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Articles on Saints

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A sculpture of two saints meeting and embracing embodies the importance of touch in Renaissance culture as a form of devotion and ultimately a way to access the divine. (Renaissance Polychrome Sculpture in Tuscany database)

Belief in touch as salvation was stronger than fear of contagion in the Italian Renaissance

After a year of pandemic social distancing, we know touch is a much-desired privilege. In the Italian Renaissance, people longed to touch not only each other, but also religious sculptures.
Hindu devotees attend evening prayers on the banks of the Ganges River during the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar, India. Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

India prepares for Kumbh Mela, world’s largest religious gathering, amid COVID-19 fears

Kumbh Mela, a Hindu pilgrimage that started earlier this month in India, has survived wars and famine since its origin. But the biggest threat has been the spread of illness – back then as now.
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis during his beatification ceremony in Assisi, Italy. AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Who are patron saints and why do Catholics venerate them?

Many saints are venerated for specific reasons, professions or even nations. There are saints who are believed to provide assistance in selling a property.
Josaphat sits Dreaming in a Landscape, from the Workshop of Diebold Lauber, c 1469. Getty Musuem

How the Buddha became a Christian saint

It was only in the 19th century the West became aware of Buddhism as a religion in its own right – but the Buddha had been a Christian saint for centuries.
Two manuscripts of the visionary, writer and composer St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) survived the Dresden bombings after a librarian stashed them in a bank vault. (Avraham Pisarek/Deutsche Fotothek/Wikimedia)

How two women pulled off a medieval manuscript heist in post-war Germany

Two precious manuscripts hidden in a bank vault survived the Allied bombing of Dresden, but one wound up in Soviet hands — until it was smuggled home.
Deaf worshippers sign a hymn while following sign language interpreter Diely Martinez at Holyrood Episcopal Church-Iglesia Santa Cruz in New York City, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. AP Photo/Emily Leshner

Deaf Christians often struggle to hear God’s word, but some find meaning in the richness of who they are

Deaf Christians can often feel excluded in churches. But the Christian contemplative tradition that celebrates silence and considers it a form of prayer can bring a new understanding of faith.
Sculpture of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, on the campus of Boston College. Jay Yuan/Shutterstock.com

What a 16th-century mystic can teach us about making good decisions

At times we just don’t know what’s the right thing to do. St. Ignatius, who founded the Society of Jesus, developed a method of discernment that can be useful even to those who are not religious.
Saint Patrick. Thad Zajdowicz

10 things to know about the real St. Patrick

There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But Patrick’s own writings and early biographies reveal the person behind the legend.
Pious drinking. Walter Dendy Sadler via Wikimedia Commons

Feeling guilty about drinking? Well, ask the saints

For those wondering whether it is sinful to drink, even moderately, a scholar goes into the history of alcohol and its distillation to show how early monks and priests contributed to it.
Mother Theresa in 1991. Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Questioning the ‘miracles’ of Saint Teresa

Mother Teresa will become a saint on Sunday, on the basis of two miracles of healing. But let’s not remove our thinking caps and go all medieval: we should be wary of uncritical endorsement of claims to the miraculous.

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