The Story of a Book
Once upon a time, in the last decades of the second millennium AD, a young man named Mark Vincent, beloved husband and father of two, found the True Faith and became a member of the Catholic Church. Being of a mystical nature, Mark soon happened upon the champions of the contemplative life, the ancient Order of Carthusians. Mark was blessed to enter into a correspondence and friendship with two successive priors of one of their houses, the Charterhouse of the Transfiguration in Vermont. One December, Mark received the annual Christmas letter from the prior which included a booklet about Carthusian saints.
In this booklet, Mark read about St. Rosaline of Villeneuve, a holy Carthusian nun who lived in Provence, France, at the turn of the 13th century. Mark, who takes his Catholic faith seriously and had by then become the father of eight children, told the story of St.Rosaline, the Saint with the shining eyes, to his family.
It so happened that some years after reading about St.Rosaline, Mark had to leave his family to work in far away Montana for many long months. Alone in his apartment at night, he thought a lot about St.Rosaline and how his children loved her story. He decided to write a children’s book about her so that his own children would not be the only ones to know and love St. Rosaline.
Back home, Mark sent query letters to the few Catholic publishing houses who were interested in children’s books. Alas, the book was rejected. Self-publishing was not an option. The Vincent family was rich in children, but not in material goods. They were people who rinsed out their ziplock bags to reuse them and who washed their dishes by hand. They did not have the means to have a few thousand books printed. For a long time, Mark and his family gave up hope of ever seeing St.Rosaline’s story in print.
In the years to come, Mark’s wife, Christine, who worked at the local library, met several people who had self-published their books on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, KDP, a free publishing platform for e-books and print on demand service which allows authors to upload their book to Amazon.com to be printed as soon as a customer places an order. Christine thought about St.Rosaline and about Mark’s manuscript. She decided to secretly publish the story on Amazon.com as a surprise for her husband. However, in order to do this, she needed more than a manuscript, she needed a book.
It so happened that at this time a lovely drawing came to Christine’s attention. It was published in Mary’s Messenger, a Catholic children’s magazine. The 14-year-old artist was Nadia Olson, a good friend, a daughter of the Olson family who attended the same church as the Vincents. Christine remembered that Mark had admired greeting cards Nadia had decorated with her drawings and given to his daughters for their birthdays.
It was the month of April in the year 2016 AD, when Christine approached Nadia with the idea of illustrating the story of St.Rosaline. Nadia was delighted and enthusiastically embarked upon the project. A year went by before Nadia completed the last of 25 beautiful drawings, perfect illustrations of the story.
It took another six months for Christine to turn the manuscript and the illustrations into a book. She valiantly battled the demons of publishing software working late at night when her husband was asleep. Whenever she felt close to despair, she would send a fervent prayer request to St. Rosaline. Unfailingly, help would come.
Victorious at last, she placed a copy of the printed book into the sack of St. Nicholas, when he made his annual visit to the Vincent’s church in December. It so happened to be the eve of Mark and Christine’s 30th wedding anniversary when St. Nicholas presented the beautiful picture book titled St. Rosaline, the Carthusian: The Saint with the Shining Eyes to its amazed and delighted author.
Glory to God and St.Rosaline!
This sounds like the end of the story but it is actually the beginning of another, the story of the
St. Rosaline marketing campaign. It is true that the book is available for purchase on amazon.com. Unfortunately, zillions of potential readers are blissfully unaware of the fact. So we will need to roll up our sleeves and change that.
You can follow the story of the St. Rosaline marketing campaign on this blog.
You can support Catholic children’s literature as well as the author and the illustrator of St.Rosaline, the Carthusian: The Saint With the Shining Eyes by purchasing the book.
St. Rosaline, pray for us!