Vintage Saints and Sinners: 25 Christians Who Transformed My Faith by Karen Wright Marsh
Luther, Augustine, O'Connor--Oh My!
VINTAGE SAINTS AND SINNERS is a serious read--but it's also a fun, inspiring read. I knew about many of the "saints" featured, such as C.S. Lewis, Tozer, and Augustine, but there were also some who were unfamiliar to me. I was only vaguely familiar with the name Julian of Norwich. I knew about Francis of Assisi, but who is "Clare" of Assisi?
Perhaps the most intriguing saint featured is Flannery O'Connor. The author raves about O'Connor, placing her "among the greatest American writers, and at the top of my English syllabus." She notes that
"One cannot get through a Flannery O'Connor story without encountering the strangeness of God."
Wow! I admit I am now motivated to read Flannery O'Connor.
Of course, I was familiar with Mother Teresa, but after reading the chapter on her life, I realize how little I actually knew. Letters made public after her death show a soul who feared she had been abandoned by God: "I feel the terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me. . . " This surprised me. Mother Teresa--feeling abandoned by God?
The author includes "Conversation Starters" at the end of each chapter. Just like it sounds, this section has some excellent discussion points. For example, "Dorothy Day said, 'Don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed to easily.' What makes us bristle at the term saint?"
So all in all, I found VINTAGE SAINTS AND SINNERS to be an inspiring book, full of wonderful, inspiring lives. After reading this book, I am motivated to research more on many of these figures. So, whether you are Roman Catholic or Protestant, there is something to inspire everyone in this bright book.
This book is also part-autobiography, as the author recounts her own spiritual struggles. In the chapter on John Wesley, Karen admits,
"Now I feel that I've stepped out from the spotlight of center stage and down into a living faith where God is breathing spiritual life into my soul."
Advance Review Copy courtesy of the publisher.