Several years ago, someone gave me a book called Regaining Sight. It is a compilation of articles from a magazine called Imprint, published by a religious community, the Sisters of Life. The articles are stories about different people, the challenges they face, and how their relationship with God helped them through a particular struggle. They feature people like the late Steven McDonald, who was a member of the NYPD that was shot in the line of duty and left a quadriplegic, and Dr. Michael Brescia, who is renowned for his ground-breaking invention of the Brescia-Cimino fistula and for his work in palliative care. The book also features the vocation stories of some of the sisters, profiles of married couples who have raised children with special needs, stories of conversions to the faith, and testimonials of women who got pregnant and were helped by the Sisters – both those who had their children and those who came to the sisters for help to heal emotionally and spiritually years after having suffered abortion.
I remember lending the book to one of the high school students who was a member of the youth group at my last assignment. She was a really likeable and impressive kid – always asking lots of honest and tough questions. I asked her to take a look and let me know what she thought. The following week, she brought the book back and said: “I read the whole book. And I loved it.” I asked her why she liked it so much. “I really liked the stories.” I asked her what she liked about them. Pausing a moment to think, she said: “They show that… there’s always hope.”
It was a good insight. It also revealed the hunger everyone feels for reasons to hope. Hope allows us to stay faithful and to persevere when things seem bleak. In his first letter, St. Peter writes: But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame(1 Peter 3:14-16). We Catholics are people of hope. In days when hope is in short supply, it’s helpful to hear stories about real people that strengthen us in hope, that help us to keep our chins up and not give into the spirit of despair that tries to make us give up.
So, I told her I was glad she enjoyed the book and found it helpful, and I told her to keep it and to share it with others whom she thought might like it too. My only regret was that I didn’t have more copies of the book to give to other kids to read, since the book was no longer in print. Recently, however, I was thrilled to learn that the Sisters of Life have made it possible to purchase copies of Regaining Sight through their website: https://orders.sistersoflife.org/ It would be a great gift to a young person going off to college, or someone who is preparing for confirmation, or someone who could use a little boost of hope. They also have some other excellent books for children, including their latest publication, Finding You, which is a beautiful little book about the Eucharist. I highly recommend it.