32 Days: A Story of Faith and Courage (Pauline Kids) by Ellen Lucey Prozeller is meant for children ages 9 – 11, however its story is inspiring for every Catholic no matter one’s age. In 1979, Archbishop Fulton Sheen gave an interview in which he said that an eleven year old Chinese girl had been his biggest inspiration for impressing upon his listeners the importance of Eucharistic adoration.
The truth is that little is known about this young Catholic. We do not even know her name, only the rudiments of her story, but her witness was extraordinary. Prozeller has filled in the blanks, creating a fictionalized version which is incredibly powerful.
Pei is living in China in 1948 just as the Communist regime is beginning to take over. She and her family are faithful Catholics, but as the soldiers move into their community, they arrest the sisters and priests and desecrate the Church. Pei is a witness to this and sees thirty-two consecrated hosts thrown to the ground and trampled upon. She decides to risk her life to go to the Church thirty-two times in the middle of the night to consume one of the hosts and spend a holy hour with Jesus.
Prozeller’s writing is superb. 32 days is powerful and fast-moving. It offers lessons in both the Catholic faith and the historical reality of Communist China. Whether it is read in a Catholic school, homeschool, or as a family read-aloud, it is sure to foster much conversation. The included discussion questions can provide a springboard for that dialogue.