"The only tragedy is not to be a saint", wrote the French novelist Léon Bloy. And St. Francis de Sales said that "A sad saint would be a sorry saint." But what is a saint? One way to answer is to analyze sanctity, theologically and psychologically. Another way, which is the path Frank Sheed chose in creating this volume, is to show you a saint-or rather, since no two saints are alike-to show you a number of saints. In this book, you are shown forty saints.
The saints Sheed chose for this collection are from various time periods: six before A.D. 500, seventeen from then to the Reformation, and seventeen from the Reformation to the middle of the twentieth century. Many are well known, like St. Anthony, Francis, Augustine, Patrick and Bernadette, while others are lesser known, for example, Columcille and Malachy.
The same can be said for the various authors of these short biographies. Among them are the famous like Hilaire Belloc, Alban Goodier and G.K. Chesterton, as well as priests and laymen whose names may no longer be familiar but whose writing still brings to life men and women whose closeness to God gave them purpose, strength, and yes, joy.
Frank Sheed had a very distinguished career as a publisher, lecturer, street-corner evangelist, and popular writer. He and his wife Maisie Ward were the founders of the major publishing house Sheed & Ward. His many popular books include To Know Christ Jesus, Theology and Sanity, Society and Sanity, and A Map of Life.