A Dictionary of Saintly Women

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    Biografie, Saggistica

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For nearly half of a long life it has been my vocation to collect and arrange legends and records of women worshipped as saints or so considered. Although the work has been to me a sanctuary from the anxieties and vexations of daily life, I have, during the whole time, been painfully conscious of my unworthiness to write on the subject of saints, and my inability to approach the degree of excellence to which such a book might attain in better hands. From the mass of information - often contradictory - concerning this vast multitude, I have selected the most remarkable incidents. Some of these are chosen on account of the historical importance of the heroine, her noble character or wonderful gifts, or because of some interesting side-light which they shed on customs or beliefs of her time and country. Some few stories have been included as examples of the extreme absurdity to which these memorials have reached. Where there are several saints of one name they are arranged chronologically.<br><br>My information has been gathered largely from the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, from the histories of the various countries and religious orders to which these saintly women belonged, from collections of Lives and legends, and from many other sources. Authorities are given for each article. A list of the books consulted will be found at the end of the second volume. I have generally abstained from criticising or expressing a personal opinion. Where I have said that a story is untrue or an author untrustworthy, the statement is made on the authority of some accredited Catholic writer.<br><br>There are moments when it seems as though the presenting of a subject so remote from modern tendencies almost asks for an apology.

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