featured image

Maria Morera Johnson reviews a mother's memoir about the life of her son, who is on the path to sainthood.

Stories about the lives of saints have fascinated me since childhood. Saints of the early Church often faced perilous circumstances and nearly always became martyrs of the Faith. However, high drama isn't what makes a saint. Instead, a life of virtue, practiced in faith, hope, and love leads to great holiness, and if not canonization, certainly the kind of sainthood we all aspire to as we grow in holiness on earth. Carlo Acutis, the young saint who has captured the hearts of so many since his beatification in 2020, led such a quiet life of holiness, shining Christ’s light in joyful ways.  

A new biography of St. Carlo Acutis, My Son Carlo: Carlo Acutis Through the Eyes of His Mother by Antonia Salzano with Paulo Rodari is a touching and intimate memoir filled with a mother’s memories of her boy’s brief but spiritually rich life. 


My Son Carlo


This book delights with the kinds of anecdotes we yearn for when we read about the saints. Carlo was a typical boy, interested in his friends, his computer programs, and games. He showed an appreciation for the natural world but also a profound spirituality that set him apart for his age. Carlo truly understood his faith and had a profound love of the Lord. More than that, he understood what it means to bring Christ to others.  

Antonia Salzano Acutis gives us this gift of her first-hand experience with her son, and something else. She shares, intimately, the details of her dormant faith and how her son brought Christ into her life. It is as much a biography of a saint as the spiritual memoir of a saint’s influence on her deep conversion. Perhaps Carlo’s greatest gift to his mother was his faith.  

The book is easy to read, filled with story after story of Carlo’s influence on those around him, but I was unprepared to find the depth of his writing. I knew he had a great devotion to the Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration. I think we’re all familiar with his internet project to document Eucharistic miracles around the world, but his devotion, captured in his own words for our modern times speaks to our 21st century sensibilities. 


When a thin ray of light shines in a semi-dark room, you can see the dust in the air with your naked eye. In fact, it is the specks of dust found along the beam of light themselves which spread the light in every direction, just like how you can see the moon in the night sky. The same thing happens to our soul. During Eucharistic adoration, we are struck by the light that radiates from the Eucharist. In this way, we are able to see all the “dust” that pollutes our soul and keeps us from progressing along the path to holiness that we cannot normally see with our naked eye. (233) 


I’ve often experienced this little miracle of the dust mites in Adoration, and will never unsee what that dust might mean to me. I highly recommend this book. It is rich in relevance for our times, a testament that we can be saints in this time and this place. 

Ask for My Son Carlo at your local Catholic bookseller, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Our Sunday Visitor.



Copyright 2024 Maria Morera Johnson
Images: Canva