(Author: Gerald M. Costello)

We love to tell stories; we love to hear them. Stories are part and parcel of our lives, and from time immemorial we’ve used them to pass along what we can of the world’s basic truths.

That’s the case, in a special way, of the truths that Catholics hold dear. From one age to another, stories have brought them to life. This book gathers up those stories–the ones we grew up with, the ones we learned in school, the ones we’ve handed down to our children–and offers them to a new generation of Catholics.

Here, for example, is the story of St. Patrick, converting a people with the strength of his faith and the power of his words. Here is St. Francis of Assisi, with an imitation of Christ that is stunning in its simplicity. Here, closer to our own time, are heroes such as Dorothy Day, the martyred women of El Salvador, the beloved Cardinal Bernardin–whose stories remind us of what we are all called to be.

Taken one by one, they recall for us that in every age God sends special people to challenge the Church and inspire the rest of us to holiness. Taken together–all one hundred twenty-five of them, from the earliest days of the Church right up to the new millennium–they form the narrative tradition of the Church.

The stories are arranged to illustrate some basic teachings: about the four cardinal virtues, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the corporal works of mercy, and the spiritual works of mercy. They are presented together to foster an awareness of Catholic heritage, to teach Catholics and their friends about the Church, and to call individual Catholics and their families to a life of faith. The tradition began with four magic words: tell me a story. It continues now with four more: “Once upon a time…”

(Text from back cover; Image from abebooks.com)