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Publisher's Summary

Part biography of a wartime adventurer, part detective story, and part faith journey, this intriguing book from New York Times journalist and best-selling author Joe Drape takes us inside the modern-day process of the making of a saint.

The Saint Makers chronicles the unlikely alliance between Father Hotze and Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, a country priest and a cosmopolitan Italian canon lawyer, as the two piece together the life of a long dead Korean War hero and military chaplain and fashion it into a case for eternal divinity. Joe Drape offers a front row seat to the Catholic Church's saint-making machinery - which, in many ways, has changed little in 2,000 years-and examines how, or if, faith and science can coexist.

This rich and unique narrative leads from the plains of Kansas to the opulent halls of the Vatican, through brutal Korean War prison camps, and into the stories of two individuals, Avery Gerleman and Chase Kear, whose lives were threatened by illness and injury and whose family and friends prayed to Father Kapaun, sparking miraculous recoveries in the heart of America. Gerleman is now a nurse, and Kear works as a mechanic in the aerospace industry. Both remain devoted to Father Kapaun, whose opportunity for sainthood relies in their belief and medical charts. At a time when the church has faced severe scandal and damage, and the world is at the mercy of a pandemic, this is an uplifting story about a priest who continues to an example of goodness and faith.

Ultimately, The Saint Makers is the story of a journey of faith - for two priests separated by 70 years, for the two young athletes who were miraculously brought back to life with (or without) the intercession of the divine, as well as for listeners - and the author - trying to understand and accept what makes a person truly worthy of the Congregation of Saints in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

©2020 Joe Drape (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"In a riveting story that moves from a small town in Kansas to the halls of the Vatican, Joe Drape draws back the curtain on one of Catholicism's least-understood processes, the making of a saint. It's a story of spiritual struggle -- in prisoner-of-war-camps in Korea, in the lives of modern families praying for miraculous healing, and in the personal pilgrimage of an author alienated by scandals in the church. Drape's narrative is engaging and thought-provoking. With a combination of journalistic skepticism and religious sensitivity, he confronts the question: Why do saints matter today?" (John Thavis, author of The Vatican Diaries

"Inspiring, and beautifully written, Joe Drape's new book seamlessly combines three fascinating tales: the saga of a Catholic war hero and future saint, the story of how the church 'canonizes' a person (that is, recognizes saints) and the spiritual journey of an initially skeptical author. The Saint Makers is revelatory in truest sense of the word: it reveals Father Kapaun's astounding holiness, the church's dogged pursuit of the truth, and the author's heartfelt quest for a more authentic spiritual life." (James Martin, SJ, author of My Life with the Saints and Learning to Pray)

"Engaging...this profile in sainthood is humane and compelling." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Saint Makers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas Dickinson
  • 02-01-2021

Inspirational and Thorough

Excellent account of the canonization cause of a truly heroic soldier-priest. Highly recommended. Fr. Kapaun, Ora Pro Nobis.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • MB
  • 26-12-2020

Story part was good. Some commentary was not.

I wanted more story, and less personal thoughts on current events. I did like the insight to the process.

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