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Saints of Old

iUniverse, Bloomington,

Reviewed by Jocelyn Braddock.

I HAVE long been interested in the spiritual questing of my contemporaries and those who helped to create the faith and freedom that I enjoy.

Thus my interest in this book.

Patric Coffey is a Canadian, a retired surgeon and lifelong committed Christian.

He is also a Roman Catholic so I met numbers of new ideas.

Some were vaguely familiar, but I knew little in detail.

In thirty brief chapters he surveys the lives, and frequently the martyrdom, of early Christian people.

Some like Jerome, Augustine, and Patrick, are likely to be familiar.

Others, obscure to us, have a place in the Roman Catholic Universal Calendar.

This is a little book, self-published, one hundred and fifty pages in small paperback format.

I learned a lot however if I want a working knowledge of the subject I would have to enquire much more widely and rigorously than I can here.

Occasionally one comes upon delightful phrases.

St Monica “never stopped storming heaven” in her petitions on behalf of her then sinful son, later to become the great St Augustine of Hippo.

On the whole however the writing is stilted, includes much repetition, and can be confusing.

I have long wondered at the practice of bundling up every non-Christian, from before, during, and after the time of Christ, under the label of ‘pagan.’

It seems to deny the diversity and richness of history against which our own faith has grown strong.

Coffey continues the tradition so at times I found it irksome.

Others may not.

Not with standing these small quibbles, his is an honest and sincere effort demonstrating one man’s lifetime commitment to his Lord.

He is to be applauded for his work.