“Heaven’s Heroes” is an initiative created by Pura Pastor, Spanish communicator, and mother of three, to narrate the lives of Saints to children through stories adapted to their age.
“This endeavor began in the month of May of 2020. It was then, when I had the need, as an enthusiastic and believing mother, to explain to my children Pepe, 6, Felipe, 4, and Gabriel 1, how the Virgin appeared to the three little shepherds of Fatima. However, “I didn’t find anything that seemed simple and pleasant for children,” she says on the project’s Webpage.
Saints Are Also Heroes
“Why not transmit values and beliefs to our children through real exemplary lives? Why not expose them to the experiences of good people who did much good around them?” asked this young mother.
“Just as our children are attracted by the fictitious lives of known superheroes, they might well feel admiration, attraction, curiosity about the life of all the heroes who are in Heaven.” To do so, Pura thought that the best idea was that, “through endearing stories, the parents themselves should talk about the life of dedication and service of our Saints.”
The project “Heaven’s Heroes” arose as a fruit of this need experienced first hand. They are “brief stories on the life of real people who by their natural goodness or way of living and serving, helped others a lot, becoming genuine heroes,” continues their creator.
Isabel Trigo has illustrated these short stories, “with exquisite sensibility, which reaches the littlest ones of our home. Moreover, it’s a very easy and original way for our children to know the origin of their baptismal name or that of their family members and friends,” she explains.
The promoter also mentions how Catholic parents usually choose names for their children after a man or woman Saint and how “Heaven’s Heroes” enables “your child to know the life of the Saint after whom he is named. Thus he can have a stronger bond with the day of his Saint.”
First Hero: Saint Ignatius of Loyola
The first “Hero of Heaven” published is Saint Ignatius of Loyola, “a hero who left being a great soldier to be a pilgrim and give his life to others.” He is the Saint of all children called Ignatius, Iñigo, Ignasi, Nacho, Eneko, Iñaki and who celebrate their Saint on July 31.
The Webpage encourages readers to suggest ideas on other Saints to be included in this project: “We are looking for stories of Saints that will inspire children, exemplary lives that will help them be better every day.” Work has already begun on the next hero, James the Apostle.
Work of Adaptation
Pura said to Exaudi that the work of adaptation of the life of Saints “was not easy, as they are complex lives and in keeping with the Saint we want to write about, we find the end of some lives to be very tragic and, therefore, difficult to explain to young readers.
She also said that “every time I begin to look for information on a Saint’s life, which we want children to know, I entrust myself to the Holy Spirit, as my grandmother taught me when I was very small: ‘Pura, pray to the Holy Spirit to illumine your understanding and, it’s true, I receive inspiration.”
The Initiative Is Welcomed
The project’s promoter said that “thank God,” “the initiative has been very well received,” especially “among young Catholic parents,” adding that in this initial phase of the initiative, they were only thinking of sending copies to Spain and Europe.
However, thanks to the social networks, “we have had requests for copies of our first hero, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. So we are assessing the option to expand more than we had planned” and will “work with local publishers of Latin America.”
Evangelize and Give Witness
Pura Pastor says that, although “it’s true that up to now there is a strong association between the Hero published and a child’s baptismal name,” the objective of ‘Heaven’s Heroes” is more universal.” That is, “not only do we hope that children will feel affection for the Saint to whom they owe their name, but we hope that children will know more closely and endearingly the lives of dedication to others that these Saints exemplified, being extraordinary persons in the midst of the world.”
Thus “we can continue to evangelize and give witness of Jesus to the littlest ones at home, seeing Him in a very familiar way.”
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester