Susan Vigilante is the author of the Desperate Irish Housewife blog and a contributor to The American Spectator, National Review and the Human Life Review, etc. I recently received her book Breakfast with the Pope for review.
I have liked her writing when I had encountered it before, but I was not prepared for this book. Breakfast with the Pope is in the realm of spiritual biography and a look at her pilgrimage through life. As a lifelong Catholic she frames events through a couple of breakfast’s with Pope John Paul II. What lead her to these events is the story of her and her husband, relatives, in-laws, and dear friends. The various tragedies and joys in these relationships is detailed in a wonderful way through the lens of faith.
It is easy to tell the parts of the book that were hardest for her to write, for one she tells us when this is so — but also she is very honest in her struggles when it comes to infertility. When she writes on this subject it is often gut-wrenching in the myriad visits with doctors and the efforts at intercessory prayer to God for a miracle in this regard. I especially loved how she related the pressures put on her by others and her obedience to Church teaching even when she felt that obedience was all she had to offer to God.
The stories of her friends are also quite wonderful. They often seem almost larger-than-life, but that is because they are so full of life. Her stories of her friend Sharon are especially good and one of the funniest parts of the book are when the Pope who knew Sharon makes a comment about her. That is another excellent part of the book is her experience in celebrating Mass with the Holy Father. What she had to say about the Pope and the Eucharist seems so true to me it is now something I will always associate with Pope John Paul II now. I had read before of the Pope’s ability to remember people and this is amply displayed that his philosophy of personalism was something lived and that he truly saw each individual as unique.
The subject of perseverance in faith is a strong topic in the book that even among all the struggles and the apparent lack of answers to prayer, that a life of faith can still be maintained and responded to. One of her struggles was as a writer and the attempts at putting out a novel which always seemed to fail. The difficulties and sore spots when friends and relatives asked her how her writing was progressing. Well I can say one thing. If this book Breakfast with the Pope is the only book of her that comes to fruition than she is a successful writer. I absolutely loved this book told with such honestly and great humor. Not too many biographies could be described as page-turners, but this one was considering how good the writing was and how interesting the stories she had to tell. That having been said I certainly do hope to see some more books from her. This book is put out via her husbands publishing house and I wish it every success.
“Read this book. A Christian Eat Pray Love, it will change forever how you think about faith in the modern world. Like life itself, it alternates between being funny-as-hell and emotionally wrenching, an inner glimpse of the comedy and tragedy of the experience of barrenness: spiritual, physical, and professional, which is overcome by one woman’s stubborn and relentlessly honest search for faith, movingly told. Vigilante’s appreciation of the beauties of Italy and her deeply personal portrait of John Paul II are a great gift to those who love either.”
I have to disagree with the great Maggie Gallagher a bit here calling this a Christian “Eat, Hope, Pray” in that this book might fully realize the title of that book, the contents have nothing to do with the contents of the other selfish self-aborbed book of hedonism disguised as faith and it is not just a Christianized version of that crappy book. Maybe I am a bit touch here in the comparison, I just think that Breakfast with the Pope is such a superior book and should not be compared to it’s inferiors.
One other note, the ad I am running for this book on my blog is without renumeration – other than any Amazon Affiliate money it might generate.