Get 50% off Catholic Books & eBooks

Discover the Next Tolkien & O'Connor

Join Here for FREE to Never Miss a Deal

Find new favorites & Support Catholic Authors

Champion of the Poor: Father Joe Walijewski by Voyage Comics


Biography, Historical, Graphic Novel


All Ages

Author’s Worldview


Year Published



love, love of the poor, charity, missionaries, faith, biography, vocations


Reviewed by

Dr. Lisa Theus

“Don’t worry. Nothing will be all right!” This counterintuitive statement from Fr. Joe Walijewski shows his radical faith in God – nothing’s all right by our own efforts, but God can make things right. How did this man get such faith? 

Champion of the Poor depicts the life of Fr. Joe Walijewski, the son of Polish immigrants in Michigan. He lived from 1924-2006 and worked as a priest in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, as well as a missionary in South America (Bolivia and Peru). Inspired by the movie Boys Town, young Joe has a childhood dream of becoming a priest and making a home for homeless boys and girls. He also feels called to serve in South America. He faces difficulties: his ability to pass seminary, the challenge of moving to South America, and the uphill struggle to find resources to help those most in need. But he perseveres and displays great faith – and introduces the great faith of people in Peru to the rest of the Church.

As in The Tale of Patrick Peyton, the team at Voyage Comics brings to life a little-known priest on the way to sainthood. It’s an excellent contribution to the cause for Fr. Joe’s canonization, now at the Servant of God stage, and an easy introduction to a Catholic role model for young audiences.

The art is of the same excellent quality one sees across Voyage Comics publications. The characters are rendered with a realistic eye, and the text is easy to read.

The story is well-framed, with Fr. Joe giving a summary of his own past, so that the narrative can focus around his desire to fulfill his vocation of building an orphanage. It is an enjoyable, brief read that can appeal to any Catholic who wants to know more about contemporary spiritual role models. I would rate this book E for Everyone – in terms of content and complexity. It’s simple and straightforward enough for young audiences, but the content is also interesting for older Catholic audiences. The graphic novel makes for great history-based entertainment, introducing readers to something not well known and inspiring them to learn more.

The information about canonization would probably not interest Protestant or secular readers. The purpose of the book is to invite readers to pray for Fr. Joe’s intercession and canonization. But Catholics looking to show young readers good, modern stories will want to grab this graphic novel. It is a great reminder that saints come from humble backgrounds and aren’t always internationally famous. Saints start like everyone else, but show an extraordinary trust in God.

Get Catholic Books & eBooks for as little as $1 to FREE

Books for Lent

Deepen your Lenten reflection with these stories of repentance and forgiveness

Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang

This two part graphic novel tells its story from 2 sides China’s bloody civil war: A Boxer Rebel & a “traitor” Christian-Convert.

Most Highly Favored Daughter by Janice Palko

Her perfect life hides her city’s darkest secrets. Can Cara face the light of truth and come to understand real love?

The Poppy and The Rose by Ashlee Cowles

While abroad in England, Taylor discovers a mystery linking her to an heiress and passenger aboard The Titanic.

Celtic Crossing by Len Mattano

Relic lost, and faith found.

Saving the Statue of Liberty By Andrea Jo Rodgers

Can John save the Statue of Liberty and keep from getting kicked off the team and out of the Academy?

Finnian and the Seven Mountains (Vol.2) By, Philip Kosloski and Michael Lavoy

Can one map be the key to stopping the Viking Invasion?

Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

A young girl goes pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago on behalf of her brother and finds her place in the world.

The Tale of Patrick Peyton

How a humble, Irish immigrant brought Mary to Hollywood and then the World.

Big in Heaven by Fr. Stephen Siniari

In this inner-city Orthodox parish, there are no easy answers—only the transformative power of God’s love.

A Distant Prospect by Annette Young

Lucy has been broken by the horrors of polio and the war for Irish Independence. Can Australia offer her a new life and a new home?

A Good Girl by Johnnie Bernhard

When an old man dies his daughter must trace her family tree to find the ability to forgive him.

Ghosts of the Faithful by Kaye Park Hinckley

The O’Murphy family gets help from beyond the grave as they deal with long held secrets.

The Mission of Joan Of Arc by Philip Kosloski, Alexandre Nascimento, and Jesse Hansen

Voyage Comics’ dynamic interpretation of the Life of Joan of Arc is based on the play written by St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

The Grace Crasher by Mara Faro

The Grace Crasher is the ecumenical romantic dramedy that everyone who has ever had family members in split churches needs to read.

A Life Decision by Laurie M. Lamb

When Joe and Peyton find out that their unborn baby may have Down Syndrome, they are faced with a devastating decision.

Sydney and Calvin Have a Baby by Adrienne Thorn

Sydney writes romances but living her own romance will require more courage than anything yet required of her.

Saint Michael: Above the 38th Parallel by Shanti Guy

The true story of St. Michael, the original punch-communism-in-the-face superhero

Earthquake Weather by Kevin Rush

The mist that settles over San Francisco hides the ugly parts of her world. Can Kristine find the courage to see with unclouded eyes?

The Book of Jotham by Arthur Powers

Experience Christ through the eyes of Jotham, his disabled disciple.