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The Saint Makers chronicles the unlikely alliance between Father Hotze and Dr. Andrea Ambrosi, a country priest and a cosmopolitan Italian canon lawyer, as the two piece together the life of a long dead Korean War hero and military chaplain and fashion it into a case for eternal divinity. Joe Drape offers a front row seat to the Catholic Church’s saint-making machinery-which, in many ways, has changed little in two thousand years-and examines how, or if, faith and science can co-exist.

This rich and unique narrative leads from the plains of Kansas to the opulent halls of the Vatican, through brutal Korean War prison camps, and into the stories of two individuals, Avery Gerleman and Chase Kear, whose lives were threatened by illness and injury and whose family and friends prayed to Father Kapaun, sparking miraculous recoveries in the heart of America. Gerleman is now a nurse, and Kear works as a mechanic in the aerospace industry. Both remain devoted to Father Kapaun, whose opportunity for sainthood relies in their belief and medical charts. At a time when the church has faced severe scandal and damage, and the world is at the mercy of a pandemic, this is an uplifting story about a priest who continues to an example of goodness and faith.

Ultimately, The Saint Makers is the story of a journey of faith-for two priests separated by seventy years, for the two young athletes who were miraculously brought back to life with (or without) the intercession of the divine, as well as for readers-and the author-trying to understand and accept what makes a person truly worthy of the Congregation of Saints in the eyes of the Catholic Church.