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Beauty is a battlefield.

"Beauty is the battlefield where God and Satan contend for the hearts of men." Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Man who Saved Chartres Cathedral

Chartres, France - August 16, 1944. Colonel Welborn Griffith crept silently through the halls of Chartres Cathedral in search of German soldiers. Atop the roof was a bell tower-perfect lookout to spot American troops now bearing down on Paris to liberate the city from Nazi occupation. Allied bombers had blown a hole in the German front near Cherbourg, France. Under the command of General George Patton, the Third Army had German soldiers on the run. American pilots bombed the path of the Germans as they retreated. Now Chartres Cathedral was in the crosshairs. Allied command believed that German observation posts were established inside the church. They gave the order to destroy Chartres Cathedral.

One man challenged this order. Colonel Griffith must have known about the cathedral. He must have known it was a national treasure in France. Built in the middle ages, he must have known that Chartres was considered one of the most beautiful buildings ever constructed, an architectural miracle that used principles far ahead of its time. Griffith took action. He volunteered to go behind enemy lines to determine if German soldiers occupied the cathedral. Accompanied only by his driver, Griffith searched every closet, every pew for the enemy. Every step into a darkened room could have been his last. Cautiously, he climbed the stairs to the bell tower, awaiting a burst of machine gun fire. Silence. The bell tower was empty. Triumphant, he hurried back to the command post. The order to destroy Chartres Cathedral was canceled.

Later that day, Griffith spotted a machine gun nest in the nearby village of Leves. He turned back to the American front and climbed the turret of an army tank. He was too big to fit down the hatch and stayed on top of the tank. In the battle, the Germans were defeated, but Griffith lost his life.

Colonel Griffith was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart and awards from the French government. A plaque is nailed to a wall in Leves near the site where Griffith died. He is buried  in the St. James World War II Cemetery in Brittany, France.To this day, he is remembered as the American soldier who saved Chartres Cathedral. 

Opera for dummies...
 

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 Wreck of the Essex

Fourteen year old Thomas Nickerson stands aboard the whaling ship Essex and scans the Pacific Ocean. Somewhere beneath the surface lurks Maximus, the sperm whale that killed his father. Suddenly the whale charges and destroys the ship.
Thusbegins the odyssey of Thomas Nickerson and the Essex crew, adrift in battered whaleboats thousands of miles from land. As they battle starvation and storms, Tom makes surprising discoveries about courage, hope, and the power of friendship.
This isthe historical fiction version of the true incident that inspired the bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea and Revenge of the Whale, both written by Nathaniel Philbrick. It is perfect for young readers, ages 8-12. Great introduction to the reading of Moby Dick.

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Heavenly Hosts

Your children likely know all about the Eucharist, that central ritual beloved by Catholics worldwide. But do they know that God’s presence in the Eucharist is miraculous?

Heavenly Hosts presents documented Eucharistic miracles in story form to bring middle-grade readers to a better understanding of the Real Presence. One story details a fourth-century priest in the Sahara Desert who loses his faith until the Christ Child appears in the Host; this miraculous sighting causes the priest to return to God. In another tale, Antonio, a ninth-century altar boy, stands firm in a test of faith and is rewarded for his fidelity. And in one memorable story in Italy, a thirteenth-century debate over the true nature of the Eucharist is settled when a donkey falls to its knees before a monstrance containing the consecrated Host.

These stories and more—including a tale involving the future pope Francis—demonstrate God’s involvement in the lives of Catholics throughout the centuries, including today. Through these miraculous accounts set in various historical times and places, your children will discover a new appreciation for the Eucharist and its illustration of God’s love for those who follow Him. Heavenly Hosts is an essential book for all Catholic families. Saint Pope John Paul II called for us to "rekindle Eucharistic amazement" in the New Evangelization. Heavenly Hosts encourages us to understand, appreciate, and love the Eucharist.