Monday, December 1, 2014

The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People by Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson

My eyes have been opened to the rich history and beauty of American Catholicism. The subtitle of this book is “A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary people". This subtitle gives a glimpse into a history punctuated with many different spiritual paths of specific Americans. In this book, there are famous people you have heard of, like Fulton Sheen, Michael McGivney and many not so famous like Theodora Guerin, Rene Goupil. All of the stories are interesting histories of real Americans. There are stories of establishments of dioceses and designations of minor basilicas in America. There are also fun stories like the one of Al Capone. I like the one story a day format, so you can break it up to once a day reading. You could incorporate this into your daily prayer time or ponder their stories throughout your day. You could also look up a special day like your birthday to see what happened in American Catholic history on that day. It does need lend itself to reading straight through like a novel because this is not the intended format. There is a jumping around of timelines which is a bit confusing but probably not as much if not reading straight through. It is hard to sum up someone's life in one page but the authors do a good job of giving you the essence of what contribution this person has made to American Catholic history. I would recommend this book to expand your historical knowledge of American Catholicism and to give you a sense of being part of a rich Christian heritage in America. Even those who are not Catholic will enjoy these stories of American Christians who helped shape the religious landscape of American history.

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