The people profiled here aren’t necessarily Catholic. (Martin Luther, for example, left the Church and started the Protestant Reformation). Nor are they typical heroes. (Gerard Manley Hopkins acquiesced to his superiors and destroyed much of his poetry). Some, like Bartolomé de las Casas, Hildegard von Bingen, Michel Montaigne, and Mary Magdalene, are famous historical figures. But others, like Horace McKenna S.J. and Father Charles Strobel – both parish priests who spoke out against racism and spoke up for the homeless and downtrodden – are known only in the small circles of their influence.
Yet all of those profiled took the example of Jesus Christ for inspiration. This is not the pretty Jesus pictured on holy cards. It is Jesus the iconoclast, the one who threw the money changers out of the temple, who publicly chastised hypocrites, and who disdained the authorities. This is the Jesus who did what he thought was right and bore the consequences.