A Walk in Her Sandals Review

This is a book that combines biblical truth and teachings, devotions, life application, and fiction into one. Each chapter is divided into different sections, each meant to give you a different and unique perspective on the last week of Jesus’ life. What intrigued me the most was the fictionalized, behind the scenes, woman’s take on what was happening during Holy Week. Not to give anything away, but a possible and plausible answer to “who cooked the Passover dinner?” is in there!
A Walk in Her Sandals edited by Kelly M. Wahlquist is part of the Women in the New Evangelization effort and will be the book club read during Lent this year. It will be very interesting to read it during Lent when we are walking with Jesus to his passion, death, and resurrection. What is different about this book is two-fold; first, it is written from a woman’s perspective, for women, which is unique. It takes disparate types of writing, puts them together and makes you think about scripture. Knowing scripture is an invaluable way to know about Jesus. Second, practical ways to evangelize, to reach out to others are offered in each chapter.
One of the sections that people may find particularly helpful is the Lectio Divina section. We may have heard about this way of reading scripture, but here we are guided through the passage after we have learned about it.
This book captured my imagination in a way other books have not. I usually don’t like fictionalized stories about Jesus, but these are beautifully written and engaged me. All the parts of the book are woven together, taking us from Palm Sunday to Pentecost, teaching about Jesus, drawing us into a deeper relationship with him, and guiding us in prayer. All of this with the objective to love him more and to serve him more fully in whatever our role is in our life.
I look forward to reading A Walk in Her Sandals during Lent and I hope you will too!

More information about the book is available here.

This post is just one from the Siena Sisters Blog Hop.  For more posts about A Walk in Her Sandals, hop on over to our page!


Book Review – Proclaiming the Message of Life by Fr. Frank Pavone

How often have you been to Mass, listened to the readings and homily and heard a clear message about the sanctity of life and why abortion is wrong? Or how the Church can help those who have suffered with the pain of abortion? Has the vast network of organizations that can support women in a crisis pregnancy been mentioned?

I can tell you that in all of my years attending Mass, I have only heard a handful of pro-life homilies at a Sunday Mass. Even on the Sunday in October dedicated as Respect Life Sunday, it is not discussed. It always seems to me that teaching about the inherent dignity of life and how abortion is in direct opposition to that is important and necessary.

I can understand that there may be concerns, hesitation and maybe just a bit of fear that people will respond in a negative way. However, if we, the people of God are not challenged how will we grow? As Fr. Pavone says, “Preaching should foster the ongoing conversion and growth in holiness of the people entrusted to our pastoral care. A pastor is a shepherd. To shepherd people, preachers must be clear and courageous in confronting evil and likewise calm and compassionate. Our desire is to instruct people, inspire them, and equip them to take action.” What a beautiful vision for preaching and one I hope all who preach aspire to.

The book for Fr. Pavone wrote is a wonderful aid in preaching the message of life. The book has two main divisions, part one of the book gives a general overview of why and how to preach this message while part two gives specific reflection for every Sunday of the Year for all three cycles of readings! It is very extensive.

The first part of the book talks about why and how to preach about abortion, including scripture and doctrinal points that can be used as a springboard for talks or homilies. My favorite chapter though is seven, “Common Obstacles to Preaching on Abortion.” The thirty-two questions raised and answered ran the gamut from “Am I afraid I won’t be loved?” to “Will I endanger our tax exemption by speaking on abortion?”.

Of course, it is easy for me to read these reflections, which I have, and say “yes, preach it!” So I checked in with my deacon husband. He preaches about one Sunday a month. He has read the reflections and found ways to include some of the thoughts presented in his homilies. And that is the point of this book, to include some thoughts about how and why we are a pro-life people.

I think this book would be a welcome addition to the libraries of those who preach and also those who are active in pro-life ministry. It is practical, useful and accessible tool. The book is full of reassurances to preach the truth, based on Fr. Pavone experiences of preaching all around the country as the national director for Priests for Life. Published by Servant, it is available in both hardcover and digital editions.

Book Review – Keep Your Kids Catholic by Marc Cardaronella

I was eager to read Keep Your Kids Catholic: Sharing your Faith and Making it Stick  by Marc Cardaronella for many reasons.  Many people on social media and sites I frequent had positive comments about it; I need resources to share with my families in our faith formation program; and I’m working on revamping that program to include some parent component.  And of course, I wanted to know if I’d done of Marc’s ideas when I was raising my own kids. 

What I look for in resources for parents are books which teach without being preachy, doable activities that take a minimum of preparation and implementation time, and are possible for parents who are and those who aren’t, well versed in the faith.  I’m happy to say Cardaronella does all of that and more.

The book is divided into four parts, “How does Faith Work”; “Is Your Own Faith Secure?”, “What Kind of Education Fosters Faith?” and “How do You Create an Environment of Faith?”.  Each part has four chapters and at the end of each chapter there is a section called, “Reflect, Pray, Live” which gives action points for parents on how to implement the ideas in the chapter. 

Marc weaves his own faith journey story into the book, reminding readers that no one is perfect and coming to faith is a process which happens over time.  It’s not a once and done proposition.  Many points he made about our religious education programs resonated with me and reminded me yet again how much work we need to do in that area.

I’m not going to give you every quote I highlighted from the book, but here are two that can you a sense of his tone and style. 

“Faith doesn’t automatically develop from reception of the sacraments and religious education…although those two things are important in nurturing faith.”   This is a constant struggle.  It is almost as if parents and even sometimes catechists and program directors believe that learning enough facts, prayers, and information to receive certain sacraments means we’ve helped someone grow in faith.  Knowledge does not determine faith.

This quote is possibly my absolute favorite, “The goal of faith formation is not a theoretical knowledge of Catholic doctrine, but a lived experience of faith in Jesus Christ.”  Can someone work on that thought becoming a part of every mission statement of faith formation programs?

I know I’ve focused quite a bit on my personal perspective of why this book is a necessary read.  Let me say that I found it to be a book for all of us who interact with children in regard to their faith journey.  I will encourage the parents of the families I work with to pick up this book and put its ideas into practice. 

Parents have a tremendous influence over their children and are often at a loss as to how to have a positive and effective input where faith is concerned.  Keep your Kids Catholic does a wonderful job of providing practical information on how to help children grow in their faith. 

For more information about the book or to purchase, you can go to Ave Maria Press. 

Thank you to Marc Cardaronella and Ave Maria Press for providing me with a review copy.