Bergers Book Reviews

Finding Calcutta: Memoirs of a Photographer

Finding Calcutta
Author: Marie Bissell Constantin
Publisher: Lulu
Genre: Memoir
ISBN: 978-1-4834-5478-8
Pages: 128
Price: $16.99

Author’s website
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Marie Bissell Constantin took the photograph of Saint Teresa of Calcutta that was unveiled at her beatification ceremony. One of may Constantin took, this one best captured the heart and soul of this great Saint. During three visits to Calcutta while discerning a possible vocation, Constantin had the opportunity to see Saint Teresa in action.

Opening with an anecdote from her school days, Constantin shares a moment in the convent and the life changes that came about as a result of her daily interaction with one of the Sisters. Having other religious relatives sparked her curiosity, and she spent many years attempting to determine if she shared a similar calling. These searches led her to Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity.

In addition to stories of her own volunteer service, Constantin shares some of the horrible treatment suffered by religious sisters as they work among the poor and marginalized in society. As they face persecution and the horrors of war, the habit is sometimes a shield and other times a target.

Although this memoir was written for family, those who admire this wonderful Saint will enjoy seeing snippets of her in real life, and not just as the woman who carried the dying home with her. Those who are attempting to discern their own vocations will also find Constantin’s honesty refreshing and may gain some insights in reading the author’s struggles. I highly recommend Finding Calcutta.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 13, 2016 Posted by | Christian, memoir, Saints | Leave a comment

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

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

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

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Catholic, children, Christian, Saints | Leave a comment

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

Author’s website
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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

July 29, 2015 Posted by | Catholic, children, Christian, Saints | 1 Comment

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

Author’s website
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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

October 16, 2014 Posted by | Catholic, Christian, Saints | Leave a comment

A Saint For All Reasons


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

Author’s website
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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

May 18, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Christian, inspiration, Saints, spirituality | Leave a comment