Here’s a look at three small books that pack a powerful punch. One is for children, another is a biography; the third is another of Bishop Robert Morneau’s reflections.
My Sister (Brother) Is Annoying! And Other Prayers for Children by Fr. Joe Kempf and Big Al. Illustrated by Chris Sharp (Liguori, $16.95).
“Family is hard sometimes,” Big Al says on the first page of My Sister Is Annoying. Who can argue with that?
Fr. Joe Kempf has put together 20 simple prayers to help children – and parents – deal with the joys and heartaches of daily life.
One of my favorites is “I’m Lucky to Have Food Today” complete with an illustration of a youngster trying to eat a plate full or peas. “I’m lucky to have food today. They say I should be glad but this is not my favorite food … Help me to remember (those who are starving) and fill my heart with care.”
Some topics are mundane: going to bed, going outside, being quiet or dealing with that annoying sibling. Others are for happy times: birthdays or being grateful for grandparents. Or difficult times: “No one will pick me for their team,” dealing with anger or sickness. Then there are the really tough times: “My grandma died” or “I miss my dog.”
Kempf does a good job of bringing these heartfelt prayers to a child’s level. There is also a CD. More information can be found at http://www.liguori.org/. The book is available at St. Catherine’s Bookstore.
This Little Light: Lessons in Living From Sister Thea Bowman by Michael O’Neill McGrath (Orbis Books, $20).
Anyone who knows the story of Sister Thea Bowman knows what an inspiration she has been to so many. Brother Michael O’Neill McGrath captures Bowman’s courageous witness and intense love for all God’s people that shone through her teaching, preaching and living in his brief look at her life and death.
Bowman, who was born in 1937 in the segregated South, joined the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wis., as a teenager. Cancer claimed her in 1990, but not before she made an indelible mark on her church. Brother Michael never knew Sister Thea when she lived. Rather, he became captivated as he got to know her as he learned her story, a story he tells well in prose and pictures. Sister Thea’s message of God’s love and hope lives on, thanks to McGrath.
Pathways to Relationship: Four Weeks on Simplicity, Gentleness, Humility, Friendship by Robert F. Morneau (New City Press, $8.95).
Pathways to Relationship may have only 72 pages, but it could take a month to read and a lifetime to achieve. Bishop Morneau again packs so much into so little space.
The format is familiar. He reflects on a diverse range of authors, such as Henri Nouwen, Gandhi, Jessica Powers, Albert Schweitzer and Thomas Merton, then poses a question for reflection and ends with a short prayer.
As usual, he makes it all look so simple, yet this book is as powerful as his other books for reflection.
Sister Jean Peerenboom is the former religion/books editor from the Green Bay Press Gazette. Sister Jean is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross. She writes a monthly book review for the Holy Cross Family Blogspot.
To read all of Sister Jean Peerenboom's book reviews, click here.