Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sisterhood of Saints

Word is out that I love reading, and tend to devour books, especially on topics of faith and spirituality, so when the Cursillo co-chairs in our area received a copy of Sisterhood of Saints, they asked me if I wanted to be the first to read it.  How could I turn down a book written by a fellow Cursillista whose reflections in the magazine Living Faith my husband and I both love?  I couldn’t.  I wouldn’t.  I didn’t. 
I was immediately drawn to the beautiful cover.  Yes, I know you’re not supposed to use that as a way of judging a book, but in this case, it is actually quite indicative of the loveliness found in these pages.  That plus the focus on female saints, our sisters in Christ, got me intrigued right away.  Of the 366 saints Melanie Rigney includes, I’ve heard of and know a bit about a number of them, but I have to say that the majority of them are brand new or nearly new to me. 
I love the mix of famous saints with more recently canonized, lesser-known women of faith.  For each day of the year, a woman’s brief bio is given along with a quote from Scripture or from the saint herself that serves as a summary of her philosophy on life and ministering to others.      
Here’s one inspirational quote I love: “The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for all that he, in his goodness, sends to us day after day.” -St. Gianna Beretta Molla
One of my favorite aspects of Sisterhood of Saints is that the reader is not only given the opportunity to connect and identify with other holy women, but through the challenge on each page, she is also invited to incorporate the wisdom of these women into her day.  Each challenge relates to some aspect of the saint’s life and ministry but is a very doable, practical way to reach out to others in our modern world.  The prayers and actions suggested are often simple, but powerful.  Most of them would fit under the category of “small things” that done with great love can make a huge difference.
Here are a couple excerpts of the challenges: “Ask God what he wants you to do today, and what he wants you to prepare to do for tomorrow.  Then, no matter how challenging it seems, do it” (pg. 212).
“Who in your life today inspires you by the way he or she has persevered in a struggle?  Write this person a note of thanks.  Ask for the wisdom to deal with a challenge you currently face” (pg. 348).
This treasury of saints serves as a perfect daily inspiration to live out our “feminine genius” in ways as varied and creative as these women.  I can’t even fathom surviving, much less thriving in the circumstances in which some of these women lived, but each one ultimately proved that staying close to Christ is always the best way to endure anything and gain eternal life.
Whether living in a busy city or a remote village, called to consecrated religious life or to marriage and raising a family, these saints will spark your interest, feed your faith, and give you hope for the journey.
For more information or to order your copy of Sisterhood of Saints, click here.  You can find other writing and get current updates and blog posts by the author Melanie Rigney at this website.
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