The American Catholic Almanac – Book Review

The American Catholic Almanac Book Cover The American Catholic Almanac
Brian Burch, Emily Stimpson,
Religion
Image
9/30/2014
408

Tells the stories of prominent, influential, and infamous American Catholics, from the colonial period to modern times, that expose the history of Catholicism in America in the form of daily readings.

The good news is that I can officially add The American Catholic Almanac by Brian Burch and Emily Stimpson to my read shelf on Goodreads, having devoured the entire thing.  The bad news is the book is meant to last an entire year (one entry per day) and I gorged on the entire book in between naps, setting up the crock pot, and sub-par monitoring of my daughter’s paint project on the kitchen table (seriously, that got messy ya’ll!).  As my toddler likes to say, the book is “all gone.”  

Each entry is a single page devoted to recording interesting and often unknown (OK, so they were all pretty much unknown to me) snippets of Americana, Catholic style.  Each story portrayed a prominent historical figure or time in history starring a Catholic individual.  The book cover totes several examples including:

  • The first immigrant to arrive in America via Ellis Island was a 15-year-old Irish Catholic girl?  (this one is really sweet…FYI….a true story of sibling love)
  • Al Capone’s tombstone reads “MY JESUS MERCY”?
  • Andrew Jackson credited America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans to the prayers of the Virgin Mary and the Ursuline Sisters?
  • Five Franciscans died in sixteenth-century Georgia defending the Church’s teachings on marriage?
  • Jack Kerouac died wanting to be known as a Catholic and not only as a beat poet?
  • Catholic missionaries lived in Virginia 36 years before the English settled Jamestown?

A personal favorite is May 4th, starring Reverend Fulton J. Sheen, of Sheenazing Awards fame.  He lends his ear and patience to a struggling congresswoman dealing with the unexpected and tragic death of her daughter.  Credited with the unfortunate, but popular phrases, “No good deed goes unpunished,” and “Widowhood is a fringe benefit of marriage,” she was an unlikely Catholic convert, but convert she did and go on to do many wonderful things for her faith.  She is the founder of South Carolina’s Mepkin Abbey.    

The book is filled with inspiring and interesting stories like these, some starring very prominent historical figures, others lesser known characters.  I found myself wondering if all the stories were factually accurate, but the few that I googled seemed to be at least consistent with Internet based data.  I think this would be a wonderful gift for a Catholic history buff or person who likes to read some interesting intellectual content in small snippets throughout the day – read Catholic Home Schooling Mama!  LOL  

Have you read it?  What did you think?  Did you have a favorite story?

 

From the Publisher:

WHAT DO BUFFALO BILL , JOHN F. KENNEDY, VINCE LOMBARDI , DOROTHY DAY, FULTON SHEEN, AND ANDY WARHOL HAVE IN COMMON?
 
They’re all Catholics who have shaped America. In this page-a-day history, 365 inspiring stories celebrate the historic contributions of American men and women shaped by their Catholic faith. From famous figures to lesser-known saints and sinners, The American Catholic Almanac tells the fascinating, funny, uplifting, and unlikely tales of Catholics’ influence on American history, culture, and politics. Spanning the scope of the Revolutionary War to Notre Dame football, this unique collection of stories highlights the transformative role of the Catholic Church in American public life over the last 400 years.

Did you know…
• The first immigrant to arrive in America via Ellis Island was a 15-year-old Irish Catholic girl?
• Al Capone’s tombstone reads “MY JESUS MERCY”?
• Andrew Jackson credited America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans to the prayers of the Virgin Mary and the Ursuline Sisters?
• Five Franciscans died in sixteenth-century Georgia defending the Church’s teachings on marriage?
• Jack Kerouac died wanting to be known as a Catholic and not only as a beat poet?
• Catholic missionaries lived in Virginia 36 years before the English settled Jamestown?

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Leave a Reply