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Lives of the Saints: From Mary and St. Francis of Assisi to John XXIII and Mother Teresa Paperback – August 29, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
McBrien's compilation of saints for each day covers a multitude of canonized and non-canonized people. He also offers saints who are recognized by the Anglican/Episcopalian, Lutheran and Greek Orthodox churches. His descriptions are short, comparatively with Butler's descriptions, but non-devotional. He includes in his short essays references to history, legend and myth. This book can exist along side other longer works and can offer some perspectives that others do not.
The book purports to be a "Lives of the Saints" -- an ever popular genre for many centuries. However, McBrien uses this book (as he did his previous "Lives of the Popes") to further his own agenda as a representative of the Catholic far left.
In the section devoted to explaining the history of "saints" and the process by which persons are declared "saints" in the Catholic Church, he manages to wave the banner of radical feminism, liberation theology, etc., citing almost exclusively representatives from the far left. This is his privilege -- but it detracts from the alleged purpose of the book.
In the section devoted to working through the Church Year, McBrien includes in his list of saints persons not affiliated with the Catholic Church, and in some cases, persons not affiliated with Christianity at all. (Mahatma Ghandi? A good and worthy man, to be sure, but his inclusion (as a Hindu mystic) in a book of Christian saints?) McBrien also manages to defame the memory of those saints with whom he personally disagrees, the most noteworthy example being St. Pius X. Further, he repeats the same tired anti-Catholic attacks against Pope Pius XII and his alleged "complicity" and "silence" during the Second World War.
I grudgingly gave this book 2 stars because of McBrien's recognition of other religious bodies who have a Calendar of Saints and his inclusion of some of those in his list. However, he is inconsistent in his mention of these, which I found troubling. (Either discuss/include all or none).Read more ›
Instead I found this to be yet another in a long list of saint books that provides for the most part a very dry and hurried account of dates and accomplishments - squeezed into a paragraph or two for many saints. Worse is reading a whole page on a saint without finding anything remotely interesting. After awhile you guess what is going to be written. I.E. "spent time helping the poor, reforming prostitutes..."
Spare yourself these boring accounts that I found quite biased and inaccurate at times. (This is not a shot at the author - I just happen to be familiar with much literature on a few saints and can easily spot inaccuracies).
For an exceptional book on saints, check out on amazon 'Voices of the Saints'.
The tables are a great addition they save one the hunting around for information elsewhere. The time line, notes, bibliography and index give everything that a reference of this type should provide.
I have several other such references from 'The Golden Legend', Butlers, The Sunday Visitor Encyclopaedia,the Oxford and Penguin Dictionaries and some others. McBrien will be first off the shelf. If you only need one such, this is it.
He wrote in the Preface to this 2001 book, "This book came about as the result of a suggestion from my publisher... to consider doing something on the saints similar in nature to my previous book 'Lives of the Popes'... the great bulk of this volume consists of biographical sketches of varying lengths... The biographies are of the saints who appear on the General Roman Calendar... In addition there are references to holy persons not yet recognized as saints, including even non-Christians... This is not a work of primary or original historical scholarship... This book is the work of a theologian, not of a historian, and more specifically of an ecclesiologist, whose task is to reflect on the lives of the saints... What do the saints tell us, individually and collectively, not only about the character of Christian discipleship, but about the meaning of human existence itself?"
He argues, "the most blatant example of a politicized process (for canonization) in modern times is that of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer (1902-75), founder in 1928 of Opus Dei... In 1962 Monsignor Escriva petitioned the Vatican to declare his movement a personal prelature, which would have removed it from the jurisdiction of local bishops.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Professor Richard McBrien holds an endowed chair in theology at the University of Notre Dame and is an expert on Catholicism. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Barry S. Riehle
We are all "saints in the making". It appears that Fr. McBrien wrote this book with that statement in mind.
I'm glad I was able to acquire this text by this author. Read more
I read this book everynight before I go to bed! The saints included are both Catholic and Orthrodox! Read morePublished on August 6, 2012 by George S. Ellington
We are doing something different in bible study the next few months. We are learing about the saints and our teacher recommended this book. I'm really enjoying reading it. Read morePublished on February 27, 2012 by Kimi
With this volume Richard McBrien has provided us with a substantial reference for the lives of the saints. Read morePublished on August 25, 2010 by J. Neill
Very interesting and facinating book! I purchased the book for my catechism classes but I started reading the info and found it something I had to continue reading.Published on January 9, 2007 by Delores Ypina
This book should be carefully avoided. It has a modernist bias and seems to almost criticize the Church's holy saints. A perfect example is the passage on St. Read morePublished on July 29, 2003