Saints are recognized by the Church as individuals of exceptional holiness and sanctity whom are in Heaven. The Saints are a part of the Church Triumphant and therefore very close to God. Henceforth, asking for the intercession of saints is a very common practice in the Catholic Church. Many cradle Catholics, myself included, learned about saints at an early age. I had a little youth saint book and continued to learn about them throughout my RE classes. Furthermore, a great focus was given on patron saints during confirmation classes and preparation.
I have recently found though, years later, that I have certainly lost my familiarity with the saints throughout my adult life.
When was the last time I looked at a book of saints? And certainly the child one I used to learn from is no longer appropriate. I feel that in order to deepen my faith, I need to get re-familiarized with the saints of old which used to inspire me and encourage me as a child. I need to reconnect with these icons of Church History which I have since forgotten. But where to begin?
It goes without saying that there are a vast multitude of saint books out there for adults. But all are not created equal as there are thousands upon thousands of saints. The largest compilation of saints is the Butler's Lives of the Saints which includes 2,565 saints but hasn't been updated since 1956. Due to the surplus of saints, most saint books just focus on a certain group of saints. One can easily find books on North American Saints or Irish Saints. This is far more manageable task than the work of Butler in producing a work which attempts to include all Roman Catholic Saints. Here is my list of the best Saint books out there for adults, hopefully you'll find the right one for you!
Recently Pope Benedict XVI has written a powerful and inspirational book entitled Holy Women. This book contains accounts of 17 female saints by Pope Benedict XVI which highlight their contribution to the Church and how they continue to inspire us today. This book is phenomenal for anyone who seeks to learn about the most holy and influential female saints of Church History.
As a child, the saints that were incorruptible amazed me and continue to do so to this day. Incorruptible Saints are those whom have had their bodies either fail to decompose for years or even centuries beyond medical explanation. These saints are a stunning example of Christ's victory over death and a reminder of the truth, beauty, and goodness found in the Catholic Faith as only in the Catholic Church is the phenomenon of incorruptible bodies found. Incorruptible saint books contain stories of these wonderful saints and, when able to, pictures as well as medical records.
Daily Saint Devotionals
The way I have gotten the saints back into my life, mind, and heart is through a lives of the saints devotional book. These books offer an approximately one-page biography on a saint each day as well as a reflection which allows one to more deeply apply the saint's virtues to our lives. I try to apply each saint to my life that day and sometimes it is far easier than others but either way I can already tell they are adding a tremendous benefit to my daily life.
Many who struggle to learn from the saints seem to claim that they have nothing to offer them and cannot relate because they didn't lead secular lives, however; many saints lived secular lives from birth to death. Furthermore, many of the saints undergo the same struggles we go through today with family, addiction, and ideas of self-worth. The book Secular Saints does a fantastic job of providing the stories of these saints and has them indexed thoroughly by their struggles for user friendliness.
These are just a few examples of the many different types of adult saint books out there for you to try. Any and all of them could certainly serve to reignite the fire in your life in light of that fire which is clearly present in the lives of the saints. Information on the saints can also be found online. Remember that the saints show us not only how to live but more specifically how to live with, through, and for Christ the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
Copyright 2011 Kathleen Wellman
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