Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir appealed to me on many levels. I first learned of Jean M. Heimann through reading her award-winning blog Catholic Fire. I know her site as a great place to go for information about the saints. Her spiritual memoir is an intimate look at her life and the saints who taught her how to love and be loved by God and others.
I was intrigued to read about the woman behind the blog. Like so many, she has been inspired by St. Thérèse of Lisieux as well as St. Teresa of Avila to draw closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She has found hope along the way through some powerful prayers, a multitude of saints, as well as a few of the major influences that have impacted my own faith journey as well.
Jean drifted from the Church for a time. She was misinformed that because she’d had a divorce, she wasn’t able to practice her Catholic faith. It wasn’t until later that she was told she could still participate in the Sacraments and be an active member of the church as long as she hadn’t remarried outside of the Church.
Through the Cursillo Movement, a Charismatic Prayer Group, and doing St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration, she grew closer to Christ and became more involved and engaged in her Catholic faith. I can also highly recommend these three ways of growing closer to Christ and developing a deeper relationship with those in your community.
I don’t think anyone would mistake Jean’s life for a fairytale. She’s experienced a great deal of suffering: including physical and emotional abuse, losing loved ones to cancer, and has struggled with a number of illnesses that have given her ample opportunity for redemptive suffering. She always offers her pain in union with Christ’s suffering on the Cross so it will have redemptive value for the salvation of souls in time and eternity.
Tumultuous relationships made her hesitant to trust and let others in. She was uplifted and hopeful by what she read about love and Matrimony in the series of lectures originally called Love and Responsibility that have since been published and become better-known and widely-studied under the title A Theology of the Body. This amazing work by Pope John Paul II opened Jean’s heart to God’s love for us as it is expressed throughout the Bible.
Reading Learning to Love with the Saints made me think of The Kiss of Jesus by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. Both Donna-Marie and Jean faced a number of frightening challenges in their early romantic relationships, they have dealt with some very serious ongoing illnesses, yet they have remained hopeful and dedicated to glorifying the Lord through their lives. Each of these women write for a number of Catholic publications, are sought-after speakers, and maintain popular blogs.
I recommend reading this spiritual memoir. Jean considers the saints as her trusted guides, the friends with her on the road to sanctification and salvation. For more information about Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir or to order your copy, click here.
JEAN M. HEIMANN is a Catholic author and freelance writer with an M.A. in Theology, a parish minister and a diocesan speaker, a retired psychologist and educator, and an Oblate with the Community of St. John. In addition to her highly acclaimed first book, Seven Saints for Seven Virtues, Jean has had her work published in a variety of Catholic periodicals, some of which include: National Catholic Register, Catholic Exchange, Canticle Magazine, and St. Anthony Messenger/America.Visit Jean at her award-winning blog, Catholic Fire http://catholicfire.blogspot.com/