Pray for Us

75 Saints Who Sinned, Suffered, and Struggled on Their Way to Holiness

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Pub Date 22 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 02 Dec 2021

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How is it possible that a chain-smoking socialist, a teenage video gamer, an opium addict, a satanic high priest, a disabled beggar, and a self-absorbed mean girl became saints?

Popular itinerant missionary Meg Hunter-Kilmer will stretch your preconceived notions of holiness by exploring the lesser-known lives of seventy-five extraordinary people whose human struggles and limitations reveal the power of God’s grace.

Pray for Us isn’t your ordinary saint book: Hunter-Kilmer highlights the sorrows, struggles, and idiosyncrasies of broken people who turned their lives around and dedicated themselves to God and his work. Through these edgy profiles, full of fresh and fascinating stories, she explores the universal call to holiness and how God can transform anyone—from grouchy theologians to bratty teenagers—into saints. You’ll discover that anyone—even you—can become a saint if you trust in the Lord.

Among those you will meet are

· Blessed Carlo Acutis, an ordinary Italian teen who enjoyed video games and loved the Eucharist but refused to waste time on things that weren’t pleasing to God.

· Blessed Sara Salkahazi, a chain-smoking socialist and wild-child from an upper-class Hungarian family who exposed the plight of the working class and smuggled Jewish people to safety during World War II.

· Blessed Victoire Rasoamanarivo, a married woman who defied the opposition of her difficult family to lead the Church in Madagascar.

· St. Dulce Pontes, the daughter of a wealthy family in Brazil who decided to serve the poor by becoming a nun and teaching literacy to children and their parents in the slums.

· Blessed Bartolo Longo, a satanic priest who returned to the Church, worked to bring people back to Christ, founded schools for the poor, established orphanages, and created Rosary groups.

· St. Mark Ji Tianxiang, a Christian opium addict who never got clean but still had the courage to die a martyr’s death for his beliefs during the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Hunter-Kilmer presents the unvarnished lives of the saints and holy people in a way that reveals the power of God’s grace in their lives. Their stories—and especially their brokenness—are relatable to us all.

An extensive index that includes names, feast days, and patronages will help you find the inspiration you are looking for in the lives of these holy people.

How is it possible that a chain-smoking socialist, a teenage video gamer, an opium addict, a satanic high priest, a disabled beggar, and a self-absorbed mean girl became saints?

Popular itinerant...

A Note From the Publisher

Meg Hunter-Kilmer is a Catholic speaker, author, retreat leader, and itinerant missionary whose work appears regularly on Aleteia and on her blog, Held by His Pierced Hands.

Hunter-Kilmer is the author of Saints Around the World. She has written for Magnificat, Our Sunday Visitor, The Catechetical Review, and Take Up and Read. She has appeared on a variety of Catholic media, including CatholicTV, SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel, Relevant Radio, and Ave Maria Radio.

Hunter-Kilmer earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Notre Dame. She previously served as a teacher, youth minister, and campus minister.

Meg Hunter-Kilmer is a Catholic speaker, author, retreat leader, and itinerant missionary whose work appears regularly on Aleteia and on her blog, Held by His Pierced Hands.

Hunter-Kilmer is the...

Advance Praise

“The Saint book for the rest of us who have failed more times than we care to admit.”
Fr. Agustino Torres, C.F.R.
Founder of Corazon Puro

“What a diverse collection of captivating stories, so well told and so invigorating! These are not dull, saccharine accounts, stringing together bare facts and dates as most saint collections do. This book is like fiery magma, lively and flowing with verve. Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s stories of relatively unknown saints will make your heart come alive, beating with new possibilities. Get this book for any person who thinks saints are boring and irrelevant.”
Brandon Vogt
Senior content director at Word on Fire Catholic Ministries

Pray for Us is a fresh take on holiness. Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s vignettes reveal the humorous and relatable aspects of holy Catholics from all over the globe—lay people as well as clergy and religious.”
Gloria Purvis
Catholic speaker, podcaster, and radio host

 “With passion, captivating storytelling, and compelling insights, Hunter-Kilmer has provided a force of a resource to help tell the stories of the saints, the ones we know well and the ones we should take the time to meet.”
Katie Prejean McGrady
SiriusXM Radio host and host of the Ave Explores Podcast

“The Saint book for the rest of us who have failed more times than we care to admit.”
Fr. Agustino Torres, C.F.R.
Founder of Corazon Puro

“What a diverse collection of captivating stories, so well told...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781646800827
PRICE $18.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

I received an advance copy of, Pray for Us, by Meg Hunter Kilmer. This is a great book. I learned alot of new saints. 75 saints, actually, most I never heard of. Real people with real faults.

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Awesome book giving a background of some saints who may not be as well known. The author brings these holy people to life for the reader and makes them feel relatable. Great devotional resource that is very inspiring.

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I grew up studying in a Catholic school and I remember we used to study the lives of different saints. There are so many saints with different causes that you could pray to and most of them have stories to tell. Pray For Us is such a informative book, the stories of these saints are such that I have unheard of and are kinda unusual which is what makes it so interesting. Overall, I enjoyed the book and the quirky and usual stories, makes you realise that saints are not superheroes but just mere humans too.

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What an amazing collection of stories! Pray For Us breaks the Saints out of their stained glass windows and porcelain statues and puts them where we need them - in messy, real-life situations we can all relate to. These men and women who struggled with vice, disappointment, prejudice, disabilities, and suffering serve as examples for the rest of us: that no one is beneath God’s love and mercy, and we are all called to love Him through our own crosses. Meg Hunter-Kilmer has done an incredible job of showcasing saints from across the centuries and around the world, highlighting the incredible diversity of the Communion of Saints we are a part of.

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My words won't express how much I loved this book. I loved it so much.
The saints inspires me to seek God's will.
They had suffered, had been tempted. They're witness that holiness is possible.
The book shows a lot of servants of God, venerable, blessed, saints and some of them I have never heard about before.
Praise God for His saints.
This book is a must read. Well done, author!
Thank you Netgalley and publisher for free ARC in exchange of honest review. All thoughs are my own.

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Whenever I pick up a book about the lives of the saints, I’m usually bracing myself for all the usual tropes. All those generic white girls with no personality and colonizing men presented completely uncritically. Glossed-over rape and glorified eating disorders. The list goes on.

What a relief it was to open this book and know from page one that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of that, In Meg Hunter-Kilmer’s capable hands, each saint really does leap out as a unique image of Christ, utterly irrepeatable, formed in this real world. You get the sense that Hunter-Kilmer has learned to see the Creator’s delight in each of us, and wants to teach us that above all. This book doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, but handles them all with instructive grace.

If the goal of this book was to make me want to be a saint… To be a part of this star-studded cast… To meet people in heaven like jungle surgeon Bl. Maria Troncatti, bold foundress Ven. Mary Elizabeth Lange, and misfit sister Bl. Sara Salkahazi… Then it was successful. Sign me up!

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If you read a lot of books about the saints, like I do, it devolves into the same handful of stories over and over again. This book is a marvelous look at saints whose stories are more contemporary, wild, or simply took place outside of Europe. It is an asset to any Catholic book collection and Meg Hunter-Kilmer writes with reverence but also a playfulness that I appreciated.

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Are you lonely, or depressed? Have you lost your faith? Are you struggling with 'Covid fatigue'? Perhaps, you are simply interested in Catholic saints? There is a saint for everyone, and Meg Hunter Kilmer has written an inspirational book about saints who had to combat all kinds of huge problems in their lives, and how they can help us.
The Saints include people who led exciting lives, such as Saint Catherine Jarrige who saved priests from the guillotine during the French Revolution, those who lived simple, quiet lives like Saint Therese, and even fiery socialists. They also include disabled, or extremely ill Saints who led lives of great suffering.

I found the story of the Servant of God Rose Hawthorne the most fascinating, because she led a somewhat glamorous literary life (although she may have had an abusive husband), yet she became a nurse, founded a new religious order, and helped very poor sick people.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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For anyone who's tired of saccharine saints who seem unapproachably holy, this is the book you've been waiting for. In Pray For Us, Meg Hunter-Kilmer offers an array of saints whose vices and trials somehow bring them down to a level that's very different than the usual hero worship and much more like real friendship and fellowship . (Saints -- They're Just Like Us!)

Her categories include saints whose paths to heaven were complicated by both exterior and interior stumbling blocks. More notably, this thoroughly researched work brings us a wide variety of saints beyond the usual cohort -- varied in historical period, geography, culture, socioeconomic status, (dis)ability, vocation -- but singularly united by their devotion to God. I almost wrote "unwavering" devotion out of sheer habit, but some of these saints wavered quite a bit, actually... and that's Hunter-Kilmer's whole point.

The author's tone is relaxed and engaging; in each story, you get the sense you're chatting in a cafe about someone she knows. She weaves her narratives deftly, highlighting the specific crosses of each saint (everything from alcoholism to lukewarmness to prostitution to outright satanism), then leading us along to their reward in heaven, but without the tidy red bows we've come to expect in most saint stories. These saints are complex, multi-faceted, and richly rewarding to get to know.

Pray For Us is a compelling read for anyone who's turned off (or feels left out) by traditional depictions of sainthood. If we are all invited to holiness, Hunter-Kilmer's book is a much-needed handbook on just how very many ways there are to get there.

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Pray For Us reminds us that the Saints were not perfect but they were perfect for God's purpose in their messy, real-life situations. Meg Hunter-Kilmer has reminded us of little known Saints who are just like us!

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