Millions love saints. Their heroic goodness fuels our own hopes, because unlike fairy tales—the lives of saints supposedly are factual. I add “supposedly” because we all know that many saints’ lives are part fact and part legend. One reason we’re so strongly recommending Ruth Sanderson’s new “Saints: Lives and Illuminiations” today is that her collection of more than 70 saints’ stories and iconic illustrations leans toward some of the documented real-life saints of particular interest to North Americans.
For example, you’ll find St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pioneering American educator and passionate advocate for the poor and orphaned. Plus, Sanderson has included two saints who the Vatican has not yet officially canonized, but who already are very important: One is Mother Teresa, whose personal example of service as well as her writings continue to inspire millions around the world. The other very welcome addition in this regard is Kateri Tekakwitha, the remarkable 17th-century Algonquin-Iroquois woman who now is widely regarded as patronness of ecology, the environment and youth. While the Vatican has not yet canonized them—which is the Vatican’s official declaration of their sainthood—Christian teaching clearly indicates that they’re both saints already.
What most impressed me about this collection, though, is the inclusion of another very important saint: St. Moses the Ethiopian, sometimes known as St. Moses the Black. Sanderson includes him in this collection with an illustration depicting him as a youthful monk. So often, when St. Moses’ image is displayed these days, he’s shown as a much older father of the church. St. Moses is a vital bridge between Africa and the rest of the Christian world. He’s also a bridge between East and West in Christianity—venerated both by Orthodox and Western-Rite Christians.
In recommending Sanderson’s beautiful book, we’re also completing a loop in our Great Summer Reading and Viewing series. Earlier, we recommended a so-called “young readers” book, “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth,” but we pointed out that adults will enjoy it, too. Today, we’re recommending a book on a theme that you may think is aimed at adults as devotional reading. But, in fact, this one also is terrific for the whole family. In fact, the reading level makes it great for young readers, as well.
That’s not surprising, because Sanderson devotes her life to children’s literature. If you care to immerse yourself in Sanderson’s lovely work, here is a link to her personal website that includes information about other titles and even an artist’s “Portfolio” section in which you can see many of her illustrations in your web browser.
ENJOY OUR ENTIRE GREAT SUMMER READING AND VIEWING SERIES: (Our series so far: “Crown of Aleppo,” “Science Vs. Religion,” “Belief,” “Apparition,” “Burma VJ,” “Facets World Cup,” “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” “The Lonely Polygamist” and “Rise and Shine.”)
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(Originally published at https://readthespirit.com/)