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AnneMarie Miller reviews Miraculous II, an engrossing new book on miracles and mysteries from Church history, by Catholic Mom contributor Kathryn Griffin Swegart.

Did you know that St. Peter’s tomb was discovered in 1939? I did not know this until I read Miraculous II, a new book for children written by Kathryn Griffin Swegart. With a sense of wonder and delight, Swegart shares ten stories of miracles and mysteries within the Church’s history. Accompanied by beautiful black-and-white illustrations done by John Folley, the stories in Miraculous II make miracles come alive.  




From early Church individuals like Constantine and St. Longinus, to recent saints like St. Jacinta and Mother Teresa, Swegart dives into both well-known and less-known figures—with a unique perspective. In the book’s chapters, the reader is plunged into the setting and experiences miraculous occurrences through the eyes of different characters. In some instances, the reader sees events through the eyes of a saint; in other stories, the event is portrayed through the experiences of bystanders.

These stories were a fun and engaging way for me to enter into the setting and learn about the different ways that God has worked throughout the centuries. I was excited to learn about new events and people, like Fr. Sebastian Rale, and the finding of St. Peter’s tomb. I also liked reading the section at the end of the book, where Swegart reveals the historical background for each story and further elaborates on the miracles.   

However, I was most struck by Swegart’s fantastic blend of storytelling and historical fact. While reading some of the chapters, I felt as if I was reading a children’s fairy tale or legend; the tone was full of awe and at times was poetic as it transported me to different times and places. Yet Swegart grounds each of these stories in history and reminds us that they are not fairy tales or legends. Each chapter notes the year and location in which the events occurred, and the historical background at the end (complete with an assortment of small photographs) remind the reader that these events really did happen, and they occurred in a specific time and place. In fact, this book would be excellent as part of a history curriculum.   

Not only did I enjoy reading Miraculous II, but my second-grade student enjoyed picking it up as well (he specifically mentioned liking the stories about Constantine and St. Bernadette). This book is accessible for young readers; each chapter is about six pages long, and the characters are engaging. I was grateful, though, that in its accessibility, this book does not water anything down. It presents the beautiful truth of the Catholic faith, in its richness and mystery, to young readers. Miraculous II is a delightful, instructive book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!  




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Copyright 2024 AnneMarie Miller
Images: (top) detail from book cover; (bottom) Canva