- Thomas Merton, at first glance, a party-going lady's man, becomes a Trappist monk and peace activist;
- Helen Prejean, a quiet religious sister, befriends and advocates for the seemingly most monstrous among us—murderers on death row;
- Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, a bookish, shy son of Italian immigrants, becomes one of the most outspoken prelates of our time;
- Pedro Arrupe, a medical student then priest, survives nuclear holocaust and becomes a great Jesuit leader;
- Jean Donovan, a Harley-riding businesswoman, turns missionary and is martyred;
- Dorothy Stang, a religious sister and schoolteacher, champions the environment and loses her life doing so;
- Maximilian Kolbe, a sickly, eccentric Franciscan, turns publisher and "warrior" for peace and dies in Auschwitz trading his life for a Jewish prisoner;
- Karol Wojtyla, a young Polish actor whose election to pope makes him one of the most famous men on the world stage.
These unlikely heroes saw great injustice, sorrow, and violence in the world and, in their own ways—some small, some universal—sought and created love, justice, peace, and hope for our time.
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