By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer

Rather than taking on complex political or moral issues of the day as he is so skillfully able to do, Austen Ruse, President of the Center for Family and Human Rights, in his new book Littlest Suffering Souls recounts the lives of three saintly children of our times who held a profound love for God, suffered greatly, and brought immense joy to those around them. All three children were, as Cardinal Burke states in his Foreword to the book, “examples of holiness and instruments of God’s grace for those who knew them.”

Brendan Kelly from Great Falls, Virginia, had Down syndrome yet his “religious precocity” was apparent at an early age. He was also diagnosed with leukemia at the tender age of two.  But Ruse observes that “along with the suffering came many graces.” For example, although intentions for Brendan’s health had previously been brought to Pope Saint John Paul II, Brendan was able to personally meet the Holy Father when he was just a young boy. That these two would meet was clearly divine providence, as Ruse recognizes, “[t]here are no coincidences in the often-charming world of God.” The stunning picture of “two Christian gentlemen bidding each farewell” at the end of this meeting is included among the collection of beautiful pictures of Brendan and his family included in Littlest Suffering Souls. In the last hours of Brendan’s life, he was confirmed as a very courageous and faithful soldier of Christ.

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