Saints and Blesseds of the Americas
Kirkus Discoveries book review: Part devotional guide, part encyclopedia, Saints and Blesseds of the Americas will find a welcome place on the shelves of a new generation of Catholics. Ewald’s tidy collection provides an exhaustive, country-by-country listing of all the Catholic saints and blesseds of the Western world. In Catholic theology, saints serve as intercessors between humanity and God; blesseds—those who have undergone the process of beatification—are only one step away from becoming saints. Believers pray to either for aid in any number of life pursuits. Perhaps the most gratifying aspect of this catalogue is the fact that it is extremely up to date. Ewald provides not only the saints and blesseds of old but also those recently beatified and canonized. For example, he presents the Blessed Lindalva Justo de Oliveira, martyred in 1993 and beatified by Pope Benedict XVI just last year. This is a timely reference guide at least in part because the previous pope—John Paul II—was a prolific supporter of the path to sainthood. According to the Vatican, Pope John Paul II beatified and canonized more individuals than all the popes of the past five centuries combined. Thus, Ewald fulfills an important role in bringing his devout readership up to speed. But currentness is not the volume’s only strength. Ewald paints quick but thorough sketches of his many subjects. His brief biographies never run much more than a page or two, but he has an eye for the fine points, and his portraits are always extremely pertinent—there are as few wasted details as there are wasted words. However, though his book serves best as a reference volume, it also provides a surprisingly gratifying reading experience. Ewald has the skill of a storyteller, and each biography features a neat narrative arc. A helpful compendium to the heroes of the American Catholic Church. Ewald, Fr. Daniel P. SAINTS AND BLESSEDS OF THE AMERICAS Xlibris (318 pp.) 2008 ISBN: 978-1-4363-6762-2 Paper: 978-1-4363-6761-5 Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media, 770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 email@example.com
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