Find Spiritual Nourishment With Catholic ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’
Catholic-themed inspiring stories will warm your heart this Lent.
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Everyday Catholicism
Hearing God’s Answers in Our Lives
By Leann Thieman
Sophia Institute Press, 2020
260 pages, $15.99
To order: sophiainstitute.com or (800) 888-9344
The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series has become a healthy staple for readers with a taste for literary comfort food. It’s an escape from the stresses of the world. Happy endings lift the soul and impress upon our minds that God leads us to beautiful moments.
Sophia Institute Press has licensed with the Chicken Soup company to produce its own series by culling Christian and many specifically Catholic stories from the 250-plus titles. The latest in the series of four books is Chicken Soup for the Soul: Everyday Catholicism: Hearing God’s Answers in Our Lives. There are chapters on God’s providence, prayer, miracles, healing, petitioning, thanksgiving and angels among us.
The first Chicken Soup book of 101 inspirational stories published in 1993 was wildly successful. By September of 1994, it was on every major bestseller list in the U.S. and Canada. Subsequent books and sequels have covered an array of themes, such as families, marriage, angels, adoption, pets, dating, sports and much more. More than 500 million Chicken Soup for the Soul books have been sold.
The Chicken Soup for the Soul: Everyday Catholicism series is co-authored by LeAnn Thieman. She was once a nurse who was accidentally caught up in the Vietnam Orphan Airlift in 1975 and helped to rescue 300 babies as Saigon was falling to the communists. After her “Operation Babylift” story was featured in Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul, Thieman co-authored 11 Chicken Soup titles.
The stories from everyday people are glimpses of faith in action. They are short and move quickly, so it’s an easy book to dive into yet can be difficult to put down, since there is always a temptation for just one more.
Here are some of my favorites:
- A boy throws a fishing net into the water but forgets to secure it with a rope. He tries to retrieve it by casting his fishing pole, but his dad informs him that such efforts cannot possibly work. Then the boy prays before the next cast. You guessed it. But it happened in a seemingly impossible way.
- There was the young lady who, despite some skepticism, agreed to follow her Irish grandmother’s advice to pray to St. Anne for help finding a good husband. Within days, a friend introduced her to a friend of her fiancé’s, a man named Joe. They not only hit it off right away, but on their first date, she realized that he met all the specifications for a good husband that she had shared with her grandmother. And to her surprise, when she called him Joseph, assuming that was his full name, he corrected her. “It’s Joachim,” he told her. “Joachim was St. Anne’s husband.”
- Dan, a 48-year-old alcoholic, who lost so much due to the family disease of alcoholism, takes readers on his journey of renewal with the confidence that, by turning to God in a big way, God answered him in an even bigger way.
- Holly Fisher-Dexter’s story is probably my favorite. “He’s either dead or in prison,” her mother told her when Holly revealed that she was going to search for the father she never knew. When Holly nervously called him, he instinctively guessed it was her and said: “I can’t believe this! We were just talking about you last night! I’ve been praying to find you!” Holly learned that her father was married and had three sons. He revealed that he had been a heroin addict and was in and out of prison for 15 years. Prison was where he found God and everything changed. He had been a 17-year-old when he fathered Holly, but he never forgot her birthday. Her father was in tears during their conversation and said it was the happiest day of his life to hear from her and she was his child and he loved her. The hole Holly had lived with since childhood suddenly filled. She knew: “I belong to someone. I am loved. I am whole.”
One nice feature is that at the back of the book there are short biographies of the contributors, listing any blogs they have and often including their emails. It adds a very personal touch to the stories that give witness that God, indeed, answers prayers.