Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

A Storyteller’s Guide to Joyful Service – Book Review

Joyful ServiceWhat sheer joy it was to read A Storyteller’s Guide to Joyful Service, by best-selling author, Tony Agnesi. This sequel to A Storyteller’s Guide to A Graced Filled Life, moves us from the stories of Tony’s upbringing, to stories of how, and why, he entered ministry in service to others.  Agnesi is a storyteller, at heart. Give him a room full of people, and he will have them laughing, crying, and wanting more! Well, in this latest in his series, he did just that!

Joyful Service Made Me Laugh

He made me laugh when I read the story about the “80 MPH Rosary.” Bored, on a long drive home from an engagement, an elderly man Continue reading

Playing by Heart, by Carmela Martino – Book Review

Playing by HeartIn Playing by Heart, by Carmela Martino, we meet two gifted sisters. The story,  set in 1730’s, Milan, Italy, introduces us to Maria, a gifted linguist, mathematician and speaker. Her sister, Emilia, excels at playing and composing music, as well as singing. Where Maria shines in knowledge of the sciences, Emilia glistens in the arts. In 1730’s Italy, it was rare to come across educated females.

We find that the girls father’s long held desire to gain a noble title, drives the entire story; propelling the girls into situations that a young lady of the 21st century would never need to confront. In the 1730’s, for example, parents arranged the marriages of their children. Young ladies had Continue reading

Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray – Book Review

Mommy, Mommy, When You PrayMommy, Mommy, When You Pray, is a delightful children’s book for ages 3-5, written and illustrated by Kimberly Cook. In this little gem of a book, children learn about the virtue of gratitude. Mommy is thankful to God for all He blesses her with, and she shares those thoughts with her children. The illustrations are colorful and engaging; surely to capture your child’s attention and interest.

This little story will open up dialogue between you and your child; for the two of you share what you are thankful for, and why. Kimberly Cook has a knack for capturing the everyday occurrences of life and highlighting them as special – worthy of thanks! Cook has a lot of love packed Continue reading

A Soldier Surrenders – Book Review

Soldier SurrendersSusan Peek has a knack for bringing the lives of obscure saints to the forefront. For example, in Saint Magnus, the Last Viking, she took us on a swashbuckling adventure. Today, Peek enthralls us with A Soldier Surrenders, the Conversion of St. Camillus de Lellis. In this action-packed adventure, we follow the life of Camillus de Lellis, mercenary for the Turks, and a baptized Catholic! We see contradiction from the start. How can a Catholic fight Catholics on behalf of the Moslems? You can, if you are hungry and have no other means to support yourself.

Camillus de Lellis is a strong-willed, and stubborn young man, who thinks that all he can do is fight, gamble and drink Continue reading

Calvary Road – Journey from Judaism to Calvary – Book Review

Calvary RoadCalvary Road, by Marty Barrack, is an interesting memoir/conversion story of Barrack’s conversion from Judaism to Catholicism. Roughly, the first 60% of the book is a memoir of Barrack’s life. We read about Barrack growing up in New York City and meeting the love of his life, Irene.  We learn about Barrack’s profession as a Customs officer. Very little touches on Barrack’s faith. I must admit, as I was reading the book, I kept questioning, “When do we get to the conversion part?”  With the title, Calvary Road, I expected more conversion and less memoir.

However, when I reached page 220, the conversion part kicked into high gear! From that point on, it was a page-turner. Continue reading

Secrets, Visible and Invisible – Book Review

SecretsWhat a treat it was to read Secrets – Visible & Invisible, a selection of seven short stories, written by seven different Catholic teen authors. Each story centers on a secret, and each story’s protagonist(s) depicted virtue, worthy of emulating. So, here is the run down:

Secrets of Faith

The Underappreciated Virtues of Rusty Old Bicycles, is a dystopian tale from Corinna Turner. In this story we meet Margo and Bane, two pre-teens out for a joy ride. They live in a futuristic time where religion and faith are taboo, yet Margo and Bane are practicing Catholics. Masses are said underground. After attending a secret Mass, they get into trouble while trying to get home on time. Will Continue reading

Living Virtuously – Book Review and Give Away!

Living VirtuouslyIn Living Virtuously, Erin Harrison teaches us how to embrace and embody virtue in our homes. Harrison is a homesteading and homeschooling mom. She shares with us her own trials and triumphs in addressing vice and embodying virtue; using real-life recollections. Harrison’s perspective on life, and her tone of writing, calls us back to a time when manners and etiquette were valued. She’s quick to point out that the technological advances of the 20th century do not always give us a better quality of life. In Harrison’s opinion, sometimes it is better to do things the old-fashioned way – like talking to each other face to face!

If you are a working mom, or a woman who Continue reading

Emily’s Hope, by Ellen Gable – Book Review

Ellen GableIn Emily’s Hope, by Ellen Gable, Gable gives us a glimpse into the two mindsets of the abortion/pro-life movements. In this fictional tale, Gable introduces us to Katherine Clayman, circa early 20th century, when women did not have the right to an abortion, let alone the right to vote. We learn of the illegality of ending a pregnancy and the lengths women would go to do just that.  Kathryn is a proponent of ending unwanted pregnancies and she doesn’t believe in God. Her philosophy was, “we live our lives, then we die and that’s the end of us.” (p.304).

Contrast that thought with that of Emily Greer, Katherine’s Great-Granddaughter, who believes in the sanctity of Continue reading