Sainthood is a fascinating process, because every minute facet of the candidate's life is exposed, dissected, analyzed and scrutinized. Volumes of books can be written and hundreds of witnesses can be brought forward to testify either for or against the candidate's supposed heroic virtues. And even then, sainthood is not immediately forthcoming, for God must then give the final approval of the candidate's authentic holiness by way of two intercessory miracles involving the invocation of the deceased aspirant's spirit (martyrs are exempted from needing two). If a miracle does happen, scientists and doctors must then verify beyond the shadow of a doubt-via their medical and scientific expertise-that a spontaneous healing (whatever it may be) has occurred. Often the healing must be instantaneous and permanent. The case also must be fully documented before and after the healing has occurred. If all is a green light then that holy soul will be beautified and or canonized.
Children by their very nature are trusting and obedient, so their holiness, as profiled in this book, wasn't too shocking. But there were surprises, for as kids can be trusting and obedient, they can also be the exact opposite: rebellious, pouty, loud, unyielding, taunting, demanding, the list can be endless. And some of these youthful candidates had their struggles with these traits, one of the most notable being the now Venerable Anne de Guigne, an eleven year-old girl from France who was spoiled and hot headed to the hilt. At three or four years of age, however, she saw the ravages of war with wounded soldiers as well as the death of her father; her mother's grief developed into a kind of melancholia, and in witnessing these unending hurts, she turned to the Cross of Jesus Christ and was forever altered. She went the exact opposite way with her behavior, taking on every conceivable sacrifice, big or small. It got to the point where she simply radiated a holy and supernatural spirit that was loving and self-sacrificing, even up to the point of her death from meningitis.
Candidates also worthy of note are the recently beautified Chiara (Luce) Badano, a young Italian teen who had dreams of becoming a flight attendant; she was a member of the Focolare Movement and was athletic, pretty and outgoing; she had everything going for her until she was stricken with cancer, specifically osteosarcoma with metastasis. How she handled her disease is what was most remarkable, co-sharing the Cross of misery and aloneness the way Jesus Christ Himself did. Her actions made death not something to fear so much as to take part in, to be a co-experiencer of all that took place on Gethsemane and Calvary. Another person who fits that profile was fourteen-year-old Servant of God Alexia Gonzalez -Barros whose physical suffering was, for me, horrific and unimaginable. But her approach to it went beyond theology and mere words. Her experience brought the words of the Gospel to life, crackling with vibrancy.
While all the children profiled were heroic, from the martyrs of purity down to those with medical conditions, my two favorite candidates were Servant of God Joseph (Peppino) Ottone and Servant of God Maria Lichtenegger, the former primarily because he overcame being the product of an incestuous relationship; his father abandoned him, and he came close to being aborted. Statistically speaking, Joseph Ottone had everything going against him in life. But he persevered via the grace of a loving adopted mother who imbued into him a healthy faith; he had a love for the ocean and sailing and wanted to become a mariner. When his adoptive mother became deathly ill, he asked the printed image of the Madonna of Pompeii (the Blessed Virgin) which he found suddenly on the street, to offer his life for that of his stepmother's. Immediately the transition happened. He died, and the stepmother lived until eighty-eight.
Lastly there is Servant of God Maria Lichtenegger, a seventeen-year-old from Austria who had a curse placed upon her by her father; she was simple and was very good as a seamstress. Yet, she had a powerful love for God and was even quoted as saying, "I so infinitely love Jesus that every sacrifice for Him is easy, and to die for Him would be for me the greatest joy. When I am on my knees in adoration in front of the alter, the Savior talks to my soul." Page 166. Her sacrifice was accepted, for she had an interior locution whereby God spoke to her heart and said, "My daughter, when the most beautiful flowers, the roses and lilies, bloom, you will come to my house and you will be with me." Page 166. Immediately thereafter, she suffered horribly, which she used for the advocacy of conversion, and she passed on.
These are simply two of many moving biographies conveyed and examined in this book; it illustrates that nothing, absolutely nothing in regards to human action, is too horrific or gross for God. Free will allows people to do terrible things to each other, and folks do take advantage of it, but God is always there in the end to correct, heal and assuage the aches and doubts. Some times the tools that the He uses to manifest Himself are indeed the children. Another inspirational read.
Sainthood is a fascinating process, because every minute facet of the candidate's life is exposed, dissected, analyzed and scrutinized. Volumes of books can be written and hundreds of witnesses can be brought forward to testify either for or against the candidate's supposed heroic virtues. And even then, sainthood is not immediately forthcoming, for God must then give the final approval of the candidate's authentic holiness by way of two intercessory miracles involving the invocation … more
Holiness comes in all sizes. Sometimes the very small are the greatest in wisdom and grace. Sometimes, the very young demonstrate heroic virtue -- faith, hope, and love -- far beyond their years. Now, Saintly Youth for Modern Times presents the biographies of more than forty of these amazing individuals from around the globe, including one youngster who died at the age of six! Here are boys and girls who watched cartoons on television, went to school, and enjoyed playing sports with their classmates. Here are young men and women who attended dances, drove cars, and loved chatting on the phone with their friends. Here are Catholics who fully lived the Faith -- and some who courageously died for it.Read how these young holy ones faced:ArthritisBack problemsCancer and chemotherapyEye problemsSevere headachesPneumonia... and moreFrom those expected to soon receive the title of Servant of God to those already canonized and declared Saints of the Church, here are young souls whose unwavering love of Christ in the Eucharist -- and devotion to his Blessed Mother -- continue to inspire lives today.Author: Joan Carroll CruzFormat: 288 pages, paperbackPublisher: Our Sunday VisitorISBN: 159276004X