Saints from east to west have much to offer Church, author says; booklet includes Scripture passages, 'fun facts' for 365 days of the year
Servant of God Thea Bowman loved to sing joyfully for God; St. Mary Mackillop was Australia’s first saint; Blessed Solanus Casey always had lines of people waiting to speak with him.
The Catholic communion of saints is diverse and full of life, and this is only a small fraction of its richness.
In a compact new devotional, children are invited not only to learn about the lives of the saints — at least one for each day of the year — but are also encouraged to think about how they can model the good works of the saints in their own lives and how the saints reflect the truths of the Scriptures.
A Saint a Day: 365 Stories of Faith and Heroism (Tommy Nelson), written by Meredith Hinds and illustrated by Isabel Muñoz, was released Nov. 23. The devotional distills sainthood in a way that is interesting and manageable for children (although accessible for adults, too) without losing the crux of what makes each individual saint a unique champion of God.
“I can't imagine life without the encouragement of the saints,” Hinds said. “I find so much help and hope from the stories of their lives. As I researched more than 300 saints, who lived throughout history and across the world, I became convinced that there is no circumstance or question or challenge that could come up in my life that hasn't already been faced by one of the saints.”
For each day of the year, Hinds presents a saint whose feast day either falls on that day or has some relationship to the day. In addition to brief biographical information — when they lived, where they served, whose lives they touched and an additional “fun fact” — Hinds includes a Scripture verse and a one-line prayer that allows children to reflect on what they just read and ask how the life of each saint can be mirrored in their own.
For April 26, Hinds tells the story of St. Pedro De San José Betancur, the first saint of Guatemala whose faithful shepherding showed people “that Jesus can meet anyone’s needs.” St. Pedro’s life relates to the included Scripture, John 21:17: “He said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.’”
For the one-line reflection for St. Pedro, Hinds wrote: "Jesus, I am one of your sheep. You can give me anything I need. Help me see and fill the needs of others.”
For an entry dedicated to St. Pio of Pietrelcina — better known as Padre Pio — Hinds ties together the saint’s common admonition to not worry with Matthew 6:25: “Therefore, I tell you not to worry about your life.”
Each page takes no more than a minute or two to read and provides a basic introduction that will pique the curiosity and prompt children to want to learn more.
The book is a reminder that the communion of saints is diverse and reaches from Oklahoma to Africa to the Philippines. One saint owned a lion; another played the accordion; another was nicknamed the “walking dictionary;” and one inspired Switzerland to maintain a reputation of staying neutral during global crises. Children will be able to see themselves in the lives of the saints or as individuals they can look up to and aspire to emulate.
The book is available to purchase in hardcover wherever books are sold.