Friday 17 December 2021

Saint Julie Billiart The Smiling Saint - Mary Kathleen Glavich and James Bentley - Encounter the Saints Series Book 11a

Saint Julie Billiart: 
The Smiling Saint
Encounter the Saints Series Book 11a
James Bentley (Illustrator)
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819870506
Independently Published Edition
ISBN 9798556365223

This book was a surprise for me. I had a list from the publisher and had read them all and was just finishing up the last 2 reviews and stumbled upon this volume. This Pauline Books and Media Edition of this book was published in 2005, there was an earlier edition by Turtleback Books in 2002. And in 2020 the author republished it herself, as it had been removed from print, and even number 11, given to another volume in the series.

I believe I have now read all of the books in this series. This is an excellent read! As a family we have read all books in this series many of them multiple times. I started reading them myself reading books on Saint Damien of Molokai and Saint Edith Stein Blessed by the Cross. Then started reading them with my three youngest children. My children and I love this series. We have read many of the books more than once. I do not recall encountering Saint Julie Billiart previously. I really enjoyed reading this book, finding out about this saint and all the trials she encountered. 

I have said it before and I say it again, this is an excellent series is! With my three children and I we have now read all of the books in this series. I have read them either by myself, or with one or more child. My youngest 2 children current ages 14, 11, still both love these books. And they have read or reread them frequently. My son wants to have the complete set in his room, so he keeps asking to buy his own copies, he loves these books so much. We have picked up several volumes to donate to the school library. I would love to have the whole set in the school library as a resource when the students are picking confirmation saints. With each reading of a book in this series we appreciate this series more. And though only one book has been released since we started reading them a few years ago, we hope there will be more books released in the series in the future. I would love to see how this series handles Saint Josemaria Escriva, Blessed Carlo Actus, … and many more. We would also like to eventually see eBooks of all of the volumes in the series. With my dyslexia and my son’s eye tracking issues we both prefer eBooks where we can change page color, font size and font spacing. This book has an eBook listed, it is a rerelease and not specifically part of the series. 

Now back to this specific book on Saint Julie Billiart. 

The description of this volume is:

“During the French Revolution, Saint Julie Billiart began her own revolution. With a good friend she opened schools for poor girls and founded the Sisters of Notre Dame, a religious community that departed from traditional ones. Although paralyzed for twenty-three years, she was consumed with zeal for teaching the faith to people who had been deprived of it for years. While suffering physically, persecuted by revolutionaries and clergy, and criticized by her own Sisters, Julie never failed to proclaim, "How good is the good God!" Remarkably, after a miraculous healing at the age of fifty-two, Julie made 120 journeys, often on foot, to found houses and schools in France and Belgium. Her entire life is nothing short of a miracle.

And the description of the Encounter the Saints series is:

“The Encounter the Saints series offers intermediate readers relatable portrayals of the saints. Each story, in a handy format, vividly recreates the saint's place of origin, family life, and corresponding historical events.”

The chapters in this volume are:

1 Sunshine 
2 Playing School 
3 Thieves 
4 Off to Work 
5 A Smiling Sufferer 
6 The Revolution 
7 Escape! 
8 Françoise 
9 Flight Again 
10 A New Community 
11 The Miracle 
12 Teaching 
13 Troubles 
14 To Namur 
15 Energy 
16 Journeys 
17 Back to Amiens 
18 Visit to the Pope 
19 War 
20 Suspicion 
21 With the Good God 
Prayer 89

The prayer in this volume is:

“Dear St. Julie, you always looked to God as faithfully as a sunflower always follows the sun across the sky.

All your life you loved God and showed this love by prayer and action. Even in the midst of great sufferings and trials you still proclaimed, “How good God is.”

Your greatest joy was to tell others about the good God. Please ask God to give me strong faith. Pray that I may be aware of God’s goodness in my life. I want to be like you and share with others the Good News of God’s goodness and loving care whenever and however I can.

Then someday I may be with you, basking in the radiance of God’s love forever.

I highlighted a few passages my first read through and two of them are:

In the garden Julie noticed how sunflowers turn their heads to follow the sun as it moves across the sky—even on cloudy days. Julie wanted to imitate them. Just as the sunflowers always face the sun, Julie would live always looking to God. Later she taught that to be holy is to be simple. She explained, “To be simple is to be like a sunflower which follows all the movements of the sun and ever turns toward it.” This idea became a motto that guided Julie’s life: “God alone.””

For Julie, faith was more than prayer. It was a whole way of life and was shown in action by living as Jesus did. Julie visited sick villagers and cared for them. Sometimes her parents let her stay all night with someone who was very sick or dying. People began to call Julie “the saint of Cuvilly.””

Each volume in the series has 5 illustrations. This is the only volume illustrated by James Bentley, and they are excellent full page illustrations. This volume also contains a map highlight key places in the saints life. The reprint edition has photos of buildings, places, and portraits throughout the volume. My children enjoy these books so much they always read through the whole Glossary. And the prayer and glossary is at the end of each edition.

This book is very moving read. Learning about Saint Julie Billiart will bless any reader, but especially those with medical issues or with friends and family with them. I have now read all of the books in the Encounter the Saints Series from Pauline Books and Media we are still enthralled by these volumes. This book and all in the series are great read and would be wonderful additions to a home, school, or church library. Each book has been worth the read. It is an excellent read in a wonderful series! And I am thankful the author has republished it.

Please Note: I discovered recently that most of the eBook editions are no long available for this series. In fact I could only find a handful of the over 20 volumes that had been available electronically. I do not know why this is the case but I consider it a great loss. A loss for people with reading issues like my son and I, for others with learning disabilities, and for those in different geographic regions.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books about the North American Saints and Martyrs:

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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