With such a title, who wouldn’t want to pick up this book?! I have to say, it certainly grabbed my attention. Even the cover is great. Maria Morera Johnson, author of My Badass Book of Saints: Courageous Women Who Showed Me How to Live, is a college professor, blogger and radio host who has selected a beautiful and badass group of women that are sure to inspire you. Not only has she chosen named saints (that is, saints with a capital St.) but she has also chosen bold, courageous and devoted women from a variety of backgrounds. For Johnson, to be truly badass you are, in her native Spanish, tremenda. Tremenda means “tremendous, sometimes. It also means terrific, and terrible. It translates to bold. Daring. Fearless. Stalwars. Smart. Courageous…But mostly, it means badass” (xvi).
Johnson weaves the lives of these badass women with her own story, a first generation Cuban-American, military wife and mother. The women, 24 in total, each represent characteristics that Johnson considers “badass.” They are audacious, courageous, missionaries, advocates, selfless, passionate, compassionate, and virtuous, to name just a few. At the end of each chapter, Johnson offers reflection questions on the highlighted quality and how we as people of faith can integrate the lessons from these women into our life.
Some of the saints and women I knew about already. Consider how St. Joan of Arc would be a model of courage, St. Catherine of Siena a model of advocacy or St. Gianna Beretta Molla a model of human dignity. I also knew about Audrey Hepburn and her work with the UN and Immaculee Ilibagiza and how she not only survived but found forgiveness in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
I was blown away by the women I had never heard of. Did you know that Sr. Blandina Segale stood up to Billy the Kid not once but 3 times!? Or how about Nancy Wake, an Australian socialite turned super secret spy for the French Resistance and was so good at it the Nazi’s never figured out who she was?! Or Phyllis Bowman who founded the Right to Life movement in 1998, but started her work on behalf of the unborn in the mid-1960s by forming the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children in the United Kingdom?
The women in this book are incredible. They are more than beautiful, they are more than strong, they are more than awesome. They really are badass.