How you know me: I am blessed to spend all day as the teacher of the 5th graders at St. Joseph School in Pekin, and I also serve as the DRE at my parish, Immaculate Conception in Lacon. You may have met me around the Diocese at one of the presentations that I have done for the Office of Catechetics “Let My People Come” Series.
Why I love reading: I always like to say that people learn best through stories because we were created and immersed in a grand story. Every book we read moves us outside of ourselves and gives us a glimpse of that story. Whether it is as a journey into another world, a way to challenge and expand our minds, or as a source of inspiration in our faith, books can be tools to help us learn about who we are and the plans that God has for us.
What I'm reading now: I just finished A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe, Saint of Auschwitz by Patricia Treece. It was published the year that he was canonized, and while the book is threaded together by the author, the content is filled with firsthand accounts of people who knew him as a child, priest, and victim of Auschwitz. The countless interviews of those that witnessed St. Max’s life give a unique perspective on his incredible story.
A book that I couldn’t put down was The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann. It is a new emotion-packed inspirational thriller that makes a great stand-alone novel, but is actually the third in a series that was last published ten years ago. Exploring grief, forgiveness, and the meaning of family, this would be a great book to enjoy on a snow day with a good cup of coffee.
My fifth graders and I just read Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, and we enjoyed discussing the problems young Matt faced and the hard decisions he had to make. We all really liked this coming-of-age tale.
I also recently finished reading/rereading all of Jane Austen’s novels. A group of friends and I worked through them over the course of a year, and we had a lot of fun comparing them to our modern culture, which doesn't always seem that different from Austen's world.
Next on my stack is St. Thérèse: A Treasured Love Story, which is a collection of sermons given by Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen about one of his favorite Saints. I am enjoying his view into her life, as well as his various teachings about prayer, suffering, being a saint, and spiritual warfare.
My favorite book: My favorite fiction has to be the O’Malley Series by Dee Henderson. Favorite non-fiction is a little harder to choose; maybe My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin or The World’s First Love by Fulton Sheen or A Father Who Keeps His Promises by Scott Hahn. There are just too many great books to pick one!