Katie Fitzgerald reviews Brides of Christ, a children’s picture book exploring the lives of Benedictine Sisters.
One of the great privileges of motherhood is the opportunity to help lay the foundation for our children’s vocations. When it comes to my four daughters, I feel pretty certain that life in our family is preparing them for a potential future as wives and mothers. But what if one of these girls is called to religious life? I feel far less equipped to help with that! Thankfully, Sophia Institute Press has just published a charming picture book, Brides of Christ, that invites young readers into the daily lives of the Benedictine Sisters and provides a lovely glimpse into the beautiful way they dedicate their lives to Jesus.
Written in rhyme by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles with Jamey Toner, the story follows brand-new postulants from the moment they first enter the abbey, through their novitiate and Vows and on into their lives as nuns. The book depicts the preparations the Sisters undergo and the solemn ceremonies that take place in the chapel, along with the daily chores the Sisters must complete and the ways they incorporate leisure into their lives.
The details in both the text and the very sweet illustrations help to really humanize nuns, not as mysterious women on the outskirts of society who are associated with certain stereotypes emphasized in pop culture, but as ordinary people with the same needs, emotions, and interests as the rest of us, After reading this book, not only will young girls have a better sense of what the Benedictine Sisters do; they will also come to understand how very joyful the life of a Sister can be.
Though the rhythm and rhyme of this book will sound appealing to very young children, the advanced vocabulary and concepts will resonate best with elementary-aged readers. This would make a beautiful read-aloud at home, as well as in religious education and Catholic school classrooms. It would also make a wonderful gift from a godparent to a little girl, perhaps on the occasion of first holy Communion or some other milestone.
Reading Brides of Christ is a great way to make girls aware of vocations beyond the ones they typically see in their daily lives, and to help moms like me pave the way a bit for a daughter who may someday be called to religious life. I’m very happy to add this appealing title to my collection of Catholic children’s books, and I know you will be, too.
Copyright 2023 Katie Fitzgerald
About the Author
Katie Fitzgerald is a former children's librarian turned stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She and her librarian husband live in Maryland with their five children, the youngest of whom are boy/girl twins. She has published two textbooks for librarians, and she writes about homeschooling, books and the reading life from a Catholic perspective at ReadAtHomeMom.com and on Instagram @read.at.home.mom.