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The Life of St. Frances of Rome, and Others   By: (1812-1885)

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First Page:

THE LIFE

OF

ST. FRANCES OF ROME,

BY

LADY GEORGIANA FULLERTON;

OF

BLESSED LUCY OF NARNI,

OF

DOMINICA OF PARADISO

AND OF

ANNE DE MONTMORENCY:

WITH

An Introductory Essay

ON THE MIRACULOUS LIFE OF THE SAINTS,

BY J. M. CAPES, ESQ. N.B. The proprietorship of this Series is secured in all countries where the Copyright is protected. The authorities on which the History of St. Frances of Rome rests are as follows:

Her life by Mattiotti, her Confessor for ten years. Mattiotti enjoined her, as a matter of obedience, to relate to him from time to time her visions in the minutest detail. He was a timid and suspicious man, and for two or three years kept a daily record of all she told him; afterwards, as his confidence in her sanctity and sanity grew complete, he contented himself with a more general account of her ecstasies, and also put together a private history of her life. After her death, he wrote a regular biography, which is now to be found in the Bollandist collection (Venice, 1735, vol. ii.).

Early in the seventeenth century, Ursinus, a Jesuit, wrote a life, which was highly esteemed, but which was never printed, and, except in certain fragments, is now lost.

In 1641, Fuligato, a Jesuit, wrote the second life, in the Bollandist collection, which contains particulars of events that happened after Mattiotti's time.

Other well written lives have since appeared: especially a recent one by the Vicomte de Bussière, in which will be found various details too long to be included in the sketch here presented to the English reader. INTRODUCTORY ESSAY.

THE MIRACULOUS LIFE OF THE SAINTS.

In presenting to the general reader a newly written Life of so extraordinary a person as St. Frances of Rome, together with the biographical sketches contained in the present volume, it may be useful to introduce them with a few brief remarks on that peculiar feature in the histories of many Saints, which is least in accordance with the popular ideas of modern times. A mere translation, or republication of a foreign or ancient book, does not necessarily imply any degree of assent to the principles involved in the original writer's statements. The new version or edition may be nothing more than a work of antiquarian or literary interest, by no means professing any thing more than a belief that persons will be found who will, from some motive or other, be glad to read it.

Not so, however, in the case of a biography which, though not pretending to present the results of fresh researches, does profess to give an account new in shape, and adapted to the wants of the day in which it asks its share of public attention. In this case no person can honourably write, and no editor can honourably sanction, any statements but such as are not only possible and probable, but, allowing for the degree of authenticity in each case claimed, on the whole historically true. No honest man, who absolutely disbelieves in all documents in which the original chronicler has mingled accounts of supernatural events with the record of his own personal knowledge, could possibly either write or edit such Lives as those included in the following pages; still less could they be made public by one who disbelieves in the reality of modern miracles altogether.

In presenting, then, the present and other similar volumes to the ordinary reader, I anticipate some such questions as these: "Do you really put these stories into our hands as history? Are these marvellous tales to be regarded as poetry, romance, superstitious dreaming, or as historical realities? If you profess to believe in their truth, how do you reconcile their character with the universal aspect of human life, as it appears to us and to our friends? And finally, if you claim for them the assent to which proved facts have a right from every candid mind, to what extent of detail do you profess to believe in their authenticity?" To these and similar questions I reply by the following observations:

The last of these questions may be answered briefly... Continue reading book >>




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