The saints of the Catholic Church offer us all spectacular examples of courage, faithfulness and love in the face of persecution, cruelty and death. Edmund Campion was an English priest who, in the face of the terrible dangers of Elizabeth I's rule, ministered to, taught and encouraged English Catholics to persevere in their faith. Turning his back on great honors in the Anglican Church, he pursued the truth, entered the Catholic Church and received ordination to the priesthood in the Society of Jesus. Because of his articulate writings to English Catholics, he became a prize quarry for Elizabeth's "bloodhounds."
Despite the fact that he was hunted and pursued at every turn, he continued to serve his beloved English people until he was eventually captured, tortured and sentenced to the gruesome death of hanging, drawing and quartering. To the very end, Saint Edmund remained cheerful, loving and charitable. Far from deterring other English men from becoming Catholic, his heroic death inspired many to continue his work and serve as priests in the dangerous territory that England had become.
The book is written for a 9-12 year old audience. It is fast-paced, engaging and full of historical detail. Very difficult to put down! The reader is not spared the bloody facts of Saint Edmund's martyrdom, so parents should make sure that their children are developmentally ready to process the reality that earthly suffering for Christ's sake is the prelude to eternal happiness. The author does a superb job of highlighting the intelligence, cheerfulness and fiery courage of Saint Edmund's character. There is much for a young person to emulate here. Certainly, the reader will come away with wonder at the tremendous grace bestowed on saints who generously give their all for Christ.
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