Thursday 20 June 2024

St. Benedict Hero of the Hills - Mary Fabyan Windeatt - A Vision Book

St. Benedict Hero of the Hills
Mary Fabyan Windeatt
Philip Storey (Illustrator)
ISBN ‎9780898707670
ISBN 0898707676

St. Benedict Hero of the Hills - Mary Fabyan Windeatt - A Vision Book

Reading this marks the sixteenth work I have read in the Vision Books for Young Readers Series, 13 in the currently in print books from Ignatius Press and three of the older out of print volumes. This one is book 35 in the original series. A few years back I did some research on the Vision Books for Young Readers and from the books I have read can state that they are great reads for teens, young adults and adults. This was another excellent read and I understand that Ignatius has several other titles in the work to expand the series. It is also the third that I have read by Mary Fabyan Windeatt. But let us return to this specific volume. The description of the book is:

The description of this book states:

“Mary Fabyan Windeatt presents the powerful story of the famous life and miracles of St. Benedict for the Vision Book series of saints for youth. Known as the Father of Western Monasticism, St. Benedict played a major role in the Christinization and civilization of post-Roman Europe in the sixth century.

Having lived in an era of great immorality and vice, Benedict founded an order for monks whose strong life of prayer and work helped convert the godless society around them. It tells how his Benedictine order of monks spread throughout Europe and the New World. The heroic life of his sister St. Scholastica, his saving a boy from drowning, raising one from the dead, and the story of poisoned wine are all told in this exciting, dramatic tale of a great saint.”

The author has another volume called Saint Benedict - The Story of the Father of the Western Monks that is part of a different series but on the same topic. The chapters in this volume are:

 1. The Boy Who Ran Away
 2. A New Work
 3. The Father
 4. Wonders by the Water
 5. The Enemy Strikes
 6. Man of the Mountain
 7. The Way of Peace
 8. Distant Harvest
 9. Father of the Poor
10. The Sword of Sorrow
11. The Passing Years
12. The End of the Road
13. The Work Continues
Authors Note

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

“CYRILLA WAS WORRIED. Young Master Benedict, whose parents had sent him to study in the schools of Rome, was losing interest in his work. Only last night he had said that he didn't want to be a leader in law or politics. He wanted only to be a hermit in a cave.”

“Benedict smiled. ''I'm seventeen", he said gently. "Boys that age are old enough to go to war, even to marry. But I ... I just want to serve God. Surely you can understand that?"”

“It was a few days later that Benedict and Cyrilla left Rome and headed eastward into the hill country. They had no real destination, save that the boy still had his mind set on living in a cave. When they had gone far enough, he said, they would surely come across some such place.”

“It's going to be a wonderful life! he thought. I won't have to worry about being a success in the world, only about getting to heaven and praying that all my friends and relatives get there, too.”

“I DID NOT TAKE LONG for Romanus to discover that Benedict was really in earnest about being a hermit. Finally he agreed to take the boy to a cave and to give him a garment like his own, a rough tunic made of sheepskins.”

“As time passed Benedict grew strong and hardy. His cave was open to the weather, but he learned how to protect himself from rain and cold. Romanus was faithful, too, coming regularly from his monastery with food. All in all, the boy had no regrets for having left the busy streets of Rome. Had he not learned many things in his cave that he would never have learned in school?

"Lord, keep on teaching me", he often prayed. "Let me know more about you so that I may love you more. And show me how to pray well!"”

“The peasants went away, filled with much admiration for their new friend. Repeatedly they told their wives and children about the hermit of Subiaco.”

“To Benedict, time was merely something whereby he could continue giving himself to God in prayer and sacrifice.”

“Benedict was silent. Although it was hard to admit it even to himself, he had often been bothered by that very thought. This quiet life of a hermit with so few human worries-was it fair that he should know such peace while millions of his fellowmen struggled to earn a living in the world? While young men died in battle? While children went ignorant of the truths of religion?”

“Benedict knew what was going on behind his back, and his heart ached. The few rules he had made were not too hard. He himself willingly kept them, but these monks were lazy. When the bell sounded for prayers, many did not bother to come to the chapel. They did not feel like praying, they said. They would pray tomorrow.”

“As time passed, word of what was taking place at Subiaco spread far and wide. Other peasants came to join the venture, to become members of Benedict's family. Once entered upon the peaceful life of prayer and work, few felt the urge to leave it. The original number of twelve monks gradually increased, so that it was necessary to erect many more buildings. These were plain wooden shelters, sufficient only to provide protection from the rain and snow. Each housed twelve men, with a leader or abbot in command.”

“Those who bad visited Subiaco were quick to reply that Benedict's monastery was no ordinary one. He required his followers to till the soil, to work with their hands at humble tasks. He required them to foster charity in their hearts and obedience. By that time there were twelve wooden monasteries, each presided over by an abbot, built within a radius of two miles from Subiaco. From his own little monastery, dedicated to Saint Clement, Benedict watched over the welfare of the entire colony.”

“It was true. Benedict continually preached the gospel of peace. He insisted it could be found by every earnest soul through prayer and work. As a result, everyone at Subiaco came to see that the Father Abbot was a very wise man.”

“During the thirty years he had lived at Subiaco, first as a hermit and later as abbot, he had preached the beauty of peace. He had taught men to throw away their swords and to cultivate the peaceful arts. He had given his monastic family a special motto: "Turn away from evil and do good. Seek after peace and pursue it." Why should he forget his own words now?”

“Even Rome, the great city that once had ruled the world, was in a state of decay. Everywhere greedy men watched their neighbors slyly, hoping for a chance to seize power for themselves. Only a handful of Christians bothered to think of the Ten Commandments. In truth, it was a sad hour for civilization.”

“Sabinus sighed. "What fools men are! Why can't they see that peace is the secret of happiness? Good friend, you have put things well in your Rule. 'Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.' What wise words those are!"”

I hope those quotes give you a feel for this series. I have yet to read a book in this series that did not inspire, encourage and challenge me. This is an inspiring life of one of the most known saints. It shows his triumphs, his sorrows. His victories and his struggles. It is an easy text to engage with. It can be read to younger children and older children, teens and adults can easily read the volume. 

My two youngest both teenagers enjoy them, I am in my fifties and I love them, those Ignatius brought back in print, the new expansions from them of the series, and the originals I can lay my hands on that Ignatius has not licensed. This is an wonder book in a excellent series. They would be great additions to any home, school, or church library. An excellent volume I can easily recommend!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!   

Books in the Vision Books Saints Biographies:
Bernadette, Our Lady's Little Servant 
The Cure of Ars 
Edmund Campion 
Florence Nightingale's Nuns 
Fr. Marquette and the Great Rivers 
Francis and Clare, Saints of Assisi 
Kateri Tekakwitha 
Mother Cabrini, Missionary to the World 
Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity 
Saint Anthony and the Christ Child 
Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal 
Saint Dominic and the Rosary 
Saint Elizabeth's Three Crowns 
Saint Francis of the Seven Seas 
Saint Helena and the True Cross 
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus 
Saint Isaac and the Indians 
Saint John Bosco 
Saint Katherine Drexel 
Saint Louis and the Last Crusade 
Saint Philip of the Joyous Heart 
Saint Therese and the Roses 
Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Preaching Beggars 
Saint Thomas More of London 
Vincent De Paul: Saint of Charity 

Out of Print books in the Series:
Catholic Campuses, Stories of American Catholic Colleges 
Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Children Welcome: Villages for Boys and Girls 
Christmas and the Saints 
Columbus and the New World 
Dear Philippine: Mission of Mother Duchesne 
Edel Quinn: Beneath the Southern Cross 
Frances Warde and the First Sisters of Mercy 
Good Pope John b
Governor Al Smith 
In American Vineyards, Religious Orders in the United States 
Irish Saints 
John Carroll Bishop and Patriot
John Neumann, The Children's Bishop 
Kit Carson of the Old West 
Lydia Longley, the First American Nun 
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Pioneer Teacher 
Martin de Porres, Saint of the New World 
Modern Crusaders 
More Champions in Sports and Spirit 
Mother Barat's Vineyard 
My Eskimos: A Priest in the Artic 
Peter and Paul: The Rock and the Sword 
Peter Claver, Saint Among Slaves
Pope Pius XII, the World's Shepherd 
Rose Hawthorne: The Pilgramage of Nathaniel's Daughter 
Saints of the Byzantine World 
Sarah Peter: The Dream and the Harvest 
St. Augustine and His Search for Faith 
St. Francis de Sales 
St. Gregory the Great, Consul of God 
St. Jerome and the Bible 
St. Margaret Mary, Apostle of the Sacred Heart 
The Bible Story, The Promised Lord and His Coming 
The Cross in the West 
The Ursulines, Nuns of Adventure 
When Saints Were Young 

Books by Mary Fabyan Windeatt:
Blessed Marie of New France - The Story of the First Missionary Sisters in Canada
King David and His Songs - A Story of the Psalms
Patron Saint of First Communicants: The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini
Pauline Jaricot: Foundress of the Living Rosary and the Society for the Propagation of the Faith
Pennies for Paulina: Marie Pauline Jaricot-Foundress of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith
Saint Benedict - The Story of the Father of the Western Monks
Saint Catherine of Siena - The Story of the Girl Who Saw Saints in the Sky
Saint Dominic - Preacher of the Rosary and Founder of the Dominican Order
Saint Francis Solano - Wonder-Worker of the New World
Saint Hyacinth of Poland - The Story of the Apostle of the North
Saint John Masias - Marvelous Dominican Gatekeeper of Lima, Peru
Saint Louis De Montfort - The Story of Our Lady's Slave
Saint Margaret Mary and the Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Saint Martin De Porres - The Story of the Little Doctor of Lima, Peru
Saint Masias Marvelous Dominican Gatekeeper of Lima 
Saint of First Communicants - The Story of Blessed Imelda Lamertini
Saint Paul the Apostle - The Story of the Apostle to the Gentiles
Saint Rose of Lima: The Story of the First Canonized Saint of the Americas
The Children of Fatima and Our Lady's Message to the World
The Cure of Ars - The Story of Saint John Vianney
The Little Flower - The Story of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
The Miraculous Medal - The Story of Our Lady's Appearances to St. Caherine Laboure
The World Is His Parish: The Story of Pope Pius XII
Warrior in White: The Story of Blessed John Masias
Saint Benedict: Hero of the Hills

Vision Books Ignatius Press 2024

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