Friday, November 21, 2008

My First Book Review: "Real Women, Real Saints"

About a month or so ago I applied for and was approved to be a reviewer for The Catholic Company. I chose a book to review and received it in the mail shortly thereafter.

The book I was happy to read and review is called "Real Women, Real Saints," by Gina Loehr. It is subtitled "Friends for Your Spiritual Journey." This book contains a collection of short biographies/reflections of many women saints, categorized into chapters of various virtues: Women of Faith, Women of Hope, Women of Charity, Women of Prudence, Women of Justice, Women of Fortitude, Women of Temperance, and finally Queen of All Saints. The saints in this book are very diverse, some young, some old, some single, some married, some in religious life, and also saints from many different centuries and countries. Some were wealthy, some very poor, some with hidden lives of virtue, some very well known in their lifetime. Many are saints who are well known and loved, and there are also many saints whom I had never heard of prior to reading this book. There is one male saint listed in this book, but I am not going to tell you who it is! You'll have to get the book to find out for yourself. :)

Gina Loehr does a masterful job of condensing the saint's lives into short biographies. She writes with a modern style and has well crafted sentences, which don't waste words . At the beginning of each saint's biography, she lists her dates, her titles (such as religious, wife, mother, martyr, foundress, etc.), her feast day and her patronages. Then Loehr goes on to tell the story of the saint's life and how she fit into the particular virtue of the chapter, along with how this applies to our lives today. This was a perfect book for me to read before bedtime as I could read a short biography (or two, or three) and then meditate on it for a while. Although, I often found that I wanted to know more about a particular saint!

My favorite quote from "Real Women, Real Saints" can be found on p. 81 in the biography of St. Frances of Rome: "She offered these words of wisdom to other wives, 'It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout, but she must never forget that she is a housewife. And sometimes she must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping.' " This spoke to me greatly as I try every day to live out my state in life.

"Real Women, Real Saints" by Gina Loehr would make a great gift (Christmas is coming!) for any woman (or man), from teenager to college student to busy mom or grandma to religious sister. I would definitely recommend this book. You can clink on the link above to order.

And if you have a blog and would be interested in becoming a reviewer, go here and find out more details.

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