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Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics Paperback – 12 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: Image (12 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307590739
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307590732
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.9 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 409,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos on 15 Sep 2011
Format: Paperback
Saints Preserved by Thomas J. Craughwell is a short book that has an alphabetical list of saints. In this work, self titled an encyclopedic work, the author gives a very short biography that contains no new information and the location(s) of the saint's relics and in some cases how they came too be there. The book is a light work and has no new insights, but then the title claims too be about the Holy Relics. In this work the main subject is only touched upon as an aside on the small biography of the saint. The books does not contain even and index which an book of this kind should have.

Mr. Craughwell does not make light of his subject and this may be a good book for someone who is not looking for full biography of the saints or where they may find any saints relics. For a set of books that one can read on the biography of saints I would suggest "Butler's Lives of the Saints" which contains (as of a couple centuries ago) over eighteen times the number of biographies than this book and is more in depth; though relics are not discussed. It is a shame too have wasted this opportunity for a reference too Holy Relics. The author could have included the Holy Relics chain of documented custody and present location(s) that would make an excellent four too five volume book in small font. If the font used in Mr. Craughwell's book is used it would probably fill twelve volumes or more.

Even the limited saints covered are not covered in their full entirety. I am right next too a Relic Chapel containing properly ecclesiastically documented first century Holy Relics through twentieth century Holy Relics of some of the most well known which are included in this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Room for Improvement 13 July 2011
By Citeaux in Vegas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book's title "Saints Preserved : An Encyclopedia of Relics" is somewhat misleading. The books reads like a volume of Lives of the Saints with more emphasis upon the brief biographical sketches of each saint and less emphasis upon the books primary subject matter, namely the relics themselves, their history. "Saints Preserved" is more like an introduction for the reader unfamiliar, but curious, about this aspect of Catholic devotion to the saints.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An Easy read of Short Biographies 15 Sep 2011
By M. A. Ramos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Saints Preserved by Thomas J. Craughwell is a short book that has an alphabetical list of saints. In this work, self titled an encyclopedic work, the author gives a very short biography that contains no new information and the location(s) of the saint's relics and in some cases how they came too be there. The book is a light work and has no new insights, but then the title claims too be about the Holy Relics. In this work the main subject is only touched upon as an aside on the small biography of the saint. The books does not contain even and index which an book of this kind should have.

Mr. Craughwell does not make light of his subject and this may be a good book for someone who is not looking for full biography of the saints or where they may find any saints relics. For a set of books that one can read on the biography of saints I would suggest "Butler's Lives of the Saints" which contains (as of a couple centuries ago) over eighteen times the number of biographies than this book and is more in depth; though relics are not discussed. It is a shame too have wasted this opportunity for a reference too Holy Relics. The author could have included the Holy Relics chain of documented custody and present location(s) that would make an excellent four too five volume book in small font. If the font used in Mr. Craughwell's book is used it would probably fill twelve volumes or more.

Even the limited saints covered are not covered in their full entirety. I am right next too a Relic Chapel containing properly ecclesiastically documented first century Holy Relics through twentieth century Holy Relics of some of the most well known which are included in this book. He seemed too have missed these Holy Relics on saints he included in his book even though they are written about in various areas and the information is easily found in the public domain. I think this book, though missing location of some of the relics he actually covers and has a very limited number of saints covered, is a good rudimentary introduction as too saints and some Holy Relics locations; if known. Either the title needs some work or the author was rushed into publishing.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good Overview of the Catholic Practice 21 Aug 2011
By Jonathan F. Sullivan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Thomas J. Craughwell has written a very interesting book: "Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics." It consists of entries on various saints with a little history of their relics: the saints' possessions or body parts that have been preserved.

In the early Church, the mortal remains of martyrs were taken for burial, and Masses were celebrated at their tombs on the anniversaries of their deaths. Over time great churches were built on these spots (St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is a good example) and soon even non-martyrs recognized for their virtue and holiness were honored in this way.

Not all the relics mentioned in the book are body parts; they also includes various church's claims to possess the nails that held Christ to the cross (along with other objects connected to the Crucifixion); the Shroud of Turin; and the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (which, according to legend, was painted by St. Luke on the Holy Family's kitchen table).

The stories behind the relics demonstrate the remarkable connection the faithful have with the saints. Many relics survived times of persecution only through the heroic efforts to smuggle them out of threatened churches to safety.

One of the book's aims is to "de-mystify" relics. To non-Catholics relics can seem macabre, silly, or even superstitious. In his introduction Mr. Craughwell does a good job of laying out the Church's understanding of relics and the proper veneration due to them; this would be a useful section for those not familiar with relics to read.

If I have one complaint it is that most of the entries have less to do about specific relics and consist mainly of biographical information about the saint in question. I would have appreciated more in-depth information about the relics themselves, especially if any miracles are connected to them. I also would have liked more pictures, although I understand the economics of publishing enough to know that too many pictures can be cost-prohibitive.

One other caveat I'd like to add: in the introduction Mr. Craughwell mentions that there is a busy online market in relics. While this may be true, it is against Church law and a sin to sell sacred objects and relics -- so please don't try to buy them online!

Despite these drawbacks "Saints Preserved" offers a unique insight into this rarely-discussed aspect of the Church's veneration of saints -- and an interesting read, too.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A very simple guidebook 13 Sep 2011
By Artur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Roman Catholic Church defines as a relic a) the physical remains (body) of an officially recognized saint, or any portion thereof; b) items of close, personal association with a saint, such as clothing or ornamentation worn; c) items that have been in contact with the remains of a saint; or d) certain items of central importance in the church's formation and history, such as purported pieces of Christ's cross. This book contains a listing of several hundred prominent Roman Catholic saints, with particular emphasis on North American saints, and the places that currently hold their relics.

The book is functional as a guide to such places, but don't look here for actual history done on the relics. The stories given about the relics are simply the traditional or legendary information associated with them, and the provenance given, particularly with very old relics or outlandishly unlikely ones (such as pieces of the True Cross) is relayed uncritically. The book works just fine for the Roman Catholic who simply wants to know where believed relics are held.

A word of caution is in order. While discussing this book with a couple of people, one found the contents of the book "sickening" and declined to continue the conversation. Although relics are tightly bound to Roman Catholic history and teaching, Non-Roman Catholics, sensitive people, or children may find the subject matter disturbing. There is a great deal of material on bits and pieces of dead bodies; various bones, decorated skulls, vials of blood and so forth. The reader should be aware of this and pass it by if the topic is offensive.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating reference guide to famous saints and their relics 12 July 2011
By Christina Lockstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Saints Preserved by Thomas J. Craughwell is an encyclopedic look at the relics of famous saints from history. Craughwell treats his subjects with a light, yet reverent touch. From Saint Afra to Saint Zita, through Jesus and Mary, it covers some of the most famous pieces of Catholic history in a way that even Protestants can enjoy. I've often tried to read about other saints, but there are so many of them it's easy to become quickly overwhelmed. Craughwell keeps his explanations succinct, offering a brief bio of each saint as well as a list of what relics are known and where they are located, sometimes with a history of how it got there. While some subjects get a few pages of description, most are just a paragraph or two, making the book an easy read. As a Protestant, I've always been intrigued by the idea of relics, and Craughwell's book is a great starting point for those unfamiliar with the concept, like I was, as well as a a good reference guide for those more familiar with the concept.
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