The stories Catholics often hear about the saints can give the impression these people emerged from the womb with halos. Craughwell, a well-respected Catholic diocesan newspaper columnist, provides the rest of the story. His semi-irreverent collection assembles 29 sinners-cum-saints from Christian history in an enjoyable and riveting account of their lives and times. The table of contents reads like a most-wanted list: thieves, embezzlers, murderers, cardsharps, and even a warmonger. Some, such as the apostle Matthew, a former tax collector, will be familiar to readers. The brief biographies of the more obscure saints, however, are often the most fascinating to read. Craughwell introduces us to intriguing figures like St. Moses the Ethiopian, a violent gang leader who embraced a life of fasting and prayer after seeking shelter with monks in the Egyptian desert in the fourth century. St. Alipius, a student of another notorious sinner, St. Augustine, was "obsessed with blood sports." Craughwell does not dilute his belief that it is only through divine grace that these women and men were able to overcome their self-centeredness and redirect their lives for a greater purpose. His tone is occasionally patronizing, but the take-home point is vital: while we are all sinners, there is always hope. (Sept. 19)
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Saints aren't born they're made; out of, as Craughwell's sketches of 28 of them demonstrate, oh-so-imperfect human beings, some well-known--St. Augustine, St. Patrick, St. Columba, St. Thomas Becket, St. Francis of Assisi--many others not. They include all manner of thieves (St. Dismas), bigamists (St. Fabiola), egotists (St. Ignatius of Loyola), and even the occasional Viking conqueror (St. Olaf). Craughwell provides biographical detail and, of greater interest, discussion of how particular saints have appealed to a collective sense of right and wrong and notice of how some saints have entered pop culture in modern guise (such as the St. Dismas-like hero of the movie The Hoodlum Priest). The saint among these 28 whose story is the most moving is probably the Venerable Matt Talbot (1856-1925), a chronic alcoholic from Dublin who quit drinking cold turkey to pursue a truly saintly, humble life thereafter. June Sawyers
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The title is a bit deceptive. This is actually a book about people who behaved badly and then went on to achieve sainthood, normally after a significant conversion experience. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Força Porto!
Fantastic! A great way to read of the Saints that not only inspires one to holiness, but also allows one to relate to the development of these wonderful human beings.Published 3 months ago by Jonathan Crane
This book makes you think and laugh at the same time. Very inspiring and remind all us that we are all called to be saints.Published 6 months ago by Emmanuel
Loved it :-) my sister recommended it and I learned history while laughing. This book proved redemption and that saints are human tooPublished 16 months ago by joy
I thought this was a wonderful book with lots of information I did not know about the chosen subjects. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Joseppi A. Sandoval
It was an interesting read if you like history or have an interest in early Catholicism. I'm not much into religion, but do enjoy most facets of history so did find this book... Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. Schroeder
I Lost interest in this book very quickly. I Never finished it. They were Very surface biographies. I was looking for more in-depth.Published 20 months ago by beverly ann
IF YOU LOVE SAINTS YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK. THEY START OUT JUST LIKE US. WE CAN ALL BE SAINTS.Published on August 19, 2013 by DEBORAH CHAPA