What does it mean to be anonymous in the Gospels? Isn’t God the one who calls us by name and knows us even before we are born? In Gifts from Friends We’ve Yet to Meet, Virginia Herbers introduces readers to nameless Gospel characters, each of whom provides us with a story, a journey, and a gift.
Reflecting on experiences in her own life, Herbers journeys through these Gospel stories, inviting us to reflect on seemingly insignificant encounters in our own lives. Who are the “anonymous figures” who have played a critical role for each of us? How do the experiences of the nameless Gospel characters continue to reach and teach us today? Can it be that their anonymity allows their experience to be both individual and universal?
In each of these anonymous characters, Herbers introduces us to dear friends we just haven’t met yet. And each of their ages-old encounters with Jesus contains a gift for all of us today.
Virginia Herbers is a retreat director, lecturer, and spiritual director who uses story and theology to shed contemporary light on traditional Scriptural texts. Virginia has been an educator in the United States and Taiwan, a blogger for the USCCB, a regular columnist for Global Sisters Report, and a frequent presenter at retreat centers and parishes across the country. Her undergraduate degrees are in Theology and Mathematics, and she has an M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Aquinas Institute. She currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, serving as a teacher at The Covering House, an organization committed to restoration of child victims of sex trafficking. Visit her website at www.VirginiaHerbers.com.
"Some writers convey deep spiritual and theological insights. Others are entrancing story tellers who can bring the Bible to life. It’s rare to find both abilities in the very same author. Reading Gifts from Friends We’ve Yet to Meet is like swapping family stories with your cousin on a warm summer evening, both of you laughing and drinking good wine and learning things that will make you a better person."
Paula Huston, author of The Hermits of Big Sur
"While some may shrink from tackling the vexing questions and challenges of the human condition, Virginia Herbers courageously dives in with zeal. Relying on scholarship and imagination, she probes the complexities of biblical stories with refreshing honesty. The frank and candid manner in which she relates her own life experiences with those of the unnamed biblical characters makes this work pure delight to read."
Annmarie Sanders, IHM, Communications Director, Leadership Conference of Women Religious
"Through her skillful storytelling, Virginia invites us to weave the stories of nameless Gospel characters with our own story. Blending the tools of Scripture scholarship with insights gleaned from her own prayer and lived experience, she opens space for each of us to encounter a God eager to walk with us, eager to encourage us through the people placed along our path, friends known and those we’ve yet to meet."
Kristin Matthes, SNDdeN, former chair of the National Religious Vocation Conference Board
“Virginia Herbers is a gifted teacher and storyteller—and just the right person to take us on a personal tour of some of the New Testament’s lesser-known characters. From the Canaanite woman to the crucified thief, Herbers writes about these biblical figures as though she’s met them—and indeed she has. Prepare to make some new friends—including Herbers herself—and receive the gifts they have to offer in this decidedly original, gently humorous, and deeply insightful book.”
Amy Ekeh, Director, Little Rock Scripture Study
“Virginia Herbers brings to life the nameless figures who prominently feature in Scripture and interact with Christ in her thoroughly engaging Gifts from Friends We’ve Yet to Meet: A Memoir of Biblical Encounters. Her effective and affecting invitation to encounter anew these important, if anonymous people renders them and the lessons they offer in a provocative, contemporary, and meaningful way.”
Kerry Alys Robinson, author of Imagining Abundance: Fundraising, Philanthropy and a Spiritual Call to Service
"Through the tender and vulnerable stories of her own life, Herbers introduces us to the tender and vulnerable people of the Gospel, who in turn introduce us to the One who consecrates all our stories."
Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ, author of Ascending with Ignatius
"I highly recommend Gifts From Friends We've Yet to Meet: A Memoir of Biblical Encounters written by Virginia Herbers. Virginia’s writing style is so personable and draws you into her life and the lives of these Biblical friends. Virginia encourages us to be bold yet humble when coming to the Father while challenging us to remain soft and compassionate for those hurting. If you are looking for a book to inspire and challenge you, this is it. Please take time to read this remarkable book."
Dedee Lhamon, Founder of The Covering House