a Medical School
13 The Pen as Weapon: The Rambler and Kingsley Affairs
14 Boys Are Boys: The Oratory School in Birmingham
15 Always Writing Letters and Books
16 Newman Becomes a Cardinal of the Church
17 Ready for Heaven: His Last Mass, 1890
18 Verses and Prayers of St. John Henry Newman

Even with all that I have read about Newman over the last few years, there was much that was new in this volume. It is written in such a way as to grab the attention of readers and not let go. I could hardly put the book down, and read in it 2 sittings. 

This book is one of the best biographies of Newman that I have read to date. It is easily accessible. Follow Newman through his growth into manhood. His ministry, his conversion to Catholicism. And his deeply devout life. The collection of poems and prayers at the end are worth the price of the book alone. I loved this book and look forward to reading it again with my children, especially my son. An excellent biography of this saint. I highly recommend it. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by Father Juan Velez:
Holiness in a Secular Age: The Witness of Cardinal Newman
Passion for Truth: The Life of John Henry Newman 

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