"Ablaze" – Review
Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints
Pope John Paul II, quoting St. Catherine of Siena, challenged thousands of young people at the 2000 World Youth Day shouting, "If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"
Colleen Swaim carries this challenge forward in her new book, Ablaze: Stories of Daring Teen Saints (Liguori, paperback, 132 pages). The book profiles eight young saints who exhibited fiery, zealous virtue all the way to their death. These eight were chosen as perfect models for modern young people both because of their young age and imitable lives:
- Saint Dominic Savio
- Saint Teresa of the Andes
- Saint Kizito
- Blessed Chiara Luce Badano
- Saint Stanislaus Kostka
- Saint Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception
- Blessed Pedro Calungsod
- Saint Maria Goretti
Besides their virtue, each of these saints share two things in common: they each died young--just one lived past twenty--and almost all are modern, dying within the last hundred years.
But Swaim's masterful storytelling really brings them back to life. Saint biographies can sometimes be dry or stilted but this book is vibrant and breezy. In addition to the biographies, Swaim also includes helpful sidebars defining obscure terms and she's added 'extras' like recipes, prayers, and reflection questions.
Ultimately, these eight heroes show that holiness isn't some dusty old ideal but something that can be pursued and lived out in the present, by any young person. Ablaze is perfect for young people, particularly those in high school, but it would be just as good for anyone looking to discover some new heroes.