I just joined The Catholic Company's reviewer program, and the first book I chose to review was The Four Teresas, by Gina Loehr. The first aspect of Mrs. Loehr's book that pleased me was how systematic it is laid out and easy to read. She states how the book will progress and it does just that. The language used is easy to read and would be for high schoolers through adult. By stating that it is easy to read, I do not mean that it is "dumbed down." Not in the least!
The premise is that these four Teresa's: St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicta, and Blessed Mother Teresa, each are linked to an aspect of this scripture verse, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39.
St. Therese of Lisieux=love the Lord with your whole heart; St. Teresa of Avila=love the Lord with your whole soul; St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross=love the Lord with your whole mind, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta=Loving your neighbor as yourself.
Mrs. Loehr takes most of each saint's chapter giving a biographical account of that saint and how they lived out their particular aspect. She infuses pertinent quotes, lively vignettes, and modern analogies to appeal to any reader. The end of each chapter holds questions for reflections, a list of ten ways to become more like that saint, and additional points for consideration.
This book could easily be used by high school youth groups, college men's and women's groups, and older adults living out their vocations. It's slim, only 128 pages, and easily portable. When I got through the first chapter, I mentioned to our local Campus Ministry how appropriate I thought this book would be for their women's small groups. Thoughtful reading and reflection of the saint's biography followed by reflection questions to journal about. The ten ways to be like the saint are "butt-kickers." You want to be holy? Here you go...ten things to do. I can see the young women in the small groups calling each other on with those, and the points for consideration would be terrific to discuss in small groups.
As I read this book during my daughter's naptimes and in the evenings while my husband attended his bible study, I found myself re-reading pages and making notes. I took it with me to adoration and brought questions to the Lord that were rooted in reflections from this book. Since finishing it, I find myself recommending it to just about everybody.
Mrs. Loehr includes a bibliography of the sources she used and additional websites for further reading. Believe me, I'll be checking those out! She's hit a spiritual nerve that yearns to go deeper.
This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Four Teresas. I received nothing but a free copy of the book in exchange for my opinion of it.