Faith is fundamentally a relationship with Jesus – God who came to live among us as a man and who so loved us that he gave his life for us. It is our relationship with a person – Jesus – that is the core of our faith and it is therefore of great value to see how others related to him before us. The saints, then, are those people who have built strong relationships with Jesus, who have put their faith in Him and who have made it their goal in life to be like Him. Seeing how they have done so under a myriad conditions and in a vast variety of ways helps us to find our own, specific way of being like Jesus and of bringing Him to all around us.
Pope Benedict XVI answered a question put to him in 2008 by saying that, “if we look at the saints, this great luminous trail on which God passed through history, we see that there truly is a force of good which resists the millennia; there truly is the light of light.” In this book our aim is to share that light and that trail in a way that is accessible to children and understandable for them. In the process of writing the short stories contained here, we have shared them with children between the ages of 4 to 10 and have made adjustments where necessary to get to the texts presented here. The response we have encountered was one of wonder, joy and an eagerness to follow the beautiful examples of the saints’ lives. We sincerely hope that the children you will read these stories to will respond likewise.
Since there is great variety in the stories contained here, ranging from realizing that some saints expressed their love of God through art (e.g., Andrej Rublev) while for others it meant giving up their lives in exchange for their neighbors being spared (e.g., Maximilian Kolbe), there is a need for prudence when deciding which story to read to a particular child. As a result, we recommend you to first read these short stories for yourself. To supplement the stories presented here, we have also prepared coloring pages based on the paintings that accompany them. These can be found at primo3r.com and have been a great success with the kids who have tried them so far.
Also, please, note that not all of the people written about here are saints in the Catholic canon law sense – some of them are at the beginning of the process towards being declared saints (e.g., Servant of God Antoni Gaudí), others (e.g., Blessed Chiara “Luce” Badano) are further along the way, while the majority here are already recognized as saints proper. Also note that Andrej Rublev and Abba Bishoy are revered as saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church (and Andrej also in the Anglican Communion), but not in the Catholic Church.
We hope that both you and the children you will pass these stories to will get enjoyment out of the great example that our brother and sister saints have given us.
Ján & Peter Morovič
14 December 2012
Feast of St. John of the Cross