As we set out on a road trip this summer, I plugged a new CD into the truck. The familiar opening strains of Holy Heroes’ Glory Stories drifted through the truck, catching the girls’ attention immediately. We have nearly the entire Glory Stories collection and have listened to some of them so often the girls can quote sections of the stories. So we were all excited to listen to a new Glory Stories, about a very new saint: Blessed Carlo Acutis.
I received this CD for review courtesy of Holy Heroes; all opinions expressed are my own.
Who is Blessed Carlo Acutis?
Most of the saints I’ve written about here on my blog or in my books lived hundreds of years ago. Carlo Acutis is the first saint I’ve research who is actually younger than I am. He was born in 1991 in London, England, but his parents soon moved back to Italy, where Carlo grew up. Even as an infant and young child, Carlo’s parents knew there was something special about their son. He was extremely smart, but also very interested in the faith—even though his parents weren’t practicing Catholics.
Carlo went to daily Mass and prayed the rosary regularly. He also went to confession often and found time to pray before or after Mass. His devotion to the Church led to his mother’s conversion as well as the conversion of a household servant. Carlo also had a deep love for the saints, especially St. Francis of Assisi (who shared Carlo’s love for animals), and asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages. Living in Italy, it was easy for Carlo and his family to not only visit many beautiful churches but also to see where many great saints lived and worked.
When he was only 11, Carlo Acutis began working on a website project that would feature the Eucharistic Miracles of the World. He had taught himself computer coding a few years earlier, despite the fact that this was usually considered a university-level pursuit. For almost two and a half years, his family helped him travel through Italy to photograph the miracles so he could document them on his website. Originally, Carlo didn’t include his name anywhere on his websites, wanting all glory to go to God.
In 2006, Carlo became very ill. After running several tests, doctors told his parents that he had an aggressive, untreatable form of leukemia. Carlo offered up his suffering for the Pope and the Church. He died only a few days after his diagnosis. He was beatified in 2020.
Glory Stories Vol. 17
While the girls love all the Glory Stories CDs, I think they really connected with Carlo Acutis in this story because he’s a kid like they are. My girls have tried to learn computer coding. They also like dogs (and wish they had their own). Carlo begs to receive his First Communion at the age of seven, and Jade is preparing this year to do that as well. Carlo is, in many ways, an ordinary kid who goes biking with his friends, plays video games, and has to do homework for school.
The focus of this story (and of Carlo’s life, of course) is the Eucharist. I joined the Catholic Church because of the Eucharist, and this is the most important teaching of the Catholic Church that I want my children to learn. In Carlo’s words, as he teaches catechism classes to kids younger than him, we hear about why the Eucharist matters so much to him. Carlo refers to it as his “highway to heaven” and even agrees with one of his students that “you are what you eat”—so if we eat Jesus in the Eucharist, we will become more and more like Him.
Fully dramatized, Glory Stories Vol. 17 draws us right into Carlo’s life. We hear his parents talking about their son, hear Carlo himself sharing his faith and growing up. It’s easy to connect with this easy-going boy who helps everyone he meets, from fellow students working on class projects to the homeless men on his street. Carlo’s mom actually corresponded with the Glory Stories’ author to provide quotes and examples of how Carlo addressed issues faced by kids today!
Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us.
Drop by the Holy Heroes website to listen to a free sample of the story or to download free colouring pages about Carlo Acutis. You can purchase Carlo’s story either on CD or as a downloadable MP3.
Holy Heroes is one of our favourite places to find great Catholic products, such as the other sixteen Glory Stories about amazing saints, as well as their Lenten Adventure and other resources to help us prepare for Easter.