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FROM CINDERS TO BUTTERFLIES by Richard B. Fratianne Kirkus Star


A Spiritual Journey to Healing

by Richard B. Fratianne

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2003
ISBN: 978-1-59299-018-4
Publisher: Franklin Street Books

A burn unit doctor’s account of healing and transformation.

Fratianne, an emeritus professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University and the founder of the burn center at Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center, combines his experiences as a physician with his unfolding faith journey as a Christian in this debut, crafting a narrative that centers on the concept of personal development: “Most of us never fully know or appreciate the person we can become,” he writes. “We do not fully explore our potential; our gifts and our talents or our qualities as human beings.” Fratianne and his team, which he calls his “extended family,” have treated many patients with pain and long-term trauma from serious burn injuries. In some ways, he says, the most challenging injuries are those to a victim’s sense of self. He notes how patients with scarred skin or deformed features felt afraid that they would be objects of pity or ridicule when they rejoined society. The stress of dealing with this brought Fratianne to the edge of quitting his job, but at this point in his story, he recounts a personal spiritual awakening—a sense that God was urging him to love his patients despite the enormity of their needs. His first response to God, he writes, was “I can’t. I can’t. They need too much; much more than I can give.” The author employs a highly effective blend of autobiography and spiritual manifesto in these pages, revealing how transforming the lives of others became possible by using what he calls the “supernatural gifts” of faith, hope, and love. The religious elements of the memoir are skillfully interwoven with stories of the impressive achievements of the burn unit; specifically, he tells how the team worked wonders by always treating patients as beautiful people and by affirming every bit of progress that they made in their arduous journeys back to their everyday lives. Fratianne’s own health scare at the book’s climax only underscores the lessons that he so touchingly conveys throughout.

A straightforward and uplifting story of helping others through earnest Christian faith.