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!

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