Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, a highly regarded Catholic author and speaker, has always been passionately interested in the saints. However, she found the hagiographies didn’t provide a true understanding of their lives. Her response was to write the book, Dinner Party with the Saints, published by Paraclete Press.
The Boston Area of the Order of Malta invited members and friends to take part in a Lenten prayer service and an interactive online conversation with Woodeene in early March. Fr. Frank Sevola, ChM, opened the event, leading participants in an inspiring prayer service. Woodeene than described the book’s origins and stories.
Dinner Party with the Saints evolved from the idea of what it would be like for the saints to gather and talk about their lives. Where better to set the scene than in a heavenly banquet? A friend of Woodeene’s offered to create recipes using ingredients available during historic times. While the book is obviously fictitious, it is based on the reality of the saints’ lives.
“They were people first,” Woodene said. “They lived in a particular time and place and did particular things. They were just like us. The only difference is that their orientation was to become the most authentic, whole, and holy person that God created them to be.”
Some of the saints described in the book include St. Martin de Porres, who had an affinity for animals, and who Woodene said basically started the first humane society;
Lydia from Acts, a courageous, independent woman and the only person recorded in scripture who ever won an argument against St. Paul; and St. Josephine Bakhita, a victim of human trafficking who used the Italian court system to gain her freedom.
The participants on the Zoom call enjoyed hearing about the lives of the saints from a whole new perspective. It opened our eyes to their human nature, their struggles, and their overall goodness. The interactive discussion time provided each participant with time to share their thoughts, pose questions, and learn a bit more about the fascinating lives of these saints!