The American Catholic Almanac is a fascinating look at the brave people, historical circumstances, and stalwart faith that shaped the Catholic Church in the United States.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about this motley crew of individuals recognized for their holiness as well as their boldness for Christ. A masterful mix of well-known figures and lesser-known characters united to bring the faith to this country and keep it going.
This is not a mere jog through the litany of saints. Though a number of individuals written about in these pages have received this distinction from the Vatican, many of these men and women haven’t yet and may never make it into the latest edition of Saint of the Day.
The variety of reasons a certain person or incident is chosen for each particular day of the year adds intrigue and diversity. Not only birthdays, death dates, and saints’ feast days are mentioned and recorded in this daily reader, but also many other 24-hour periods significant to history in America. Some other entries mark the anniversaries of when a battle was reenacted, prestigious Catholic colleges and universities began a conference, a personal letter was penned, Prohibition ended, a new order of religious women came into being, and the elevation of a cathedral to the status of basilica.
It was fun not knowing what to expect for each day, priest or laity, patriot or rogue, commoner or coincidence. As unexpected as much of America’s history, this tome illustrates the excitement and danger embodied in the Catholic quest for eternal salvation.
I would recommend this book for history buffs, well-read Catholics, as well as those who are just getting to know the overarching attributes characteristic of the usual suspects for sainthood.