Complaining Saints

Saints are human, and, as we all know, humans complain. A lot! Despite the often one-dimensional portraits of sanctity we find in some devotional materials, every saint struggled. And it wasn’t always easy for them to handle their struggles gracefully.

Complaints of the Saints by Sr. Mary Lea Hill, FSP, shares some of the saints’ responses to suffering. The witty anecdotes and wisdom she conveys are both consoling and relatable, teaching us that many saints experienced the same emotions we do in the face of hardship. 

And did they ever complain! Complaints of the Saints argues that complaining is a natural human reaction to life’s difficulties. Saints used their human nature, faults, and even complaints as a means for growing closer to God, seeing every part of their lives as part of a continuum that leads to eternity. We can learn from them: how we perceive and react to our trials can be a means for drawing us closer to God. Scripture and the lives of the saints together reaffirm the truth that God can handle (and welcomes!) our feelings and complaints.

In 61 short chapters, Sr. Lea relays the stories of a diverse range of holy men and women who reached out to God in times of need—sometimes with an acerbic tongue (St. Jerome); sometimes with patience (St. Thérèse of Lisieux); sometimes with a gruff demeanor (St. Damien of Molokai). All these saints enjoyed a close relationship with the Lord, and they weren’t afraid to reach out to him in their own voice, with their own raw feelings. Sr. Lea’s sense of humor—and affection for the saints—shines through her writing. After reading this book, you’re sure to feel closer to them as well.

You can pre-order Sr. Lea’s new book, out on August 6th, here.

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