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Saints Behaving Badly

The Cutthroats, Crooks, Trollops, Con Men, and Devil-Worshippers Who Became Saints

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From thieves and extortionists to mass murderers and warmongers, up-close and embarrassingly personal snapshots of those sanctified people with the most unsaintly pasts in the history of Christianity.
Saints are not born, they are made. And many, as Saints Behaving Badly reveals, were made of very rough materials indeed. The first book to lay bare the less than saintly behavior of thirty-two venerated holy men and women, it presents the scandalous, spicy, and sleazy detours they took on the road to sainthood.In nineteenth- and twentieth-century writings about the lives of the saints, authors tended to go out of their way to sanitize their stories, often glossing over the more embarrassing cases with phrases such as, “he/she was once a great sinner.” In the early centuries of the Church and throughout the Middle Ages, however, writers took a more candid and spirited approach to portraying the saints. Exploring sources from a wide range of periods and places, Thomas Craughwell discovered a veritable rogues gallery of sinners-turned-saints. There’s St. Olga, who unleashed a bloodbath on her husband’s assassins; St. Mary of Egypt, who trolled the streets looking for new sexual conquests; and Thomas Becket, who despite his vast riches refused to give his cloak to a man freezing to death in the street. Written with wit and respect (each profile ends with what inspired the saint to give up his or her wicked ways), Saints Behaving Badly will entertain, inform, and even inspire Catholic readers across America.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 12, 2006 – The stories Catholics often hear about the saints can give the impression these people emerged from the womb with halos. Craughwell, a well-respected Catholic diocesan newspaper columnist, provides the rest of the story. His semi-irreverent collection assembles 29 sinners-cum-saints from Christian history in an enjoyable and riveting account of their lives and times. The table of contents reads like a most-wanted list: thieves, embezzlers, murderers, cardsharps, and even a warmonger. Some, such as the apostle Matthew, a former tax collector, will be familiar to readers. The brief biographies of the more obscure saints, however, are often the most fascinating to read. Craughwell introduces us to intriguing figures like St. Moses the Ethiopian, a violent gang leader who embraced a life of fasting and prayer after seeking shelter with monks in the Egyptian desert in the fourth century. St. Alipius, a student of another notorious sinner, St. Augustine, was "obsessed with blood sports." Craughwell does not dilute his belief that it is only through divine grace that these women and men were able to overcome their self-centeredness and redirect their lives for a greater purpose. His tone is occasionally patronizing, but the take-home point is vital: while we are all sinners, there is always hope.
Saints Behaving Badly
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Christianity
  • Published: Sep 19, 2006
  • Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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