Therese, Faustina and Bernadette

“Sometimes God asks for our yes and the willingness to change our lives in an instant.” – Elizabeth Ficocelli

The lives of the saints have long fascinated me, but in Therese, Faustina and Bernadette: Three Saints Who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love, Elizabeth Ficocelli beautifully conveys how these three remarkable saints helped to shape her life and her journey of faith.

Ficocelli was raised in a protestant home in which there was little emphasis on individual faith. As she began to explore the Catholic church, she was intrigued by the lives of the saints and these three in particular – Therese, Faustina and Bernadette – helped serve as spiritual guides for her and helped her in times of need at various points throughout her life.  With bravery and openness, Ficocelli weaves her own personal story into the beautiful histories of these saints and explains how she drew strength from these wonderful role models of faith.  With elements of a memoir, a spiritual guide, and a reflection on Catholic faith, this book is compelling and a quick read. Ficocelli writes in a natural voice that made me feel like I was sitting down to a great conversation with a friend.  It is precisely this style that makes this book accessible to those who are intrigued by the saints and those who are just beginning to appreciate them. Therese, Faustina and Bernadette even has reflection questions and selected prayers, making it an ideal selection for a Catholic book club.  You can also use the questions below to guide your discussion.

Book Club Discussion Questions:

  • “As I took these initial shaky steps to move out of my comfort zone and share my faith with others, I began to see a positive response; people were hungry for this.” Ficoelli notes that although it took effort, she was able to move beyond her own comfort to witness to others.  What is holding you back from sharing God’s love with others? What could help you to do this more fully?
  • “I think it took a while, and it wasn’t without a great deal of reluctance, but I began to let go of control…I knew this was a turning point in my walk of faith – God and Faustina were standing before me asking me how much I trusted.” Ficocelli admits that it took effort to turn certain things over to God.  Do you offer things to God readily or reluctantly? What holds you back and what allows you to relinquish freely? What do you fear?
  • “[God] comes to tell us that he loves us just as we are,with our successes but also with our wounds, our weaknesses, and our limitations…God also asks of us something important , and that is to in turn love and serve our fellow humanity in their physical and spiritual poverty.” When do you most completely see God’s freely given love? How do you show this love to others?

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