Catholic, children, Christian, Saints

The Sign of the Carved Cross (Chime Travelers #2)

The Sign of the Carved Cross
Author: Lisa M. Hendey
Publisher: Servant
Genre: Children / Catholic / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-61636-848-7
Pages: 128
Price: $5.99

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Katie still doesn’t know what really happened when her twin brother, Patrick, went into the confessional in The Secret of the Shamrock. But now that she’s just gone back in time to meet St. Kateri Tekakwitha, she’s convinced that the bells of St. Anne’s are magical.

Katie has been having trouble with the new girl, Lily. Although Katie is usually friendly, she is being mean to Lily, mostly out of jealousy. Katie feels like she’s not as pretty as the other girls. But after spending time with St. Kateri as she is baptized and joins the Church, she comes to realize that beauty on the inside matters much more than what’s on the outside.

After returning home, Katie finds out that Lily is new to the Church, and now she gets to share her own faith with Lily, just as she did with St. Kateri. Thinking about baptism and her own First Communion, she comes to realize just how important the Church is to her.

The Sign of the Carved Cross is a nice adventure story featuring St. Kateri. These Chime Travelers books not only provide a fun time traveling tale, but also a glimpse into the lives of the saints. Kids will really enjoy this series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, children, Christian, Saints

The Secret of the Shamrock (Chime Travelers #1)

The Secret of the Shamrock
Author: Lisa M. Hendey
Illustrator: Jenn Bower
Publisher: Servant
Genre: Children / Catholic / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-61636-847-0
Pages: 128
Price: $5.99

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Patrick and Katie are working on their church’s cleaning team one Saturday morning when Patrick steps into the confessional. He discovers a copy of Butler’s Lives of the Saints and opens it to March 17th, the date of his patron saint. After closing his eyes for a short nap, he hears the church bells chime and the floor begins to rumble.

Patrick awakens in Ireland to find himself among some sheep being herded by a shepherd. He quickly realizes he’s hopelessly lost, and he’s even more surprised to find out that the shepherd is St. Patrick himself. But how will he ever get back home? Will he have to pray like St. Patrick does, so that God will provide the way?

When The Secret of the Shamrock opens, Patrick expresses some concerns about his Catholic faith to his sister, Katie. His experience time traveling forces him to look at his doubts and actions and decide what he needs to do about them. When he finally arrives back in the present, he has a much better outlook on his faith.

Kids will find Patrick refreshingly honest and likeable, and will be cheering for him to make it back home. Although this book has a great Catholic message about prayer, the Holy Trinity, and the sacrament of reconciliation, they have been presented in a non-preachy manner that children will relate to. I look forward to seeing more of the Chime Travelers series.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian, Saints

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues

Seven Saints for Seven Virtues
Author: Jean M. Heimann
Publisher: Servant Books
Genre: Christian / Catholic
ISBN: 978-1-61636-845-6
Pages: 144
Price: $13.99

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Most of us are familiar with the seven deadly sins, but are we also aware of the seven virtues? These are charity, chastity, diligence, humility, kindness, patience and temperance. The fastest way to defeat the deadly sins in our own lives is to work on developing these virtues in their place.

Seven saints provide wonderful examples of these virtues in action. In Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, these saints are presented for us to emulate. Their lives and struggles may have been difficult, but each overcame weakness and developed strong character. In addition to the saints, modern-day people who embody these virtues are introduced, so we can learn how to model them in today’s world. Prayers, suggested Bible reading, and action steps are also provided for developing each virtue.

We are all called to be saints. The lives of the virtuous men and women in this book will guide us as we attempt to follow that calling. All those who try to live holy lives will benefit from reading Seven Saints for Seven Virtues.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian, spirituality

Heaven is Real But So is Hell

Heaven is Real But So is Hell
Author: Vassula Rydén
Publisher: Alexian
Genre: Christian / Spirituality
ISBN: 978-0-9830093-0-6
Pages: 224
Price: $24.95

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Vassula Rydén was not living a particularly religious life when her guardian angel first appeared to her. And when God spoke to her, soon after, she was completely unprepared to face her many sins and atone for them. Once she was cleansed, she willingly took on her new role in communicating God’s Messages to the people, as He commanded.

Heaven is Real But So is Hell is Rydén’s story of her ministry. It shares some of the visions God has allowed her to see, as well as many of the Messages she received. Organized loosely by topic, this book touches on all the important ideas God has commanded her to tell us.

Originally, the Vatican disapproved of Rydén’s Messages, issuing a warning against them. However, over time, these Messages have gotten support from priests, bishops, and even Cardinal Ratzinger, before he became Pope. Rydén also claims that many who have seen her speak or have read the Messages have come back to the Church as a result.

I admit, I approached this book with healthy skepticism. But as I’ve also read the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, I realized there are interesting similarities. Both women issued dire warnings that come with potential blessings if we turn from our sinful ways, and both have been ridiculed and scorned by an unbelieving public. I have not read True Life in God, which is Rydén’s official publication of these Messages, but from what I’ve read in Heaven is Real But So is Hell, I see nothing that would be contradictory to my Catholic faith.

Prophets are often misunderstood in the era they’re living in, and their messages are only understood much later. If these Messages are truly from God, they will stand up to the test of time.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian

Chosen to Heal

Chosen to Heal
Author: Laura Wright
Publisher: Immaculate Heart Press
Genre: Christian / Catholic
ISBN: 9780991086405
Pages: 130
Price: $11.99

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Many incredible stories of healing are recorded in the Bible, but one may wonder if God is still working miracles among us now. In Chosen to Heal: Gifted Catholics Share Stories of God’s Miraculous Healing Power, Laura Wright presents six healers who are active in the world today.

These six individuals – Domingo Setien, Tom Naemi, Father Jose Maniyangat, Stella Davis, Father Richard McAlear, and Father Dan Leary – did not ask to be given the gift of healing. In fact, they were all surprised when they discovered that they had received this gift. But after the miracles started to occur, they opened themselves to being a channel for God’s healing work. Just as Jesus used healing miracles to draw people closer to him, these individuals also use their healing ministry to the glory of God and the opportunity for evangelization.

Chosen to Heal offers a glimpse into the life and ministry of each of these gifted people. Each chapter focuses on one healer’s story, with numerous examples of people healed at their touch or command. Information on how to reach them is also provided, for those in search of their own miracle.

It’s easy to look around at our broken and hurting society and doubt that God is still active among his people, but seeing miracles such as the ones presented in this book reminds us he’s still very involved in our lives. Not only is he with us, but he cares enough about us to continue to provide us with many much-needed miracles. I highly recommend Chosen to Heal as a source of inspiration for God’s people today.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Catholic, Christian, inspiration, Saints, spirituality

A Saint For All Reasons


Author: Tim Muldoon
Publisher: Ivy Press
Genre: Spiritual / Inspiration
ISBN: 978-0843-713817
Pages: 128
Price: $13.99

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Sometimes we reach the end of our rope and we need special assistance to keep on going. When that happens, it’s easier if we can rely on someone who’s been there before us as a guide. For centuries, Christians have turned to the saints for help in times of crisis.

A Saint For All Reasons is a handy guidebook of 100 saints we can call on when we’re in need. Organized by category, this book provides a summary of who the saint was, and why he or she is associated with our particular situation. A ritual and prayer help us connect more fully with the saint and grow closer to God. The images of these saints can also be downloaded from the website, and a calendar of feast days and an alphabetical index of the saints is included for easy reference.

It’s easy to lose our focus when things aren’t going well for us, and we forget that others have also faced dire situations and calamities. Remembering the saints and the trials and tribulations they faced can help put our problems in their true perspective. And in asking for their assistance, we can invoke Divine intervention.

If you’ve wanted to know more about the saints, or wanted to begin to connect with them on a deeper level, A Saint For All Reasons is a great place to begin. You’re sure to find someone who’s been through something similar to you who can help. This handy little book, along with your Bible and your own relationship with God, will provide comfort and guidance.

Reviewer: Alice Berger