Sunday, October 12, 2014

Catholic Review: My Sisters the Saints

My Sisters the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir by Colleen Carroll Campbell, September 23, 2014. 240 pages. Published by Image. Source: Blogging for Books.
A poignant and powerful spiritual memoir about how the lives of the saints changed the life of a modern woman.

In My Sisters the Saints, author Colleen Carroll Campbell blends her personal narrative of spiritual seeking, trials, stumbles, and breakthroughs with the stories of six women saints who profoundly changed her life: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Faustina of Poland, Edith Stein of Germany, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and Mary of Nazareth. Drawing upon the rich writings and examples of these extraordinary women, the author reveals Christianity's liberating power for women and the relevance of the saints to the lives of contemporary Christians.

First Sentence:
I still remember the sundress I was wearing that morning; it was black, cooped neck, and short.

When I selected My Sisters the Saints as my next book from Blogging for Books, I admittedly, refrained from reading what the book was about and just jumped on it because of the title. Something about the title called to me and said this is the book you want to read next; that little voice was right as Colleen Carroll Campbell's spiritual memoir was such a beautiful, heart-touching read that has been on my mind since I finished it earlier in the week (in one sitting).

One evening, I randomly picked up My Sisters the Saints, even though I was already in the midst of three other books, and as I continued to read about Colleen's struggle to balance her faith, college life, and her desire to be a well accomplished writer I find myself glued to the pages to see how things would work out for her. While it was her struggles, while different from my own, pulled me in, it was how as her story progressed and she delved into feminism and what it means to be one and Catholic that really hooked me. I'll be the first to say that I usually roll my eyes when everyone gets on the feminism soapbox, mainly because what you see portrayed online and in the world is extremely skewed, but her approach to, as Scott Hahn, JPII and a Marine friend of mine, call the "feminine genius" was interesting and showed the beauty and symmetry of woman. I cannot even begin to really convey how it was covered in the book, but it was really interesting because it was such a book factor when it came to her learning to trust in the Lord.

My Sisters the Saints, is one of those books that once you start it you'll not be able to walk away. Well, at least that was true in my case as I read this one in a matter of hours as I had to see how things played out for Colleen. One of the things that makes this an interesting read is the five saints that the author (re)discovers throughout her journey. It was also slightly creepy that one of the books she mentioned reading, Mother Teresa's Come Be My Light, was one that I had just recently finished; and the saints she talked about were ones that I've been learning more about and discovering this year. It was quite odd to see a crossover of saints and books between Ms. Campbell and myself.
     Sometimes, I think we discover certain saints at certain points in our life and their stories help to strengthen our faith as we see that even they did not have a simple nor easy life. So, it was with great interest that I read on to see why this five saintly ladies helped shape Colleen's journey to understanding and living out her faith.

I really don't cry easily, but watching the way things unfolded with her father and his battle with Alzheimer's it just tore my poor heart apart. As I don't really know how to express why this entire part of the story touched my heart so much, I can only say that it fair broke my heart to see this man I don't even know, slowly lose himself to the fog of that disease and the strain it caused on those he loved. But, it was their love and care for him that really did me in. As I don't really want to reduce myself to tears again, I shall leave off here on this part of the book and leave it to you for the discovering.

In the end, it is the realness of everything covered within My Sisters the Saints that will speak to readers. So many of her struggles are ones that many Christian, or ANY, women can relate to because I'm sure so many women have felt the same way she did. Especially when it comes to career and family and the overall pressures that the world in general try to trust onto females. While her story is easy to relate to, it is the way she writes so honestly about everything that will have you unable to put her book down until the end... and then, if you're like me, you'll just sit there because you still need time to process   everything before you can even begin to talk about what you just read.

Final Verdict: My Sisters the Saints- Beautifully written and one that I hope everyone will read.

My Sisters the Saints earns
this book was received from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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