By Thomas Craughwell
Quirk Books, $19.95, 480 pages

While the title and tone of This Saint Will Change Your Life: 300 Heavenly Allies for Architects, Athletes, Bloggers, Brides, Librarians, Murderers, Whales, Widows, and You suggest a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm  and even a possible dissidence with the canonization process of the Catholic church, Thomas J. Craughwell means no disrespect. Craughwell writes a monthly column on patron saints for diocesan newspapers and has spoken on Catholic sainthood in a number of national and international venues. This book is a comprehensive index printed on imitation gold-embossed pages. And although Craughwell’s introduction is reverent as he writes, for instance, that “this life is a valley of tears” and a reliance on the appropriate patron saints can be life-changing, the book’s publisher – Quirk Books – clearly takes some allowances with its salesman-like presentation of saints-on-call.

“Did you know there are patron saints for gamblers and alcoholics; for thieves, card sharks, and fallen women; for wives saddled with unfaithful husbands and parents tucks with disappointing children?”

For those interested in an encyclopedic listing of 300 saints, including full-color holy cards of many of the saints, Craughwell’s book is an excellent resource. But for those who may take offense at such publisher-inspired flippancy as, “Have a houseguest who won’t leave? Call on St. Zita,” a more reverential approach than This Saint Will Change Your Life might be the better route.

Reviewed by Jennie A. Harrop