Jean Heimann's latest book, Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir was published by Mercy Press on May 13, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, 2016. (If you would like to win a free copy of this book, enter the drawing by leaving your name in the Comments section of this post. Winner will be drawn May 21. If your comment does not link to a way to contact you, please leave your email as well.)
When hearing the name Jean Heimann, those who traffic the Catholic blogosphere will think first of the award-winning blog Catholic Fire. Visually lovely and evangelistic in tone, Jean's blog is chockfull of biographies of saints of the day, prayers, novenas, informative posts on Catholic feasts, video reflections, and lovely photos. It is a gem of a Catholic blog. If you've ever wondered who this creative and very Catholic blogger is, Jean's new book will tell you.
Jean Heimann is a free lance writer, wife, an Oblate with the Community of Saint John, an evangelist, psychologist, speaker, and the author of Seven Saints for Seven Virtues (Servant Books 2014).
Her new book, Learning to Love with the Saints: A Spiritual Memoir details the events of her life and how saints have drawn her to the truth and to a deeper relationship with the Creator. The reader will learn about Jean herself and also the lives of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, Pope St. John Paul II, St. John the Evangelist, Blessed John Henry Newman, and St. Sharbel.
Each chapter begins with one or more quotes of the saint whose message deepened Jean's love for God, some during the events of the chapter and some retrospectively.
Jean Heimann's life began in a loving, devout Catholic family, complete with a statue of Mary on the console TV, family rosaries, and singing of hymns during car rides. It was Jean's mother who introduced her to Therese of Lisieux and her Little Way.
Those who grew up in the 60s and 70s will recognize the push/pull of a culture coming unhinged. Confusion, spiritual and otherwise, was rampant. Licentiousness was celebrated over authentic freedom. And I do mean celebrated. Cultural mores were not only abandoned; they were held in contempt. To Jean's credit she never stopped attending church during that period, but wishes she could have read then Pope Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body. How his wisdom would have changed things and what insight it gave her later as she contemplated those years. Jean unknowingly married an abusive and addicted man who filled her life with turmoil and fear for two years. A victim of the often inadequate catechesis of that time, Jean thought a divorce would require that she abandon her Catholic faith. Finally, her own safety required divorce, and she sadly stopped going to church.
Jean then immersed herself in her education and later in her work, excelling in both. After a number of years, she did return to her faith after learning that she was indeed still welcome, and after seeing her parents' touching veneration of the cross on Good Friday. She writes,
On Good Friday that year, I watched my dad fall to his knees and hug the large cross, tenderly kissing the feet of Jesus. Then, in an instant, my mom was reaching out, bending low, nearly falling off her wheelchair to her knees, to embrace and reverently kiss the feet of the life-sized corpus. It was at that moment that I recognized where the void was in my life. Jesus had been missing! Only His love could fill that hole.Jean's parents had always presented a model of love for her, as did Saints Louis and Zelie Martin. Before her father died he told Jean's mother "that he would come back for her and take her to heaven with him." What a touching example of authentic love.
St. Teresa of Avila was Jean's inspiration as she faced many more years of suffering. She quotes the great saint:
Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you.There were her own health problems and illnesses afflicting her loved ones. Still, she remained faithful to the Lord, joining the Charismatic Renewal and becoming an Oblate with the Community of St. John. Of St. Teresa, Jean writes, "St. Teresa of Avila helped me to focus more on God and less on myself and my pain. Like her, I developed a love of prayer, contemplation, and a strong devotion to St. Joseph."
All things are passing; God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.
There were more crosses and yet also joy for Jean Heimann. Her marriage had been annulled, and she met a wonderful man at a Catholic Charismatic Conference. He was on the music team, and how beautifully the Holy Spirit worked to bring about their meeting and subsequent marriage.
Later, Jean experienced financial and other challenges, all of which she describes with humility and transparency. Through these struggles, she learned to keep her eyes on Jesus, and to grow more and more in love. She writes, "Suffering has a way of perfecting us. It humbles us and heals us of our pride. It releases us from self-reliance and independence and forces us to rely on God.." Indeed.
Pity the people whose lives are so easy they never feel the desperate need to rely on God. The rest of us will find Jean Heimann's spiritual memoir an encouragement to reach out to the Communion of Saints for wisdom and inspiration, as we carry the inevitable crosses of life, in our quest to fall more and more deeply in love with our God, and to rest in his peace.
If you'd like to purchase either the kindle edition ($2.99) or the paperback edition($13.99), you can do so HERE.
Friday, May 13 -- Ellen Gable Hrkach, Review, Plot, Line, and Sinker
Sunday, May 15 -- Carolyn Astfalk, Review, My Scribbler’s Heart Blog
Monday, May 16 -- Lisa Mladinich, Interview, Patheos http://www.patheos.com/About-Patheos/Lisa-Mladinich
Tuesday, May 17—Nancy HC Ward, Review, Joy Alive in our Hearts http://joyalive.net/
Wednesday, May 18 -- Esther Gefroh, Review, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii
Thursday, May 19 -- Barb Szyskiewvicz, Review, Franciscan Mom http://franciscanmom.com/
and Catholic Mom http://catholicmom.com/
Friday, May 20-- Jeannie Ewing, Interview, Love Alone Creates http://lovealonecreates.com/
Saturday, May 21-- Patrice Faganant McArthur, Review, Spiritual Woman
Sunday, May 22 -- Melanie Jean Juneau, Review, Association of Catholic Women Bloggers
http://associationofcatholicwomenbloggers.blogspot.com/ and Joy of Nine
Monday, May 23-- Virginia Lieto Review, Virginia Lieto http://virginialieto.com/
Tuesday, May 24 -- Tony Agnesi, Review, Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life