Saints Alive!: The Faith Proclaimed and its companion, Saints Alive! the Gospel Witnessed, each tells the lives of thirty extraordinary people. Written by Marie Paul Curley and Mary Lea Hill, these books contain a beloved collection of saints that spans over many centuries and includes many well-known, modern, as well as, yet-to-be saints. In the first book, The Faith Proclaimed, two saints are chosen for each of the eight Beatitudes and each of the seven sacraments. The reader then sees how the saint lived out the Beatitude or the influence of a sacrament on their lives. For example, St. Monica shows us how “those who mourn…will be comforted” and Father Damien, who eventually succumbed to the terrible disease of leprosy, regularly administered The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick to the dying he cared for.
The companion volume, Saints Alive! The Gospel Witnessed, assigns a short gospel passage to each saint in the book. Each saint’s passage was chosen based on how that particular saint put their chosen gospel message into action. For instance, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s passage is fittingly “Whatsoever you do to the least…”
What makes these books appealing is how each saint’s account is enjoyably presented – through a story! Each narrative is about six pages in length – short enough to be somewhat of a quick read, but long enough to give all the details needed to deliver a good description for the reader. The stories are nicely followed by a prayer, short overview of the saint (birthdate; death date and place; feast day; canonization info; patron of…), notes on their lives, lesser-known facts, and in their own words. At the back of the books are the Reader’s Guides offering personal reflection points; group discussion questions; and read, reflect, respond sections that have you reading passages from the Bible and Catechism. These guides are a great resource if the book is being enjoyed for group use.
The back of the books may say “Adult Faith Formation”, but do not think for a minute your pre-teen or teen will not enjoy these stories. The stories are so engaging and easy to understand even my 11 year old loved them!! The storytelling format of these books definitely kept my children’s attention and interest, as well as mine. When the stirring story was over, we enjoyed the interesting facts provided at the end of the reading. These would be great for families and religious education to teach the Beatitudes, sacraments, and gospels by using the examples of holy people who lived them every day. By learning to live as the saints did through these books, we can truly bring the “Saints Alive!” in our lives.
I received a copy of this book for this review from the publisher Pauline Books & Media.