Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Friends in high places

YESTERDAY BEING ALL SAINTS, I found myself wondering how many books on saints we hold in the two Mount libraries. The answer: Lots.

I did a quick search in the libraries' online catalog and found 233 titles under the subject "Christian Saints." Of those, only 15 are for children ("Juvenile Literature"), which leaves 318 college-level volumes on some of Christianity's all-time greats.

Of these, about half are straight biography. These aren't all pious, 19th Century hagiographies, either. There's a 2007 book on the contemporary saints and martyrs of Africa and a 2005 biography of St. Mary Magdalene.

You can do your reading in your choice of languages -- Therese of Lisieux in French, Teresa of Avila in Spanish, and if you read German in gothic print, there's Alban Stolz's three-volume Legende, a calendar of saints' days printed between 1859 and 1861.

For pure joy, you can't go wrong with Francis: the Poor Man of Assisi by children's illustrator and author Tomie dePaola (above). His appealing illustration style lends itself beautifully to the story and mysticism of the great saint, and our copy in Special Collections is signed by dePaola to his "friends at the Mount with love," 1982.

I thought I'd find a CSJ saint in there somewhere, but no -- there aren't any. It's not that the Sisters of St. Joseph have lacked candidates among the generations of heroic women. It's just that the Order has always been way too busy to go to the trouble of a cause for sainthood. For living saints, there is always more important work to be done.

POSTSCRIPT: Campus Ministry held a "Vote for Your Favorite Saint" event after the All Saints mass yesterday and the results are in. Claiming first place: St. Francis of Assisi.

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