My Badass Book of Saints by Maria Morera Johnson.
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My sister-in-law gave me this book as a Christmas present, and I was immediately drawn in by the title, which I know might throw some people, but I really liked. The book draws on Johnson’s personal experiences and ties these stories in with the lives of 11 canonized saints and 11 strong women today and from history. The book is set up for a group to read over the course of 6 weeks and has discussion questions at the end of the book as well as prayer prompts. I however just read it during our school’s Christmas break.
I really enjoyed learning about the women in the book- people like Sister Blandina who was a missionary in the Wild West (she met Billy the Kid!) and Flannery O’Connor. I loved the ways the saints and the other women connected, but I sometimes found the book to be too heavy on the personal memoir side and not enough about the other women “featured”. However, I then had a whole list of inspiring women to read more about. Because I searched before reading and couldn’t find this information anywhere, here is a complete list of the women and saints from the book.
The Saints: Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Helena, Catherine of Sienna, Gianna Beretta Molla, Christina the Astonishing, Margaret of Antioch, Rose of Lima, Rosalie Rendu, Rita of Cascia, Bibiana, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Women: Blandina Segale, Nancy Wake, Edel Quinn, Mary Lange, Phyllis Bowman, Irena Sendler, Flannery O’Connor, Audrey Hepburn, Dorothea Lange, Imaculee Ilibagiza, Antonia Brenner.
I think this would be a great book to read with a group of new moms or high school youth group members. While many of the stories relate to Johnson’s life as a wife and mother, I think single women and younger women could also relate to the stories of courage and virtue. Overall I really enjoyed it, and it gave me a jumping off point to learn about some pretty inspiring people.
Popcorn level: 4- an easy read but not super fast, especially if you get sucked into researching all these women 🙂
Stars:4- I would have liked to hear more about the women in each chapter- sometimes it was heavy on the author’s personal reflection