Modern saintly men: heroism in the mundane

04 Feb 2009

By The Record

Book Review
Saintly Men of Modern Times
By Joan Carroll Cruz
$33.95 + P/H The Record Bookshop 9227 7080

Men in Rome for the beatification of the spanish martyrs, October 28 2007.

Reviewed by Mark Reidy

Joan Cruz has no problem with the number of Saints who lived their lives within cloistered boundaries. However she believes that it is more appropriate for the average Christian to be presented with models of holiness who have endured the everyday struggles and difficulties that confront those living within a secular environment.
In her book, “Saintly Men of Modern Times”, Cruz has provided over 70 such examples of mainly twentieth century men, who were able to successfully weave inspired practical living into their faith filled lives, with many having overcome great difficulties in the process. Representatives from a multitude of ethnicities, occupations and levels of physical health, provide the reader with a wide selection of Catholics that they may be able to identify with. From horse traders to Prime Ministers, mechanics and martyrs, alcoholics and architects, gypsies and judges, rich and poor, old and young, married and single, those afflicted with, amongst other illnesses, neurosis, paralysis, meningitis and heart disease …and even a journalist!
Each man has either already become a saint or is at some stage of the canonisation process and Cruz has incorporated details of their families, childhood and adult lives in chapters ranging from two to ten pages long, making it very easy to read in short bursts. 
There are stories of exceptional sacrifice and bravery, but they are also blended into lives that could be seen as mundane and unexceptional. This is a wonderful book for those who want to be inspired by examples of great holiness, but it also serves as a reminder that there are saintly people who walk amongst us everyday.