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April 2, 2014 / Chudinova

Saints for Spring

As we prepare to honor two new saints, Popes John XXIII and John Paul II, when they are canonized on April 27, let’s consider the importance of Catholic role models. We offer resources to help you in that effort. 

Embracing Edith Stein
by Joan McKamey

A 20th-century saint with a surprising history and rich spirituality is St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). In her new book, Embracing Edith Stein: Wisdom for Women from
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
, author Anne Costa shares how different aspects of the life and teachings of this saint can serve as a guide for women within their unique vocation today.
St. Teresa’s life and writings have had a profound effect on the author, giving her reason to view Edith Stein as a spiritual friend.

Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction:

“Edith’s own spiritual journey took her from the worldly circles of a Jewish philosopher and intellectual to the soul-rich, hidden life of Carmel following her conversion to Catholicism in 1922 and her final profession of vows in 1938. Her faith carried her toward the ultimate sacrifice when she was taken prisoner and killed at the Auschwitz death camp in 1942. She spent the first part of her life seeking truth—and found it, in the form of a Person, Jesus Christ, through the Roman Catholic Church. She was a brilliant teacher and noted doctor of philosophy who became a humble student, a woman in love, who became a martyr.”

Each of the book’s six chapters ends with “Points to Ponder” questions. Readers may choose to write their reflections in a journal or share them with a friend, spiritual director, or women’s reading group.

Check out our “Saint of the Day” feature to learn more about St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and other saints.

Saint Francis, Pope Francis
by Joan McKamey

A new book that’s getting a lot of attention is Saint Francis, Pope Francis: A Common Vision by Gina Loehr. With Pope Francis’ choice of Saint Francis of Assisi as patron of his papacy, many seek to learn more about Saint Francis and what his patronage may mean for our new pope.

Saint Francis was uniquely dedicated to being an authentic image of Christ in the world. The choice to follow Francis is ultimately a choice to follow Christ. Our Holy Father’s decision to align himself with Saint Francis implies a desire to keep himself and his authority rooted in Christ. In this book, Gina Loehr examines five “loves” that characterized Saint Francis’ relationship with Christ:

  • Love of the Church
  • Love of the cross
  • Love of peace
  • Love of the poor
  • Love of humility

Each chapter begins with a scriptural reflection on one of these five loves in the life of Christ, followed by examples from the lives of Saint Francis and Pope Francis. Relevant Church teaching as well as questions for reflection help readers discern how to incorporate these loves into their own lives.

Consider another new book about Saint Francis, The Gospels According to Saint Francis by Scripture scholar Hilarion Kistner, OFM. The Gospels were a key focus in the life and ministry of Saint Francis of Assisi. He modeled his life on that of Jesus Christ and encouraged his followers to do the same. For Francis, the Gospels were inspiration, guidance, and a rich source of prayer.

In this lively book, the Gospels are broken open to blend the teachings of Jesus and Francis in a unique way. In so doing, Father Hilarion looks at four main themes:
  • Francis and his love for the Gospel
  • The movement of the Spirit through the Gospels
  • The heart of the Gospels
  • How Francis lived in the Gospel light

The Gospels According to Saint Francis is a spirituality resource that is appropriate for Catholics as well as those of others faiths. The book can be used in small groups and parish faith formation with teens and adults. It is also available as an audiobook.

Yet another recent product that celebrates Pope Francis and how he models Gospel living is the Catholic Update, “Seven Lessons from Pope Francis.” We look at highlights of Pope Francis’ first year that challenge us to follow his lead and inspire us to a simple and faithful following of Christ.

Celebrating New Saints
by Angela Glassmeyer

Saints can be an overlooked source of riches in our faith. Confirmation candidates often research saints, but how often do the rest of us really learn about new saints? Do we even know all the “old” saints? Whether their story is similar to our own or vastly different, we all have one thing in common: we try daily to follow Jesus and his word. The saints can provide us inspiration, spiritual direction, and practical examples of ways to become better disciples. 
Later this month, the Church will add two more saints to the official roster—John XXIII and John Paul II. What do you know about these two men? How much more might you not know? The April issue of Catholic Update provides a wonderful overview of these two popes. If you’re looking for a little more information, check out these two short biographies: John XXIII and John Paul II .

If you’re looking for even more information on these saints, check out these recommended resources:

John XXXI:
Meet John XXIII: Joyful Pope and Father to All

Peace on Earth: God’s Dream, Our Task
Ten Achievements of Vatican II
The Healing Work of Vatican II

John Paul II:
Meet John Paul II: The People’s Pope
A Retreat with Pope John Paul II: Be Not Afraid
Reasons for Hope: Daily Readings from Pope John Paul II
John Paul II and the New Evangelization: How You Can Bring the Good News to Others

To find resources on other saints, visit the Saints and Heroes section of our catalog.

Faith Formation Forum

Share your ideas on faith formation at our online bulletin board, Faith Formation Forum. Our editors will screen and post your thoughts, and you can learn from others' ideas. Submit your ideas by clicking here.



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