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A finger, a lock of hair, a crucifix, a chalice—if such items belonged to a saint, they are considered to be relics and as such are venerated by the Catholic Church. Anyone who thinks that relics are remnants of the Middle Ages should log on to eBay. On any day of the week the online shopper will find a thriving business in the sale of these items, ranging from the dust from the tomb of Christ to splinters of the True Cross to bone fragments of countless holy men and women. In Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics, author Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on an exhilarating journey through the life and death of more than three hundred saints and along the way enlightens us about the sometimes strange bits and pieces that the saints left behind.
     Including entries on the famous (Saint Peter, Saint Francis, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux) and the not so famous (Saint Foy, Saint Sicaire, Saint Chrysogonus), Saints Preserved also features information on such notable relics as the Holy House where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived; the Crown of Thorns; the Holy Grail; and the seven places that claim to possess the head of Saint John the Baptist—among them a mosque in Damascus. Moreover, this book includes major relics that are enshrined in the United States—for example, the complete skeleton of the Roman martyr Saint Vibiana enshrined in a cathedral in Los Angeles.
     From the extraordinary Aachen relics to the remains of Saint Zita, Saints Preserved is an indispensable compendium for spiritual seekers, history buffs, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Catholic faith.

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