A bedtime story worth telling...

Cheridan Sanders

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stories are powerful. They inspire us, imbue us with values, and foster a sense of continuity with the past. In fact, I always marvel at how Jesus used parables to reveal realities that could hardly be fathomed by those who heard them. I've heard it said that we become the stories we tell ourselves. I'll admit, I'm a grown-up who still loves children's stories. Often they're profound in their simplicity. One such story about Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha prompted me to do some serious reflection on the nature of religious vocation and our universal call to holiness. Who knew that a 32 page children's book, read while I was traveling home on the streetcar, would challenge me so deeply! So in honour of Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha's feast day I thought I'd suggest the book to others.  Check out Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, published by Novalis, written by Anne E. Neuberger, with illustrations by Kevin Davidson. The children's book tells the story of Kateri from her early beginnings as the daughter of the Chief of the Tortoise Clan to her eventual death at the age of 24. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of this book is the honesty of the story
It does not idealize Kateri's situation. It speaks plainly of the suffering she endured, but it certainly imbues a sense of joy in the reader. Contemplating the life of Kateri, you're immediately moved by her earnest love of God, which persists despite her great trials. What a wonderful gift to give your children! I look forward to sharing Kateri's story with my own children one day.  Her story presents the reader with a great challenge. When we think of saints, we think - they're perfect, how could I possibly get even close to that level of holiness! But the more I learn about them, the more I'm inspired to keep trying to be better, to love God and to draw closer to Him everyday in prayer. Although Kateri died over 300 years ago her example is a model not only for today's  aspiring saints, but also for those specially seeking to transform the world by means of the new evangelization.

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