Tag Archives: cancer

Redemption Through Suffering: A Review of ‘Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy’

“Our body is a cenacle, a monstrance: through its crystal the world should see God.”–St. Gianna Molla

Reading Level:

Grade 11+

Review and Comments:

I’ve always been fascinated by the lives of the saints.  Their ability to see God through suffering, their bravery in evangelization, their relationship to Jesus and His mother, and their willingness to face death and persecution for Him are awe=inspiring.  As a cradle Catholic, I have read many of their stories and wished to be closer to them and learn more about them.  They have been the celebrities I have looked up to, and though my favorite saint has changed with my season of life, I have found that often I feel as though their stories are unrealistic in this day and age.  I can’t see myself being like them and I feel that their virtue is unattainable.

It is for this reason I enjoy reading about more modern people who may not be saints (yet) but nevertheless they have lived holy and virtuous lives.  A few years ago I read about Immaculee Ilibagiza and her suffering through the Rwandan genocide.  Her joy and faith  amidst terrible suffering have been a beautiful witness of God’s forgiveness and love for those involved.  She became someone I aspired to be for a long time, but her suffering was extreme, and often times I could not fully relate.  (You can read more about her here.)  

My newest role model is Chiara Corbella Petrillo. I saw Chiara’s story make the rounds in the Catholic blogosphere a year or so ago.  I read a bit about her and thought it was a sad story, but moved on as people do when they read something online.  Then her book popped up as a recommendation for me.  I couldn’t put it down. Continue reading Redemption Through Suffering: A Review of ‘Chiara Corbella Petrillo: A Witness to Joy’

The Burden of Affliction: A Review of ‘A Monster Calls’

“Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace.  The gift of grace increases as the struggle increases.”-St. Rose of Lima

Interest Level:


Grade Level Equivalent:


Review and Thoughts

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness is a story about a young boy named Conor whose mother is dying of cancer.  Conor is visited by an ancient monster, a yew tree, who lives in a graveyard close to his house.  The monster tells him that he will tell Conor three stories and then Conor must tell him the fourth story, which is Conor’s truth, or he will be eaten.  Conor is surprisingly not scared of this monster because he has seen another monster in his dreams and it is much more terrifying. Continue reading The Burden of Affliction: A Review of ‘A Monster Calls’