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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.
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'.
In the meat of his book McBrien is very ecumenical, including saints on the General Roman Catholic Calendar along with those of the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches, the churches of the Anglican community, especially the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (USA), and churches of the Lutheran World Federation, especially the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). In addition, there are references to holy persons not yet recognized as saints, including even non-Christians. For example McBrien includes the Abbess Etheldreda, who is celebrated by the Church of England but not the Catholic Church. The biographies are arranged according to the calendar of the feast days, e.g., St. Francis of Assisi is remembered on October 4. To make the book practical McBrien appends more than 80 pages of tables and indicies, making an individual saint's biography easy to find.
Professor McBrien's descriptions of each saint are a page or two, with more in depth treatment of more important saints. Given the professor that he is, McBrien offers a bibliography on many of the saints.
All-in-all this is a wonderful one-volume resource on Christian saints. While Butler's "Lives of the Saints" has more depth in his four-volume work this is an excellent resource for those who want a one-volume description of the saints.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
Richard Peter McBrien (born 1936) is a priest, and a Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Read morePublished on October 3, 2012 by Steven H Propp
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
I found McBrien's 'Lives of the Saints' all that a good reference ought be and it is also a good read. Read morePublished on June 12, 2007 by G. Wilkins
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
I bought this book at the same time as the new one volume Butler's Lives of the Saints, edited by Paul Burns. Read morePublished on May 12, 2004 by WestCoastBlue