Author: Kathryn Griffin Swegart
Illustrated: Hannah West-Ireland
Publisher: Self published
Age Range: 7 – 11years
I have read several books by this talented author, and I ‘ve been impressed with all of them. This book, Heavenly Hosts, is a gem. Kathryn Griffin Swegart has produced a series of stories about Eucharistic miracles. Kathryn’s real strength as a writer is her research and her ability to bring the distant past to life. This group of stories begins in the third century where we meet Father Luke who lives with other hermits in the Sahara Dessert. What I really loved about this opening story was that it portrayed a young priest who was having a crisis of Faith and wondered if God had forgotten about him. Young readers will be able to relate to Father Luke’s feelings of doubt and discouragement. Of course, a Eucharistic miracle provides the proof that Father Luke needs to reignite his Faith. All of the stories portray struggle of some kind – natural disasters, bandits, doubters, disease and jaded hearts – but for all of these struggling people, the Eucharist brings hope and healing.
Many of the stories focus on children, so young readers will engage with the story and more fully invest in learning about the power of the Eucharist. The stories are short, only a few pages long, and move quickly through to the exciting and miraculous climax. There are twelve stories in all, ranging from the third century right through to 1994. I liked that there are a range of locations covered, from the Sahara to Portugal to Argentina. The final story provides children with the opportunity to reflect and discuss – a grumpy woman leaves Church after receiving communion, and two altar servers follow her to discover that she is actually a loving and devoted carer to a very sick old man. The story provides children with some interesting points to ponder: is she a good person or a bad, grumpy person? Has the Eucharist inside of her influenced her behaviour? Why was she so rude to the altar servers? I can imagine some very interesting conversations and answers!
The book ends with photos of all the churches mentioned in the stories, which provides credence to the stories. Often a large Cathedral has been built because of the Eucharistic miracle that happened there. I mentioned this in relation to Kathryn Griffin Swegart’s previous book, Miraculous, Catholic Mysteries for Kids – the stories can be read and discussed in 15 to 20 minutes and would be a great time filler for teachers or homeschoolers. I highly recommend this book to you. It is very Catholic, informative and engaging.
You can read my reviews of Kathryn Griffin Swegart’s other books HERE.
You can purchase Heavenly Hosts, Eucharistic Miracles for Kids HERE