4/2/2012 9:55:00 AM Book on saints shows that surrender to God is way past anxiety
A specialist in human goodness and recent saints, Portland author Patricia Treece offers the fruits of years of research on how God meets the needs of his people. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for instance, refused to let anyone raise money in her name, insisting that of God wanted something done through her, God would send the money. It worked.
Throughout Treece's new book, God Will Provide: How God's Bounty Opened to Saints and 9 Ways It Can Open to You (Paraclete, 800-451-5006, www.paracletepress.com) there are similar examples of universal principles to live by so readers can join those who know God's unquestionable presence — in good times or bad.
Some of the stories in the book are hard to believe. But Treece, a trained journalist, writes meticulously from first-person witnesses. She discards iffy reports. The Catholic Church, she says, investigates those who become saints with a skeptical eye.
Treece says she likes writing about modern saints because of the immediacy and authenticity.
"Some of those I write about my readers may have actually seen — so you don't have to wonder if this is a mythical figure," she explains. Recent saints also have more extant first person accounts.
The book has relevance for the rest of us, Treece says, because we can all position ourselves to receive divine providence.
"Almost all miracles, such as those humanly impossible cures accepted for saints' beatifications and canonizations, go to very ordinary people," she says. "Miracles meeting material needs are all around us. They come in all sizes from a washing machine that fixes itself, a cash buyer for a home going into foreclosure, or an unexpected check in the mail just when it's needed."
Treece warns that humans need to do their part to have their material needs met.
"My experiences show that you only have to be pointed Godward," she says. "You don't have to be hot stuff spiritually. It isn't the case that God will withhold his bounty until you are a great saint."
Treece, 73, has written or edited celebrated works on St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Padre Pio and Pope John XXIII. She's a reporter, not a pundit. Her books have won praise from the Catholic Press Association and Protestant sources. Her work has been translated into seven languages.
When Treece was a child in the Yakima Valley, doctors found tuberculosis spots on her lungs. They told her father to take her south. The pair went to Salt Lake City and eventually California. Young Trish, despite lacking a mother, embraced life with vigor. She was known for socking other children and kissing boys behind the shed.
She came to the University of Oregon to get a degree in journalism, also focusing on French and anthropology. She refers to herself then as “a young WASP at the secular university.”
She became Catholic after graduating, citing a Passionist friar who became a friend of the family.