Saturday, June 5, 2010

Unlikely Spiritual Heroes

Unlikely Spiritual Heroes attracted me, in part, because I recognized the last four people of the eight Brennan R. Hill writes about in the book and have read autobiographical books by them which I really enjoyed. The journalistic writing, attention to detail, and the threads connecting each of these Catholic stalwarts of the faith made it a strong, powerful testimony to the different ways people are called to serve Christ and His people. Hill devotes a chapter to each of the following model Catholics: Jean Donovan, Helen Prejean, Dorothy Stang, Pedro Arrupe, Thomas Merton, Maximilian Kolbe, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, and Pope John Paul II.
The viewpoint and tone more closely resemble that of an aggressive, hardcore reporter than that of a biographer piecing together the softer versions of people’s lives already covered in other texts. I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered in these pages. This book isn’t for the faint of heart or the faint of stomach. Some of the descriptions are gruesome. I found myself grimacing when I read certain parts.      The extreme poverty, far-reaching government corruption, and effects of war are depicted quite vividly which serves to underline the awful conditions these men and women were up against. I was deeply disturbed by the graphic details used to describe the trials and tribulations these men and women suffered and/or the atrocities they witnessed.
For anyone who thinks that missionary work, prison ministry, serving the poor, or living out the call within a call that’s often part of consecrated religious life is for softies, this book should be mandatory reading. I agree completely that each of these men and women deserves the title hero. They not only battled the principalities of the dark, but often had to came up against those who wanted to do them physical harm for the work they were doing to protect and promote the dignity and sanctity of human life in all its forms.
I recommend this book, especially for those who want to know what life is like in the trenches for those fighting against evil, corruption, destruction, despair, illness, desolation, poverty, death, inequality, hatred, and violence.
This review was written as part of the Catholic books reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Unlikely Spiritual Heroes . I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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