Thursday, September 15, 2011

Saints for Healing Book Review

Saints for Healing:  Stories of Courage and Hope was written by Janice McGrane in 2011.  Her book is devoted to sharing stories of the saints who healed those who were suffering in the trials of their time such as war, racism, slavery, church division, leprosy, marginalization and terrorism. Some of the saints mentioned, I was well familiar with and others not, but they all shared these characteristics:

* showed great courage by tending to the needs of others.

* took care of the unwanted, the outcasts of their time.

* risked their lives to help others.

                                       * had failings yet God used their conditions/situations as channels of grace.

In her note to the readers, Ms. McGrane warns us to be careful how to view these saints and how to share their stories with others.  She wants to be clear ~ "we pray with the saints and not to them...the incorrect impression that saints themselves posses divine power, when of course, it is God alone who grants divine favors."

Even with her warning, I was eager to learn more about these saints "who got it".  They understood with all of their hearts, they were being called to follow Jesus by serving others.  It wasn't an easy journey for any of them.  They all suffered and experienced hardships yet persevered.  They are glowing examples of how to serve Jesus Christ.

Hildegard of Bingen  is a music composer, visionary, theologian, and healer.  In fact, she is considered one of the first known woman doctor specializing in dermatology.  She understood the healing powers of various herbs and plants and used them in her ministry.

St. Catherine of Siena is known as a Doctor of the Church and was influential in healing the church from a dark period of fighting and corruption within the fourteenth century.  She underwent a betrayal from a fellow nun and handled it with grace and forgiveness.

 St. Joan of Arc lived for a very short time in the early 1400's and is claimed to be a warrior who fought to restore France from English oppression.  She was given a special gift of hearing God's voice during wartime in France.

The Venerable Henriette Delille is known for ministering to and healing the slaves of New Orleans during the 1800's.  She was a free woman of African descent that gave up her life of privilege to follow Jesus.  She is especially known for her unwillingness to "pass" as a white woman during her ministry.

St. Damien of Molokai is known as the healer of the untouchables of Molokai in the 1800's.    He is world-renowned as "Fr Damien the Leper" because he devoted his life to caring for the outcasts with leprosy, who were forced into exile to an isolated island of Hawaii with no medical care, shelter or food.

St. Edith Stein was born into a Jewish family, who experienced a conversion and became a Catholic Carmelite nun.  She devoted her life to teaching and writing about her faith.  Her life ended in an Auschwitz prison camp caring for the the children and mothers who were imprisoned with her.

St. Maximillan Kolbe was a Franciscan priest who started a radio station to counteract Nazi propaganda in Poland.  Consequently, he was arrested and taken to Auschwitz.  He is particularly known for consoling and comforting his fellow prisoners and offering his own life to be taken in place of another.

Dorothy Day was responsible for wakening the conscience of her country and her church to the plight of the hungry, homeless and helpless in the twentieth century.  She advocated for the outcasts of society.  She is the co-founder of The Catholic Worker which focused on Catholic social justice teaching.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is the well-known "slum sister" who gave up everything to serve the poorest of the poor in India in the 20th Century.  Through her ministering of the poor she underwent a deep spiritual darkness that did not sway her from her faith.

Archbishop Oscar Romero was the unlikely hero of the farm laborers of El Salvador.  He advocated for the poor oppressed citizens of his country in his healing ministry.  In fact, a civil war broke out during his bishopric and he was murdered while preaching his homily.

Fr. Mychal Judge is known for his fearless determination as he ran into the World Trade Center to assist in the rescue mission during 9/11.  He did not make it out alive.  Prior to his death, he started the St. Francis AIDS ministry in New York and was a fire department chaplain.

I would encourage you to read this book to learn much, much more about each of these "saints for healing" that gave their lives for others.  Each person is unique yet completely devoted to Christ.  It was a touching portrayal of regular people who were called to do something greater than they themselves could fathom.  And they answered this call.  This is a 132 page book that gives biographical information on each person and then the author's personal reflections at the end of each chapter.  Ms. McGrane is a disability activist, an environmental advocate as well as a board chairperson for Liberty Resources, a Center for Independent Living.

This review is part of the Catholic book reviewer program The Catholic Company.  I received no monetary compensation for this review.  Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Saints for Healing.  They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church and for a Catholic Bible.



  1. Great review, Noreen. This sounds like a great book and one I need to add to my To Be Read pile! Thanks

  2. This is such a thorough review of this book. thanks for taking the time to be so meaty in your reviews. I love reading about the saints and am drawn to all books having to do with saints. I will have to look this one up! God bless.

  3. Thanks Jen!

    Gardenia ~ I realize it's more of a book report and I do it this way so I can recall better the information I learned on the saints. Thanks for coming by!

  4. Nice review. I have never heard of some of these Saints.

    I am new to the NOBH crew. Just stopping in to say hello and thank you for linking up with NOBH!