Saints Alive Old Saints New Stories
These two books by Andrew M. Seddon provide hope, encouragement and examples of people of faith who live the mysteries of Christ Jesus. Some or new retellings of old legends and some of are more of the ‘what if’ stories about these saints.
Saints Alive – Saints of Empire
News Stories of Old Saints
Andrew M. Seddon
I was asked about writing a few words about a forthcoming book, that book happened to be Volume II – Celtic Paths. After reading the first story in the new volume I went back and purchased the first volume and alternately read chapters in each book. But now let us focus on Saints of Empire. This wonderful little volume with take you many places and give 12 examples of faith. The stories are written around legends of saints, to quote the introduction: “Edification was their reason for existence. The hagiographers were concerned that the lives, deeds, words, and examples of the saints would endure, encouraging and inspiring later generations of Christians.” The saints whose stories we evaluate in this volume are:
1. Wheat of Lions (St. Ignatius of Antioch) Rome, c.107
2. Ariadne’s Angels (St. Ariadne) Phrygia, c.117-161
3. The Informer (St. Cecilia) Rome, c. 177-250
4. The Governor’s Eyes (St. Sabinus) Etruria, c.303
5. A Vision of Theodota (St. Anastasia) Illyricum, c.304
6. The Sword of Dioscorus (St. Barbara) Heliopolis in Syria, c. 304
7. Relics (St. Boniface of Tarsus) Rome, c. 306
8. The Fortieth Martyr (The Forty Martyrs of Sebastea) Armenia, 320
9. The Lure of Terenuthis (St. John the Dwarf) Egypt, c.390
10. The End of the Games (St. Telemachus) Rome, c. 404
11. Bishop Martin’s Cloak (St. Martin of Tours) Gaul, c.407
12. The Penitent Pigeon (St. Pelagia & St. Nonnus) Antioch, Late 400s.
Some of the Saints will be familiar but few of the stories. Seddon has chosen to present lesser known stories for some saints and some lesser known. Each story entertains, and yet also challenges. And is that not what the Saints are supposed to d?. Seddon also states: “These stories are not strict retelling of the lives of the saints involved and should not be read as such. They are, rather, literary creations, tales based upon an incident in the life of a saint. They do, however, contain as much factual detail as could reasonably be accommodated.” This book was an amazing read and left me wanting to read more. Thankfully Seddon provides extensive notes and a list of resources at the end of the book. I loved this book and have already read it twice and know I will read it again. I cannot give it a higher recommendation.
Saints Alive – Celtic Paths
News Stories of Old Saints Volume II
Andrew M. Seddon
I was asked to write a few words about this book. I received it months before it was published and just a straight typeset. I was hooked from the first story and immediately purchased Volume I and devoured both books three times in as many months. It is an excellent read and I really hope there will be more books in the series.
As iconography is to images so hierography is to stories of the saints. Seddon has a mystical way with words; he brings you into the stories of the saints and paints such a powerful picture with his words that you find yourself there. This book was an incredible read that I know I will read again often and share with friends and family. So journey back to the 5th and 6th Century for stories of saints both famous and lesser known, and maybe the stories will impact your life and your path. The chapters, the twelve stories in this volume are:
1 Sleeping Dragons (Sts Adamnan and Columba) c.690
2 The Sun on the Liffey (St. Brigid) c.500
3 Guardians (St. Senan) c.540
4 Autumn Wolves (St. Ailbe) c.500
5 Colman and the Disappearing Dinner (St. Colman) c.616
6 The Hermit King (St. Tewdrig) c.610
7 Ordeal of the Dog (St. Ruan) c.540
8 Gold of Mercury (St. Leonore) c.540
9 The Mice of Y Gaer (St. Cadoc) c.526
10 A Matter of Thrones (St. Monynna) 6th Century
11 Digits (St. Cainnech) mid 500’s
12 Far Voyager (St. Brendan) early 500’s
Stories built on legends but told to teach lessons. These stories will evoke powerful images and they will surprise, encourage, enlighten and challenge a reader open to the examples of the people of old. Seddon masterfully tells these 12 stories. C.S. Lewis stated in Letters to Malcolm “Though we cannot experience our life as an endless present, we are eternal in God’s eyes; that is, in our deepest reality.” These stories reflect that eternal to us in new and exciting ways.
I have 4 measures for what I consider outstanding books. First do I want to share it with my children as they grow? Second, will I read it again? Third, do I wish for more books in the series? And finally I cannot stop talking about it. This book meets all four, and I wish there was a way to give it more than 5 stars. I would love to see what Seddon would do with saints of other ages, Damien the Leper, Edith Stein, Pope John XXIII and more. If we are lucky maybe he will!