BRIAN O'NEEL is a writer and editor in Wisconsin who has spent most of his career in California politics and writing for Catholic magazines. He and his wife are the parents of six children, and Brian’s dream is to someday get the whole family to a Green Bay Packers game.
39 New Saints You Should Knowby Brian O' Neel
Foreword by Joseph Pearce
Pope John Paul II canonized or beatified such a staggering number of people—well over fifteen hundred—that many of them remain as obscure after receiving their new title as they were before. If you have never heard of Bartolo Longo, the former satanic priest, you are not alone. And what about Enrico Rebuschini, who battled
Foreword by Joseph Pearce
Pope John Paul II canonized or beatified such a staggering number of people—well over fifteen hundred—that many of them remain as obscure after receiving their new title as they were before. If you have never heard of Bartolo Longo, the former satanic priest, you are not alone. And what about Enrico Rebuschini, who battled depression? Or the happily married Luigi and Maria Beltrame-Quattrocchi?
In lively detail, Brian O'Neel tells the stories of these and more, a number of who are our near-contemporaries and coped with such horrors as Nazism (Jakob Gapp, Maria Restituta Kafka), slavery (Josephine Bakhita) or the Spanish Civil War (Vincente David Vilar).
Amazing stories of ordinary human beings who demonstrate that holiness is not another word for boring, but a defining characteristic of those who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the adventure of life.
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In his introduction O'Neel reports that John Paul II canonized 482 saints and beatified 1,338 individuals, most of whom are unknown among Catholics and the world in general. "This is a shame, because some of these men and women have simply amazing stories," O'Neel writes. His goal in presenting these 39 profiles is not to overpower us with awe but to provide kernels of inspiration for our own journey toward sainthood. Of the 39 profiled, most lived in the nineteenth century; many were members of religious communities; and about a third were martyrs. Two of the most ordinary "blesseds" are Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Each had hoped to join religious life, and both were disappointed. Louis was turned down because he didn't know Latin and Zélie because she was sickly. The story of their marriage and family is one of the most least dramatic in the book. As a young man Louis took up watch-making and eventually opened his own store, a lucrative operation that afforded him a large home and a good deal of leisure. When Zélie Guerin realized religious life was not open to her, she decided to marry. Without the requisite dowry, she prayed to Our Lady for help. In 1851, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, an interior voice directed her to make Alençon point lace. She entered training and opened a successful lace-making business, which would ultimately become the source of a comfortable living for the family. Zélie and Louis met in 1858 and married that same year. She bore nine children, four of whom died before the age of five. All who survived entered religious life. The couple began each day with Mass and devoted themselves to caring for their children. Zélie died of breast cancer at the age of 45, just 10 months after her diagnosis. Louis lived another 17 years, the final seven of which he suffered the effects of a stroke and two seizures that left him barely mobile.