June 2020: FAQs about “Saints”

Why did you write a book about saints?

I knew almost nothing about the saints when I became a Catholic as a young adult. But I quickly learned that good biographies of their lives helped me figure out how to live my life as a follower of Christ. Just like you and me, holy men and women of the past faced difficult relationships, indecision, bad health, and even epidemics.

Initially, I collected biographies from many books just to help me pray, but when my collection had become a book in itself, I decided to offer it to others, with the help of the wonderful people at Ignatius Press.

How did you choose the saints in your book?

Every author who writes a book about inspirational men and women has the difficult task of deciding which ones to leave out and which ones to leave in; I decided that only those men and women who have been declared saints and blesseds by the Catholic Church would be included in mine. The Church’s latest official list of saints and blesseds is called the Martyrologium Romanum (Roman Martyrology); it was last revised in 2004 and is only available in Latin. All the individuals in my book are present in the Martyrologium Romanum or have been officially declared saints or blesseds by the Church since 2004.

Although there are dozens or hundreds of saints listed for each day of the year in the Martyrologium Romanum, I selected anywhere from two to several saints for each day. All the most well-known saints are included, but almost every day also includes a martyr-saint,[1] and every pope who has been declared a saint or blessed is present.

Who are your favorite saints?

That’s like asking, “Which of your children is your favorite?” I try not to play favorites with my children, with my friends, or with the saints.

However, I have found Saints Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, and Therese of Lisieux most helpful in my prayer life; Saint Louis de Montfort most helpful in understanding the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the Doctors of the Church (whom I hope to write a separate book about someday) most helpful in understanding the truths of the faith.

Why have I never heard of the saints on your blog?

The best-known saints are described in my book; my daily blogs give short biographies of lesser-known saints and blesseds who are not in my book. The blogs give you an idea of the format of my book, but they also show you that there have been inspiring and holy Catholic men and women of all ages, from many countries, and from many different time periods—even though most of us have never heard of them.

[1] There are only a few days of the year where no martyr is listed in the Martyrologium Romanum.

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