Yup! No matter what color your skin, you need this book in your home as well.
A few days ago we launched our new book: SAINTS LIKE ME: GREAT BLACK CATHOLICS. The response has been insane, and I am so humbled. Thank you for linking arms with me and working to make sure EVERY CHILD knows that they are called to heaven–called to be a saint!
We can teach our children that every person is called to holiness. We can make the Church a more vibrant and beautiful place, together. And to do this, we need to get to work teaching these lessons in our homes.
So, my inbox has been slammed with so many love notes, but also lots of questions. I apologize if I haven’t gotten back to you (working on it!) but in the meantime, I thought that you might also be wrestling with one of these questions I’ve been seeing a lot, so here is a little FAQ regarding the Black Catholics Board Book.
1. Why isn’t the book called “Great African American Catholics” or “Black Saints”?
Simple. Most of the people included in the book aren’t American, and many aren’t African.
The one thing that unites all of the people included in this book is the color of their skin. My friend Maia, a zealous convert to the faith who helped us put together this book, encouraged me to just say it like it is. The people in this book are Black. Kids need to see saints with dark skin. It’s as simple as that. So let’s stop putting complicated names on things and just say it like it is.
Next, why didn’t we call the book “Black Saints”? Well, again the answer is simple. Not all of the people included in this book are canonized saints. They are all ON THE PATH TO SAINTHOOD, but many are Venerable or Blessed, and not saints (yet).
Also, after much debate and prayer we decided not to include people that have only been given the title of “Servant of God.” Although these people are also on the path to sainthood, we felt more comfortable including only those that the Church has fully investigated and set aside as having lived a life of “heroic virtue”, thus earning them the title of “venerable.”
And so, the two terms that applied to every incredible individual included in this book are “Catholic” and “Black”. Therefore, we decided to call the book, “Great Black Catholics.”
And don’t worry, we are already working on 2 additional books: “Great Latino Catholics” and “Great Asian Catholics”. Look for them around Easter!
2. Why is it a board book…is it just for babies?
Nope, this book is 100% not just for babies.
We decided to make this book a board book for a couple of reasons.
First, I want the faces of these saints to be a firm and long-lasting presence in your home. All too often the saint books we own sit on the shelf, or are only looked at when we are actually reading that particular book. And that’s not what I want for this book.
We worked hard to create images that really remind us that these people were REAL and BEAUTIFUL. It is my hope that your copy of Great Black Catholics is one of a handful of books in your living room that kids are regularly picking up and looking at. I pray that soon the faces of these saints will become friendly and familiar.
Next, this book is an introduction to the saints.
As you can see, the biography of each saint is very brief, and we did this intentionally. Come meet these saints in the board book, and then encourage your child or family to pick out one saint you can get to know well.
In our forth-coming app (ready early 2021) we will be creating beautiful audio stories for each of the saints featured in this book. So really, Great Black Catholics is a primer. It is the beginning of a relationship with these saints.
3. Is this book only for Catholics of color?
No matter what your family looks like, we all need to start seeing a greater diversity in our Church and the individuals we venerate as holy.
Great Catholic Saints is a way to celebrate the universal call to holiness. It is also a way to introduce your children to saints they might not otherwise know about.
Finally, we intentionally named this book, SAINTS LIKE ME because no matter who you are or what you look like, you will be able to relate to these incredible Black Catholics. They lived real lives and had real struggles.
Each saint’s bio ends with a call to unite our experiences and feelings with that experiences and feelings of this saint. Here are a few examples:
- When I accept God’s mercy and start again, I am like St. Moses the Black.
- When I forgive those who have hurt me, I am like St. Josephine Bakhita.
- When I pursue God’s will for me no matter how difficult, I am like Ven. Augustus Tolton.
More than anything, I encourage you to drop the boundaries and limits we have all put on holiness. We are one Church. We share one universal call to holiness. SAINTS LIKE ME: GREAT BLACK CATHOLICS celebrates being Catholic and the journey to heaven. It celebrates the Church and the many great people that have gone before us.
Again, Maia says it better than I do. If you have yet to watch this little video, I encourage you to do so:
Thanks for being here. Thanks for celebrating being Catholic with me.
And, if I didn’t answer the question you had, just hit reply!
Nancy and Bill