Saturday, April 18, 2015

Catholic Review: Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette

Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three Saints Who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love by Elizabeth Ficocelli, March 10, 2014. 192 pages. Published by Ave Maria Press. Source: publisher.
In Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette: Three Saints Who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love author, speaker, and retreat leader Elizabeth Ficocelli introduces her readers to three remarkable women saints who became not only her role models, but also her life-changing friends. Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette taught Ficocelli about faith, hope, and love, and showed her what true Catholic womanhood looks like. Some of the best saint stories are not about wonder-workers, but rather the everyday saints-friends who understand the challenges of marriage and motherhood and the banalities of day-to-day life. Bestselling author Elizabeth Ficocelli discovered three such friends in Therese of Lisieux, Faustina of the Divine Mercy, and Bernadette of Lourdes. The witness of their lives moved Ficocelli to cultivate the virtues of faith, hope, and love as she journeyed from a successful career as a marketing executive to what she found was a more authentic, even counter-cultural Catholic womanhood. Ficocelli offers women the wisdom of these saints for their own spiritual journeys.
First Sentence:
I emerged from Grand Central Terminal on a warm summer morning in 1982 like an ant scurrying out of a dark tunnel to the bright sunshine above.

Even though I had never read anything by Elizabeth Ficocelli, I was instantly drawn to picking up this book because Therese, Faustina, and Bernadette are three of my favorite saints (the first two of which I have recently become acquainted with over the past year and a half). So, it is really no surprise that I would be interested in seeing how these three saints helped (and continue to help) her along her journey.

One of the things that I found to be quite interesting about this book was how Ms. Ficocelli faced the issue of living out her Catholic faith in the world one step at a time. In a world that, pretty much, demands that we leave are faith at home or at church I can readily understand the difficulties that we all face in being authentic Catholics and living out our faith as set forth by Jesus. So, to see her go through that, and eventually, come out on top gives one hope that it can be done.  It is books like Therese, Faustina and Bernadette that give me hope that we as Catholics, and all Christians, will take our faith out of the cloister of our homes and live it.

The chapter(s) on Therese, and how she entered into Ms Ficocelli's life, were some of my favorites. Like the author, I St Therese is great because she shows how we, in our littleness, can work towards heaven by following the Little Way through love and doing small things out of love.

The ones on Faustina were great because she did such a wonderful job talking about the great mercy that Jesus has for everyone. Which I really enjoyed because I had just finished reading about St Faustina through her Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul. And, seeing how she came to terms with reconciliation are something that so many people can relate to simply because it is hard to ask for forgiveness (maybe more so that forgiving).

Oh, Bernadette, I cannot even really talk about this one too deeply. Yet, like the author, it is Bernadette's humility and faith that draw people to her and her story.  Really, I just want y'all to read what she says about her and how this little saint helped her.

Writing-wise, I really enjoyed Therese, Faustina and Bernadette because while its a quick paced read the story just pulls you in. Her story and writing show great hope and faith, and I really did enjoy seeing how her journey of faith was not an easy one because, well, this journey is not easy (and no one said it would be).

Final Verdict: Therese, Faustina and Bernadette- A beautiful book to help one down their own spiritual path.

Therese, Faustina and Bernadette  earns

this book was received from Ave Maria Press in exchange for an honest review.

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