NOTE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

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No words can express the emotions which this history of the Virgin, St. Rose of Lima, will awaken in truly Christian hearts that love Jesus Christ, his ever blessed Church, and their native land.  How wonderful is God in his Saints, will be the exclamation at almost every page.  And with our wonder at the graces and glory bestowed on these favorites of the most High, will break forth the prayer for the increase of faith, increase of love, mingled, it may be, with bitter tears, lest for our sins, we should be forever separated from their holy company.  Next to God’s own word in the Sacred Scriptures, nothing so touches the heart, enlightens the soul, and rouses up even the most slothful to a sense of all we owe to our Redeemer and never can repay, as the reading of the lives of the saints, the contemplation of the virtues, sufferings and triumph of such a child of the Church as is here presented to us.  And St. Rose is only one of the innumerable host of witnesses who, whether living on earth or reigning in heaven, testify to the truth, the holiness, the divinity of that faith we profess.

 

Every day we repeat – “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints;” but which of us can realize the infinite treasures of joy, hope, encouragement; the manifold motives for trust in God and his glorified servants under every trial; the boundless means of salvation which the Holy Spirit has provided for us in this communion of saints in the Catholic Church.  Have we not cause to fear that myriads among us live and die without forming to themselves even a faint idea of the beauty and excellence of our religion?  The love of the world, and of the things that are in the world, leave us no time to lift our thoughts to where the saints are reigning with God in bliss – Our brothers! Our sisters! They, who in this world knelt before the same altars with us, heard the same mass, received the same sacraments, worshipped the same immaculate Virgin Mother, said the same beads in her honor, and that of her beloved son, practiced the same devotions, and in every land under heaven, repeated as we all do this day, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church.”  O! That we all may believe; for believing we must rejoice with joy unspeakable; we will adore in spirit and truth, and thus dispose ourselves to receive the end of our faith, even the salvation of our souls.

 

This is not the place to enter into ay controversy respecting the homage which as always been and forever will be offered by God’s Church to his most faithful, and therefore best beloved children, the saints.  Such works as this are, from their very nature, designed for those whom St. Paul reminds us “are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and the domestics of God,” often are they written with as little regard for the unbelief or indifference of the age, as though such a being as a heretic or a bad Catholic were hardly to be found on earth.

 

Thrice happy will we be, if we have the sense, the grace, not only to accept but to read and meditate on them in the same spirit in which they have been composed.  They lead us at once to the shores of a new world – forever closed indeed to those overwise or carnal-minded Christians who pretend to sit in judgment on the “saints and servants of God,” –but a world daily opening with all its blessings to the poor in spirit and pure of heart; to the meek and merciful, to those who thirst after justice, and morn for the continual humiliations of the Church, the blindness of her enemies, the sins of their brethren, and, above all, for their own sins.  Many a moment of sweet communion with now glorified beings who, while on earth, were of the same household of the faith, is here in store for the Catholic who, in the right tone of mind, will approach this spiritual world into which the “Lives of the Saints” introduces us; and none, perhaps, more impressively than the truly mysterious “Life of the American Virgin, St. Rose.” We will not proceed far before we understand more clearly than ever, why it is that our Redeemer so often calls his Church, even in the present state of sorrow and trial, the “Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

We cannot close this note without expressing, in behalf of many who will thank us for it, our gratitude to the illustrious converts in England who have placed such treasures of learning and piety within our reach; and here, especially, to that servant of the Church whose name, “beloved of God and men,” stands on the title page of this work.  Before it pleased our heavenly Father to bring them among us, how many such treasures, now in our hands, were as pearls in the depths of the sea, unknown, unthought of, by the English and American Catholics.

 

With the Exception of a few unavoidable changes in the following Preface prefixed to the English volume, which contained the lives of two other servants of God, viz, the Blessed Colomba of Rieti, and St. Juliana Falconieri, the present is a faithful reprint of the English edition.

 

E.J.S.


 
 


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Text from the Fr. Faber translation, Peter F. Cunningham, fourth edition, 1855

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