After obtaining a Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology from Saint Joseph’s in 2014, Virginia Lieto set out to evangelize on the Catholic faith, becoming an adjunct professor at her alma mater while also serving as a public speaker on faith to various audiences. Now, she adds children’s author to her resume with the August 2015 release of Finding Patience, a book that follows the adventures of Faith Livingston as she struggles to make friends in a new school and learn the value of patience along the way.
“Truly, the idea for this story came straight from the Holy Spirit, inspiring me to write about what I know and am passionate about: the virtues,” explains Lieto on her motivation for putting pen to paper. “However, after studying under some extremely talented and gifted faculty, who have published books in their own right, or were in the process of publishing books, I thought I couldn’t hold a candle to them! I thought maybe I could write on a more simplistic basis where children would understand my message. That’s when the wheels started to spin; drawing on my own childhood experiences, the story emerged.”
Once she had the notion and began researching other children’s books on the market, Lieto recognized that a faith-based virtues book was sorely missing from the scores of other moralistic bedtime stories available. God and the human dimension were nowhere to be found.
“For example, I found vegetables, sports equipment, and a clay pot learning patience, from a secular perspective, to build good character,” says Lieto about finding her niche. “God is at the forefront of my book.”
In Finding Patience, the reader experiences Faith’s struggles and eventual triumph as the 8-year-old protagonist learns that through prayer and by trusting in God’s plan, she already has everything she needs to succeed. With the help of her editor, Lisa J. Michaels, and her illustrator, Carole Hahn Panzer, Lieto opted to self-publish in order to maintain total control over the characters, storyline, and artistic direction. Although this is Lieto’s first book, it won’t be her last; she already has plans for a follow-up that teaches the virtue of acceptance.
“Life is all about the virtues. That’s what I learned while studying for my master’s in pastoral theology,” says Lieto. “By embracing the virtues, and practicing them, we grow closer to God, and in the process, live happier lives. That has become my mission—to educate both adults and children on how they can grow closer to God and live happier lives.”