Heroes of God's Church

Father P. Henry Matimiore, S.T.D.
Neumann Press
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
286 pages
Grade / Age level: 

"In writing this volume, the purpose has been to acquaint our children with biographies that will have some particular influence on the development of their characters. Each story has been planned as a real character-training project, not merely as a reading lesson to inspire admiration for faith and religious heroism." (From the Foreword)

I think the author does an admirable job in achieving his purpose. We are shown how the Saints were real people who struggled with things like bad tempers and parents who just didn't understand their religious fervor. Some became great saints by just doing the little everyday things well and out of love while others showed incredible heroism through the most agonizing tortures and martyrdom.

The book covers 25 Saint stories, from 6 to 18 pages each, with comprehension questions for each story. We are presented with a variety of Saints of every age with a true diversity of personalities, difficulties to overcome and social classes. The chronological order and selection would also make this a very worthwhile supplement to a study of World History.

The comprehension questions seem suited to mid-grade school (perhaps grades 3-6) but the stories themselves would be appropriate for a wide age range (probably from first grade through adult if care is taken with regard to some of the "scarier" martyr stories for the very young ones).

I would like to note that there is an incident related in the story of St. Patrick that I think might be disturbing to children and I suspect that it's either a legend or there are parts of the story missing. I recommend that parents read that one story ahead of time in order to decide how to handle it with their own children.

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