For SaintNook, we have opted to use a long-unused rendition of the Lives of the Saints by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, hopefully to supplement the excellent material available through NewAdvent.com, Catholic.org, SPQN and other such sites.
We appreciate Baring-Gould’s particular vision; wherever possible to introduce more anecdotes and stories from Saint’s lives:
I have no wish that my work should be regarded as intended to supplant that of Alban Butler. My line is somewhat different from his. He confined his attention to the historical outlines of the saintly lives, and he rarely filled them in with anecdote. Yet it is the little details of a man’s life that give it character, and impress themselves on the memory. People forget the age and parentage of S. Gertrude, but they remember the mouse running up her staff.
A priest of the Anglican Church, I have undertaken to write a book which I hope and trust will be welcome to Roman and Anglican Catholics, alike. It would have been unseemly to have carried prejudice, impertinent to have obtruded sectarianism, into a work like this. I have been called to tread holy ground, and kneel in the midst of the great company of the blessed; and the only fitting attitude of the mind for such a place, and such society, is reverence.
In reading the miracles recorded of the Saints, of which the number is infinite, the proper spirit to observe is, not doubt, but discrimination. Because much is certainly apocryphal in these accounts, we must not therefore reject what may be true. The present age, in its vehement naturalism, places itself, as it were, outside of the circle of spiritual phenomena, and is as likely to deny the supernatural agency in a marvel, as a mediæval was liable to attribute a natural phenomenon to spiritual causes.
In such cases we must consider the evidence and its worth or worthlessness. It may be that, in God’s dealings with men, at a time when natural means of cure were unattainable, the supernatural should abound, but that when the science of medicine became perfected, and the natural was rendered available to all, the supernatural should, to some extent, at least, be withdrawn.