Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thrift Store Saints by Jane Knuth

Paperback, 160 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Loyola Press
ISBN:0829433015 (ISBN13: 9780829433012)
4 stars 

Goodreads synopsis:
Jane Knuth's middle-class, suburban, church-going background had not prepared her well to serve as a volunteer at an inner-city thrift store. Reluctantly, she decided to give it a try.Thrift Store Saints is a collection of true stories based on Jane's unexpected, soul-stirring experiences at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Rather than viewing society's poor as problems to be solved, Jane begins to see them, one at a time, in a completely different light-as saints who can lead us straight to the heart of Christ.
Jane's transformation is rooted in the prevailing message of the book: When we serve the poor, they end up giving us much more than we could ever give them. Each chapter introduces readers to new "saints," as Jane thoughtfully, at times humorously, describes how her frequent encounters with the poorest people were really opportunities to meet Jesus-25c at a time.

My thoughts:
This book touched me in ways I did not expect. It is not a great piece of literature, but there are little nuggets in every chapter that pull at you. However, it is the final third of the book that I really responded to. I am thankful it wasn't preachy, and that it was written in a simple, straightforward style. Sometimes in order to really get the message, it needs to be soft-pedaled, and Jane Knuth's light touch was exactly right for the subject matter. I am grateful to have read it.

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