Tuesday 31 October 2023

Unbreakable: Saints Who Inspired Saints to Moral Courage - Kimberly Begg

Unbreakable Saints Who Inspired Saints to Moral Courage
Leila Miller (Forward)
ISBN 9781505126099
eISBN 9781505126112

I recognized Saint Joan of Arc on the cover as soon as I saw this book. And having read several books about Joan over the last year I was instantly attracted. Once I read what the book was about I had an even greater desire to read it. 

The description of this volume states:

“In the battle for our children’s souls, Catholic parents have a key advantage over the world: our children were made for heaven. God willed us to exist now—in a world that celebrates sin as virtue and punishes Christians as “haters”—as part of his merciful plan. Unbreakable helps Catholic parents raise strong children able to resist the soul-endangering temptation to “get along” to “get ahead” in the world.

Recognizing that what occupies our children’s imagination is of profound importance, this book tells the stories of four of the Church’s most courageous saints—Saint Joan of Arc, Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río, Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, and Saint Teresa of Calcutta—and 10 saints who inspired them during their lives, including Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Juan Diego, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, among others. Written for modern parents, Unbreakable continues a long tradition of helping families build a Christ-centered culture in their homes that can be passed on for generations.

In God’s abundant generosity, he confers on all his children the power to know, love, and serve him. But he requires our participation. In order to spend eternity with him in heaven, we must answer his call now.”

The chapters and sections in this volume are:


Saint Joan of Arc
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Michael the Archangel
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Margaret of Antioch
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Saint José Luis Sánchez del Río
     Saintly Inspiration: Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego
     Saintly Inspiration: Blessed Anacleto González Flores
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Tarcisius

Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Maximilian Kolbe
     Saintly Inspiration: Blessed Stefan Wyszyński
     Saintly Inspiration: Pope John Paul II

Saint Teresa of Calcutta
     Saintly Inspiration: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Other Resources for Catholic Parents

The forward to this volume states:

“If I have said one thing to Catholic parents over the past few years, it’s this: we need confidence and courage to face the spiritual dangers of an increasingly hostile culture—not just for our own souls but for the souls of our children.

We cannot give what we don’t have, and courage is in short supply today. The world hates Christ and His Church more than ever, and many Catholics are weary of the battle, often unwilling to undergo the real and painful consequences of taking a public stand for the Faith. This weariness has led some parents to close their eyes to the accelerating moral chaos that threatens to sweep away our children.

To be sure, a good portion of this “slumber” by Catholic parents is more like paralysis, the result of an unspoken fear. Parents are secretly afraid of what will become of their children in an increasingly merciless and perverse society; they don’t know if their children can withstand the pressures and temptations that surround them; some even wonder if there is a way around the cross—a way for their children to please both Christ and the world.

“After all,” they rationalize, “doesn’t God want my children to be happy? To make a good living? To thrive in the world?”

Confusion, complacency, and fear cause even faithful parents to sleep through the war that wages around us and targets our children’s souls.

It is high time to awake for battle, and Kimberly Begg has met us with a herald of trumpets! In Unbreakable, Begg equips and challenges parents to fulfill their duties to God by setting their children’s hearts on fire for Christ. The stories in this book are important and compelling. They will leave parents and children awestruck and eager to serve as soldiers for Christ in our own troubled and dangerous times.

In addition, this book reinforces a critical lesson for modern parents: to whatever crosses we are called, we are not asked to do anything the saints before us have not also done, knowing Christ has gone before us all.

Through the simple genius of Unbreakable, Begg has provided something refreshing and invaluable to anxious Catholic parents everywhere: not only the clarity of truth and faith but also the inspiration to have courage and confidence to back it up.”

And it does deliver on that. I was using adaptive technology and listening to the book when I picked up my youngest two children from music. They are 15 and 13, when they heard Joan of Arc mentioned they asked if we could keep listening. They have both asked about reading the book now. Just a few lines as they got to the car captured their attention. 

The opening words of the book are:

“Catholic parents have long sought to raise saints. We bring our children to Mass, prioritize the sacraments, and teach them to be Christ-like in their interactions with others. Many of us send our children to Catholic schools and cultivate friendships with Catholic families. We give our children a foundation of faith, which we hope and pray is strong enough to resist the unholy temptations outside our homes.

The world that awaits our children is remarkably different than the one today’s parents encountered when they left their childhood homes. It’s a world that not only glorifies sin but also demands universal and unequivocal celebration of sin. While the ridiculing of Christians has gone on for decades, the “canceling” of believers as “haters,” disqualified from friendships, jobs, and other opportunities, is new.

To prepare our children, we must seek to raise not only saints but martyrs—young men and women strong enough to rejoice in the blessings promised by Jesus in Matthew 5:10–12: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Parents need to be intentional about cultivating moral courage in their children to prepare the next generation of Christians to stand up for their faith amidst the hostility of an increasingly atheistic and antagonistic culture.”

This book would be a great read for Catholic parents, grandparents, and educators. But the lessons outlined, and the examples given are ones that any Catholic could benefit from. There is much from the 14 saints highlighted that we could strive to emulate and grow in likeness to. 

I was familiar with all but one of the saints held up as examples in this volume. Many are among my personal favourites, or that I have specific devotion to. The volume is incredibly well researched. But it is not just an academic work. It is a practical guide. It is a volume that will change lives. It is written in a clear and concise manner. The examples flow nicely from one to another. And it is a volume that I can easily recommend to any Catholic parent!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Monday 30 October 2023

Boots of Peace - Theresa Linden - Armor of God Series Book 3 Second Edition

Boots of Peace
Armor of God Book 3 Second Edition
Theresa Linden
Nihal Dungdung (Illustrator) 
Silver Fire Publishing
ISBN 9781734992915
eISBN 9798201320546

I read the first edition of this story in the winter in 2022. I thought the book and series was excellent. The series is being rereleased in second editions with new covers and new artwork. The artwork is by Nihal Dungdung, it is not my favourite style but I am sure children will appreciate it.

Theresa Linden is one of my contemporary Catholic and Christian authors. Everything I have read from her has been impressive. I have reread a few of her books myself, and reread others with one or more of my children. My children are all through their first communion, but even so we love this book and this series. I am a fan of all of Linden’s writings, but this series geared for a younger audience than her other works is excellent and a great addition to the canon of her work. 

As is obvious by the series title this series is based on the Armour of God:

“When Sir Lucian, the one-armed knight, says that few pages will receive the Boots of Peace, George Pennington and his friends work extra hard at peacemaking. While Robyn arranges help for a troubled family, George's little brother Erik struggles with Sir Michael's jousting lessons. George, however, can't stop thinking about the strange rock he once discovered in the knights' woods. He will stop at nothing to find out more about it, but he just might be missing a very important point about peace.

Based on the Scriptural Armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17), the six-book ARMOR OF GOD series appeals to the universal and timeless quest for virtue and inner strength. The story themes and “Brother Coll’s Catechism Lessons,” weaved into each story, are perfect for children preparing for or who have recently made their First Confession and First Holy Communion. Early readers will appreciate the short chapters and pen-and-ink illustrations throughout.”

The chapters in the story are:

Strange Rock
The Few
Tilting the Lance
Fendrel the Squire
Rumor of Dragons
Knights, Probably
Helping Hands
Victory and Defeat
Erik’s Problem
Hooded Figures
Why Not Me?
Patience and Peace
Armor of God Series
The Beatitudes

At the beginning of the book is a note ‘Dear Reader’ And at the end a section about the author and about the series. All three are worth reading. Between many of the chapters are Brother Coll’s Catechism Lesson, there are 7 of these lessons. This is the continuing story of George Pennington. He is a young lad who is attending knight’s school. To graduate they must obtain the 6 pieces of the armor of God. Six levels of training to become a squire. In the first volume, Belt of Truth, only some of the classmates do not get their belt. And it was very close for George. George learned the value of truth, even if you need to admit to lies, and mistakes you have made. Robyn Haylan and Erik, Georges younger brother continue to be good influences. In the second they must earn the Breastplate of Righteousness. In this volume they must earn the Boots of Peace. At the beginning of the assignment they are given two lists, one of them is:


The second was:


George has worked really hard to earn the Boots, but does not. When he talked with Sir Lucian about why he is reminded of the lists. He realized that he has helped bring peace to the first four items on the list. But he has failed miserably on the fifth. For his obsession with the Stone Table in the woods has caused his anxiety, fear, led him to sneak around, and even rationalize his own behaviour and obsession. Fortunately squires in training are given a chance a few weeks later to earn them. If not they have to repeat the year.

And in this story George along with his friend Robyn learn the joy of serving and helping others. George has a vision. And they start to learn jousting. The story is a wonderful read. Sir Lucian is a teacher of the kind we would all benefit from. And Brother Coll’s Catechism Lesson are the meat around which the story is written. 

To find out if George earns his boots you will need to read this wonderful story. It is another great read in an excellent series. Great for the youngsters in your life or for some of us that are young at heart. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Theresa Linden:
Tortured Soul

Chasing Liberty Series:
01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story


West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Standing Strong
Roland West Outcast
Fire Starters

Armor of God Series Original Editions:
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Boot of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit

Armor of God Series Second Edition:

Sunday 29 October 2023

Prayer of the Day Prayer for the Intercession of the Ulma Family

Prayer for the Intercession of the Ulma Family  

Almighty and eternal God,
we thank You for the testimony of the heroic love
of the spouses Józef and Wiktoria with their children,
who gave their lives to save persecuted Jews.

May their prayers and example
support families in Christian life
and help everyone to follow the true path of holiness.

Lord, if it is in accordance with Your will,
kindly grant me the grace   …   for which I am asking You
through their intercession
and count them among the Blessed.
Through Christ our Lord.


Our Father…, Hail Mary…, Glory Be…

Prayer courtesy of the Archdiocese of Przemyśl.

Prayer from:
No Greater Love: The Martyrdom of the Ulma Family
Jean Olwen Maynard
Catholic Truth Society
eISBN 9781784697112
CTS Booklet B778

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Sherlock Holmes The Assassination Of Alan Pinkerton - Richard Paolinelli - Sherlock Holmes Pastiches Book 6

Sherlock Holmes: The Assassination Of Alan Pinkerton
Sherlock Holmes Pastiches Book 6

I have now read seven stories in this collection. This is one of 6 featuring Holmes, and I freely admit I cannot help but pitcher Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman and Holmes and Watson. This is the most recent volume to release in this series. All of the stories in series have been excellent. My introduction to Richard’s works was a piece in the anthology Cracked. I have picked up several anthologies he has contributed to, but have only got around to reading 2 of them. Right now I am bouncing around this series. I have also read 2 novels, Galen’s Way, and Galen’s Blade and eagerly await the two forthcoming offerings in that series. I have also picked up several of his other novels after reading the first few stories in this series. After the few stories by Paolinelli I have read I am now trying to read one a week until I have read his whole back catalogue. So several of his stories and novels are towards the top of my ‘to be read pile’. Richard is not only an author but the driving force behind Tuscany Bay Books, I have read many volumes from the Bay by a number of authors and all have been well worth the read. This was one of several new short stories that dropped in the collection Dreams Of The Storyteller. There are now 20 volumes in that collection, the first 2 date from 2014, 1 from 2022, and the rest have dropped in 2023. After reading the first story I went back and grabbed the whole collection. And picked up this one as soon as it released. Much like I did with Declan Finn last year with reading a story a week until I have read all he has published.   

This is another excellent story from the Paolinelli ‘s pen. I said in a previous review that I have been aware of Richard and his works for a few years now. It is my loss that I did not dig into his works earlier. I strongly urge you don’t make my mistake, pick some up and give them a read! The description of this story is:

“History records that the famous Alan Pinkerton - founder of both the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the United States Secret Service - died from a head injury suffered from a fall in Chicago.

But a mysterious visitor to 221B Baker Street in London has a story to tell Holmes and Watson.

A story that calls into question the cause of Pinkerton’s demise. Months later, and thousands of miles away, can Holmes deduce the truth about Pinkerton’s death?”

Prior to reading the other Sherlock offering from Paolinelli it had been a long time since I have read a Sherlock Holmes story. This one was another smashing good story. It is masterfully written story. It fits in perfectly with the other stories I have read in both official and unofficial Holmes canon. Paolinelli breathes new life into the characters and yet he remains true to their original creation. A man shows up at their door asking for an investigation of a murder, and reveals it is he himself who has been killed. Soon Holmes disappears for a few days and gets the ball rolling. But can he solve this case of two men murdered continents apart?

This is an excellent short story. It draws the reader in quickly, it keeps your attention, and leaves you wanting more. Fortunately Paolinelli has written 5 other Holmes stories. The characters are wonderfully written. I look forward to the other stories in this series and many of Richard’s other series.

This story can be considered book 6 of 6 in the Sherlock Holmes stories or as book 20 in the Dreams Of The Storyteller Series. If you have not read anything by Paolinelli don’t make my mistake. Pick some up and give them a read now. There is a lot to choose from and I am sure you will be entertained. 

At the time of reading this I have read 368 books so far this year, and consider this one of the best. This story would be great for fans of the original Holmes stories, or the recent BBC Series. It would be great for fans of mysteries. And adventure stories. And To be honest for anyone who just loves a great short story!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!
For reviews of all books from Tuscany Bay click here.

Books by Richard Paolinelli:
When the Gods Fell
The Calling
The Last Lonely Trail
A Zombie Christmas Carol

Infinity Series:
Escaping Infinity
Exploring Infinity

Starguest 4th Age Series:

Timeless Series:
The Timeless
Secret of the Sphinx

Jack Del Rio Series:
Del Rio Omnibus Edition

Divine Trolls Comedies:
The Fall Of The House Of 770 Vile Aromas 
The Corvo

SeaDragon 1 May 1986
SeaDragon 2 June 1996

Non Fiction:
Perfection’s Arbiter
From The Fields
The Space Shuttle: 1981–2011 

Contributed to:
To Be Men 
Places Beyond The Wild
Space Force Building The Legacy
Secret Stairs 
A Tribute To H.G. Wells (2019 Edition)
Beyond Watson 
Holmes Away From Home, Vol. 2 
Sherlock Holmes Adventures In The Realms Of H.G. Wells 
Sherlock Holmes Aventures In The Realms Of Edgar Allan Poe
The Art Of Sherlock Holmes 
The Mx Book Of New Sherlock Holmes Stories, Part Xxii

Planetary Anthology Series:
Best Of Planetary Anthology Series
Galen's Way Richard Paolinelli

Galen's Blade Richard Paolinelli

Dreams Of The Storyteller 20 Book Series by  Richard Paolinelli

Friday 27 October 2023

Confession Its Fruitful Practice - TAN Books - With An Examination of Conscience

Confession - Its Fruitful Practice
With An Examination of Conscience
The Benedictine Convent of Clyde
ISBN 9780895556752
eISBN 9781618902474

Confession Its Fruitful Practice - TAN Books - With An Examination of Conscience

This is another excellent resource from TAN Books. It is available as a standalone booklet, eBook, and audio book. It is also available as a supplement at the end of some eBooks from TAN, specifically the eBooks available of books by Mary Fabyan Windeatt, as well as several other volumes from TAN. I first encountered it in one such book and then picked up the stand alone version. The description of this book is:

“This wonderful and practical little booklet explains clearly and thoroughly how to make a good confession—but in much greater detail than covered in most catechisms. It includes an Examination of Conscience (plus a discussion of lax, scrupulous and doubtful conscience), contrition and its necessary qualities, avoiding the near occasions of sin, the actual Confession of sins to the priest, and the penance given by the priest. This booklet also explains perfect and imperfect contrition and how to make acts of perfect contrition. It then considers sacrilegious Confession, how to rectify a bad Confession and the reasons for General Confession. Confession of venial sins is also discussed, as well as the many, unheralded benefits of frequent Confession. After these beautiful, clear explanations, the booklet then guides the reader through preparation for a good Confession, including an Examination of Conscience based on the Ten Commandments of God, the Six Precepts of the Church, the Seven Capital Sins, the duties of one’s particular state of life, and the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. Also included are considerations to excite contrition and prayers before and after Confession. This is truly a most valuable little handbook about Confession, packed with the traditional teachings of the Church on the Sacrament of Penance—a Sacrament which is both the salvation of those in mortal sin and a much-neglected and easy means of growth in holiness for all Catholics.”
This book was originally published by the Benedictine Convent of Perpetual Adoration. In 2000 Tan revised and expanded it. It received the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur in 1957. The chapters and sections in this volume are:

   The Blessings of Confession 
   The Five Things Necessary for a Good Confession 
        I. Examination of Conscience  
             False Consciences and Their Remedies  
             The Lax Conscience 
             The Doubtful Conscience 
             How to Make a Good Examination of Conscience 

        II. Contrition  
             The Qualities of Contrition 
             Interior Contrition 
             Supernatural Contrition  
             Effects of Perfect Contrition 

            How to Make Acts of Perfect Contrition 
             Universal Contrition 
             Sovereign Contrition  
             Relapses Into Former Sins 

        III. Purpose of Amendment  
             Occasions of Sin 
             Purpose of Amendment Must Be Specific 

        IV. Confession and Absolution  
             1. The Confession of Sins  
             Qualities of a Good Confession 
             Confession of Venial Sins 
             Sacrilegious Confessions 
             General Confessions 
             Frequent Confession 
             Practical Admonitions 
             2. The Absolution of the Priest 
        V. Satisfaction  
             The Sacramental Penance 
             Voluntary Penances 
        Preparation for a Good Confession  
             Prayer before the Examination of Conscience  
             Points for the Examination of Conscience 

             The Commandments of God  
             1. The Honor and Worship of God. 
             2. Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain. 
             3. Remember thou keep holy the Lord’s day (Sunday). 
             4. Honor thy Father and thy Mother (and all Superiors). 
             5. Thou shalt not kill. 
             6. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
             9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors wife. 
             7. Thou shalt not steal. 
             10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods. 
             8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 
             The Six Precepts of the Church 
             The Seven Capital Sins 
             Duties of Special States of Life 

        Considerations to Excite Contrition  
             1. The Enormity of Sin 
             2. God’s Benefits to Me 
             3. The Love of Jesus Christ 
        Prayers before Confession  
             Act of Contrition and Purpose of Amendment 
             Prayer before a Crucifix (or Image of Jesus Crucified) 
             Prayer of St. Gertrude 
             Short and Efficacious Act of Contrition 
             Instructions for Confession 

        Prayers after Confession  
             Psalm 102 
             Prayer of Thanksgiving 
             Prayer before Performing the Sacramental Penance

As can be seen by the contents a lot is packed in this little volume. The first chapter states:

The Blessings of Confession

“BLESSED are they that wash their robes in the Blood of the Lamb.” (Apoc. 22:14). Catholics truly may be called “blessed” in the means they have of washing the sin-stained robes of their souls in the Precious Blood of the Lamb of God in the Sacrament of Penance! There is no question that Confession—especially frequent Confession—is an inestimable blessing to mankind.

Man can hope for no greater blessing on this earth than true peace of soul. The Sacrament of Penance is a perennial fountain of peace. It is a source of untold consolation to human hearts.

This Sacrament gives any and every member of the Catholic Church who has transgressed the holy laws of God an easy and simple means to obtain full pardon and to be restored to His friendship. This is its first and principal effect. Its second effect is to wipe out the punishment due to sin: eternal punishment entirely, and temporal punishment in whole or in part, according to the penitent’s dispositions.
It closes the gates of Hell, which open to swallow up in the infernal abyss souls who deliberately turn away from God by mortal sin and who sunder the ties binding them to Him by preferring their own wills to His. A good Confession opens anew the portals of Heaven, which are barred to souls so long as they remain in the state of mortal sin.

It clothes souls with the beautiful nuptial garment of Sanctifying Grace, or renders that garment still more beautiful if the soul already possesses it.

It restores past merits, which are lost by even a single mortal sin.

It renders the soul capable again of performing acts meritorious of an eternal reward, which is impossible while it is in the state of mortal sin.

It confers sacramental graces, that is, powerful supernatural helps to avoid sin in the future, and to persevere in the service of God.

It gives a claim to the special graces the soul needs in order to lead a God-pleasing life.

Finally, it checks sinful passions and inclinations to evil.

To partake in fullest measure of these blessings of the Sacrament of Penance, it is necessary for the penitent to know how to make a good Confession. The present booklet is an attempt to help souls in this all-important matter by explaining the five requisites of a good Confession, plus various points which are of vital importance for the fruitful reception of this Sacrament.”

I hope that between the contents and that first chapter you will see the value and worth of this little volume. It is an excellent resource. I am glad to have it and know it is one of the books I will return to often for spiritual reading. A great little volume I can easily recommend for your personal or family library.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Thursday 26 October 2023

Gordon Korman - Sheelagh Matthews - Remarkable Writers

Remarkable Writers
Sheelagh Matthews
Weigl Pub Inc
ISBN 9781619137202
eISBN 9781619130555

I believe this volume is currently out of print. I stumbled across it while doing research on Korman’s books. The Kindle edition of this volume is no longer listed. And the Print editions all seem out of stock. But It was available through several digital libraries. There appears to have been at least 2 different editions of the volume. The volume seems to have been available between 2012 and 2019; with paperback, hardcover, library and eBook editions. I believe the AV2 by Weigl has now become Lightbox Learning. 

The chapters in this volume are:

AV2 Book Code 
Introducing Gordon Korman 
Early Life 
Growing Up 
Developing Skills 
Early Achievements 
Tricks of the Trade 
Remarkable Books 
From Big Ideas to Books 
Gordon Korman Today 
Fan Information 
Write a Biography
Test Yourself 
Writing Terms 
Key Words I Index 
Log on to www.av2books.com 

The description of this volume is:

“Gordon Korman wrote his first published book when he was in junior high. It was written as an assignment for English class. By the time he was a senior in high school, Korman had written and published four books and was working on a fifth. Remarkable Writers is a biography series that profiles and celebrates significant children’s authors. Each book explores the life of a well-known children’s writer and provides an overview of his or her most popular books. Additional facts are provided through a timeline, awards, and fan information.”

I highlighted a number of passages while reading this volume, some of them are:

“Gordon Korman says he knew writing was the career for him by his senior year of high school. By then, he had written and published four books and was working on a fifth. Gordon is the author of the popular Bruno and Boots series of books, which is set in a boarding school for boys. This award-winning and best-selling author has been writing books to entertain children and youth since he was only 12 years old.”

“Most of Gordon's early books were comedies, sometimes based on his own life. Later, his writing shifted to adventure and action, with stories full of suspense and mystery. This led to an invitation to be a part of the writing team for a brand new concept in books, an interactive action series called The 39 Clues.”

“Gordon Korman 'vas born on October 23, 1963, in Montreal, Quebec and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His father was an accountant, and his mother, Bernice, wrote a humorous column for a local newspaper.”

“An only child, Gordon amused himself with writing from a very early age. In elementary school, he would take a creative angle with his schoolwork whenever possible. When it was time to write all the week's spelling words in a sentence, Gordon would come up with the silliest and funniest sentences he could imagine.”

“In middle school, Gordon was the monitor for his school's Scholastic Arrow Book Club. One day, he mailed the manuscript from his English assignment to Scholastic at the address on the Arrow book order form. Two years later, in 1978, Scholastic published his book. Gordon was only 14 years old. The publication of This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall! began a writing career for Gordon that would span decades.”

“Gordon was 17 years old when he was given the Air Canada Award for the Most Promising Writer Under 35 by the Canadian Authors Association. He had been writing one book a year since his success with his best-selling first book. He would write these books while on vacation from school.”

“I try to make my characters funny and/or exciting because writing a novel is almost like living with those characters for a few months."
-Gordon Korman

It was fascinating to read this little volume about Korman. Both my son and I love reading books by Korman. I discovered his works later in life and have been trying to read and review all his books. And my son has read a number of them to or with me. Mid last year, in the summer of 2022, Korman published his 100th book. Yes you read that correctly, his hundredth book. I have been reading one every 5 or 6 weeks and plan on reading and reviewing them all. 

As a fan of Korman’s this was a great read. 

Books by Gordon Korman:
MacDonald Hall Series:
The Wizzle War (1982)
         (formerly The War With Mr. Wizzle)
The Zucchini Warriors (1988)
Light’s Camera, Disaster (1991)
          (aka Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood)
The Jokes on Us (1995)
          (formerly Something Fishy at Macdonald Hall)

Bugs Potter Series:

Jeremy Bloom Series:
The D−Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1992)
The Last-Place Sports Poems of Jeremy Bloom (1996)

Monday Night Football Series:
The Quarterback Exchange (1997)
Running Back Conversion (1997)
Super Bowl Switch (1997)
Heavy Artillery (1997)
Ultimate Scoring Machine (1998)
NFL Rules! Bloopers, Pranks, Upsets, and Touchdowns (1998)

Masterminds Series:
Masterminds (2015)

Slapshots Series:
The Stars From Mars (1999)
All-Mars All-Stars/The Dream Team (1999)
The Face-off Phony (2000)
Cup Crazy (2000)
Ouch I got slapped (2023)
4-in-1 Slapshots: The Complete Collection (2008)

Nose Pickers Series:
Nose Pickers from Outer Space! (1999)
Planet of the Nose Pickers (2000)
Your Mummy Is a Nose Picker (2000)
Invasion of the Nose Pickers (2001)
4-in-1 The Ultimate Nose-Picker Collection (2006)

Island Series:
Shipwreck (2001)
Survival (2001)
Escape (2001)
3-in-1 Island Trilogy Collection (2006)

Son of the Mob Series:
Son of the Mob 2: Hollywood Hustle (2004)

Everest Series:
The Contest (2002)
The Climb (2002)
The Summit (2002)
Everest Trilogy Box Set (2002)

Dive Series:
The Discovery (2003)
The Deep (2003)
The Danger (2003)

On the Run Series:
Now You See Them, Now You Don't (2005)
The Stowaway Solution (2005)
Public Enemies (2005)
Hunting the Hunter (2006)

Kidnapped Series:
The Search (2006)
The Rescue (2006)

Swindle Series:
Swindle (2008)
Zoobreak (2009)
Framed (2010)
Showoff (2012)
Hideout (2013)
Jackpot (2014)
Unleashed (2015)
Jingle (2016)

Titanic Series:
Unsinkable (2011)
Collision Course (2011)
S.O.S (2011)

The 39 Clues Series:
Vespers Rising (2011)
The Medusa Plot (2011)
Flashpoint (2014)

Hypnotists Series:
The Hypnotists (2013)
Memory Maze (2014)
The Dragonfly Effect (2015)

Ungifted Series:
Ungifted (2012)
Supergifted (2018)

Slacker Series:
Slacker (2016)
Level 13 (2019)

Non Series Books:
Son of Interflux (1986)
Radio 5th Grade (1989)
Losing Joe's Place (1990)
The Twinkie Squad (1992)
The Toilet Paper Tigers (1993)
Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road (1994)
The Chicken Doesn't Skate (1996)
No More Dead Dogs (2000)
Maxx Comedy: The Funniest Kid in America (2003)
Jake, Reinvented (2003)
Born To Rock (2006)
Schooled (2007)
Pop (2009)
Slacker (2016)
Restart (2017)
Notorious (2019)
War Stories (2020)
Game On (contains The Chicken Doesn’t Skate and The Toilet Paper Tigers (2021)
Unplugged (2021)
Linked (2021)
The Fort (2022)
Mixed Up (2023)
Slugfest (2024)
Faker (2024)

Wednesday 25 October 2023

St Thérèse of Lisieux: Transformation into Love - Jennifer Moorcroft - CTS Biographies

St Thérèse of Lisieux: Transformation into Love
Jennifer Moorcroft
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784697624
eISBN 9781784697136
CTS Booklet B780

St Thérèse of Lisieux: Transformation into Love - Jennifer Moorcroft - CTS Biographies

This is the seventh volume from Jennifer Moorcroft that I have read. All of the ones I have read are from the Catholic Truth Society. A number of years ago I stumbled upon the CTS books while doing research on an author, since then I have read 369 different volumes from them, and many of them more than once. I instantly fell in love with the clear and concise writing in the CTs books; the wonderful lives of Saints and Blesseds, amazing histories and the church teaching. I have read over 368 books from the CTS, and I have been blessed and benefited from almost all of them. There are many wonderful series. Nearly all have been excellent. I now purchase all new eBooks that are available from the CTS as soon as they release. These one and three others were available on the same day and this was the second of them that I read. 

The description of this book is:

“Throughout her short, humble life, St Thérèse of Lisieux exemplified her “Little Way”, the spiritual maxim to do little things with great love. This deeply personal biography paints a vivid and relatable picture of the saint who somehow became smaller and simpler as she grew.

Perhaps one of the most beloved saints of recent times, St Thérèse of Lisieux's life was quiet, humble, and very short. In the final years of her life, this unassuming saint was asked to record not only her life but her "Little Way", the spiritual maxim to do little things with great love. Published only after her death, the profound influence of these writings on the spirituality of the faithful led to her being named a Doctor of the Church, the youngest to date.

For ardent devotees of St Thérèse as well as for those more hesitant in their devotion to the saint, this deeply personal biography paints a vivid and relatable picture of the saint who somehow became smaller and simpler as she grew.”

And the chapters in this little volume are:

Trials and a Heavenly Smile
Towards Carmel
The Novitiate
Assistant Novice Mistress
In Community
Years of Growth
Martyrdom of Love
Timeline of the “Storm of Glory”

I highlighted a several passages my first time through this volume; some of them are:

“Thérèse sat with her beloved Papa as they fished in the river. She loved sitting beside him, or even alone, on the grass thinking “profound thoughts” of heaven. This simple reflection that she recorded in her autobiography tells us much about the child who would become “the greatest saint of modern times” as she has been called.”

“Even more, the Martin family lived a faith that permeated their whole lives. From an early age, Thérèse had only had to look at her father to know what the love of her “Papa in Heaven” was like and look at her mother to see the smile of Mary, her mother in heaven.”

“Thérèse’s happy disposition was completely changed by her mother’s death. She became withdrawn, timid and over-sensitive, easily reduced to tears, despite the affection of her father and the two eldest daughters’ untiring love and tenderness.”

“More change came when she was eight and a half years old and joined Céline as a day girl at the Benedictine Abbey school, where her mother’s older sister, Sr Dorothea, was a nun. Thérèse said that if it had not been for Céline’s presence, she would not have lasted the five years she was there. Marie and Pauline had already been giving her lessons, and she was ahead of all the other girls in her class, but she had not been prepared for the rough and tumble of school. She didn’t know how to play the playground games; she was the odd one out and she could respond to her classmates’ teasing only with tears. There was a girl in her class, not too bright but who had a way of influencing the other girls and even the teachers. She was so jealous of Thérèse always coming top in class that she seemed to have a thousand ways of making her unhappy. But a further trial awaited Thérèse.”

“When she was just three years old, Thérèse had heard whisperings that Pauline would become a religious. Not knowing what that meant, she thought, “I will be a religious, too!”8 Pauline had told her that she would have to wait until she was sixteen to enter Carmel; this was now her fixed goal: “I felt charity enter into my soul, and the need to forget myself and to please others.”9 She saw the crucifix and Christ’s blood soaking the ground; she longed to gather it up to pour it out especially on sinners.”

“She was deeply moved when, once they were in Rome, they visited the Catacombs and the Colosseum. She gazed on the spot where Christians had spilt their blood for love of Christ but was disappointed that it was simply a heap of masonry. Their goal was the audience with the Holy Father, Pope Leo III – for Thérèse, her boldest attempt yet to gain assent to enter Carmel. If the Pope himself gave her permission, then no one lower down the ranks could possibly object!”

“But her efforts were not in vain. On New Year’s Day she received a letter from Mother Marie de Gonzague to say that the bishop had given his consent, but that her entry would, sensibly, be delayed until after Lent. To Thérèse, the three months seemed a long wait, but the doors of Carmel had been opened for her.”

“When Thérèse was a child, Léonie had come down-stairs one day with a box of childhood knickknacks that she said she was too old for, asking whether anyone would like them. Thérèse had taken them all, declaring “I take everything.” Later, she recognised that that was her motto for Carmel – she wanted to receive everything from God and would give herself totally to him, holding nothing back.”

“Thérèse did not think about where that suffering would come from. She was, after all, still a child from a very protected background. She, in effect, had lost three mothers, and entering Carmel had received two of them back, as well as a new mother in the prioress. It would have been but human to have wanted that security again. But Thérèse knew she had to resist this temptation, treating her two sisters as she would any other sister in the community.”

“Thérèse had never been accustomed to household chores or manual work, and to her embarrassment she was slow and clumsy at them. Sr St Vincent de Paul, a lay sister, nicknamed her “the big nanny goat”, because of her slowness. This sister was to be a continual source of such pinpricks for Thérèse throughout her time in the monastery.”

“Sr Febronie, the subprioress, was able to put her mind at rest one day during recreation, by suggesting a reason for Thérèse’s reticence: “Because your soul is extremely simple, but when you will be perfect, you will be even more simple; the closer one approaches God, the simpler one becomes.””

“That vision of the face covered with a veil entered deeply into Thérèse’s psyche and made her ponder deeply on the Sacred Face of Jesus, a devotion that had begun in the Carmel of Tours and which Sr Agnès had introduced to her sister. As she received the habit, Thérèse added on to her existing name, “Sr Thérèse of the Child Jesus”, the words “and the Holy Face”.”

“The taking of vows was a private affair, and the receiving of the black veil of the professed sister on 24th September was a public ceremony. Thérèse could not help shedding tears of disappointment because her father was too ill to attend. Fr Pichon, a close friend of the family whom she had hoped would be there, was in Canada, and the bishop was sick. Even so, Thérèse was now given wholly to the Lord she loved with her whole heart, and for her there was no going back.”

“They were not fools; they soon understood that Thérèse was there not only to train them, but also to tactfully correct the former prioress’s more idiosyncratic ways. Thérèse realised that it was a task that was beyond her and went before the Blessed Sacrament to put it in Our Lord’s hands. She said that she always received the graces she needed at the time she needed them; the novices even thought she had the gift of reading their souls.”

“There were two words that for Thérèse summed up her “Little Way”: “abandonment” and “love”. She wanted her novices to recognise their poverty in order to throw themselves with ever greater confidence into the arms of their heavenly Father. Thérèse rejoiced in her littleness, her imperfection, because she knew that it was only the mercy and love of Jesus which could transform her and lift her to the heights of holiness.”

“Gradually, several sisters, such as Sr St John of the Cross, many years her senior, began to seek Thérèse out privately to ask her advice, convinced of her integrity and sensing something of her spiritual depth.”

“Thérèse had a profound humility; she recognised that she had nothing of herself, only what was given her day by day by God. He gave her the food her novices needed, and she much preferred the “vinegar” of a criticism than the honey of a compliment.”

“Now, during those joyful days of Easter, a shutter came down on her faith: “Suddenly the fog that surrounds me becomes more dense; it penetrates my soul and envelops it in such a way that it is impossible to discover within it the sweet image of my Fatherland; everything has disappeared!”50 Not that the community noticed anything different in her. She continued to instruct her novices; she continued to write letters and poems that delighted her sisters. But what she was communicating was what she wanted to believe, not what she now felt she did believe.”

“It was her very littleness that both consoled and tormented Thérèse. Since childhood, she had longed to be a saint, a martyr, a missionary, a priest – a Doctor of the Church, even. Instead, God had guided her to a monastery, with only small things to do, and an often-monotonous routine. Is this what God really wanted from her?”

“Thérèse recognised that she could not perform the great deeds of the “Eagles” of the Church; instead, like a child, she would do the little things with great love, by “not allowing one little sacrifice to escape, not one look, one word, profiting by all the smallest things and doing them through love”.52”

“There was discussion about the circular that would be sent to other Carmels, which, as customary, would detail the deceased sister’s life. Both Mother Agnès and Mother Marie de Gonzague felt the account of her life Thérèse had written, and her letters to her sister Marie of the Sacred Heart, should be circulated instead. This had Thérèse’s approval, because she had already discerned that her writings would be part of her apostolate after her death.”

I hope those quotes give you a feel for the volume. The CTS has several books by and about Saint Therese of Lisieux both in print and out of print. So one might ask, why another volume. There is already an extensive canon of works about Therese. And to be honest I cannot answer tat question, but have read a number of other works by and about this saint, I am very thankful for this new offering from the CTS and from the pen of Jennifer Moorcroft. Moorcroft writes in a clean and engaging manner. While reading her books I loose track of time. 

This was another wonderful read from the masterful pen of Jennifer Moorcroft. I have recommended it to a number of people, while reading it and since I finished it. And I have had conversations with my 17 year old daughter about the book and Saint Therese. This is a great little volume. It seems every time I read a book from the Catholic Truth Society I find 2 or three others I want to read. I have an ever growing wish list of eBooks, books in print, and books out of print I want to track down. I enjoyed this volume immensely. Like several other by Moorcroft I learned, I was challenged, and I was encouraged. This is an excellent read from this author from the CTS, and I can easily recommend it. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For reviews in the CTS Biographies Series Click here.
For reviews of other books about St Thérèse of Lisieux click here.

CTS Books and Booklets n the life and spirituality of St Thérèse:
Thérèse of Lisieux - On the visit of her relics to Great Britain (Do 810)
Thérèse, teacher of Prayer, by Bro Craig (D 693)
Thérèse of Lisieux, a biography, by Vernon Johnson (B 204)
The Little Way of Thérèse, In her own Words (D 707)
Louis and Zélie Martin, Parents of Thérèse of Lisieux, by Paulinus Redmond (B 709)
The Prayer of St Thérèse of Lisieux by Vernon Johnson (CL23)

Books by Jennifer Moorcroft:
A Catholic Response to the Jehovah's Witnesses
Saint Therese of Lisieux and Her Sisters 
When Silence Speaks. The Life and Spirituality of Elisabeth Leseur
The Hidden Light: A Life of Saint Dominic
He is My Heaven: The Life of Elizabeth of the Trinity
God Is All Joy: The Life of St. Teresa of the Andes

In the CTS Great Saints Series:
Elizabeth of the Trinity 

St Thérèse of Lisieux: Transformation into Love - Jennifer Moorcroft - CTS Biographies