ALTHOUGH several beautiful Lives of St. Francis Xavier exist—some of them in our own language—I do not think that any excuse will be required for the attempt made in the present work to produce a new Life, which may satisfy in some sort the legitimate requirements of our own time. We are accustomed to set a higher value than men of former generations on those indications of personal character, in the case of great men and conspicuous Saints, which are to be found in their own words, in their letters, in anecdotes which set them familiarly before our eyes, and the like. The Catholics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries would take the letter of a Saint, for instance, of St. Teresa or St. Francis Xavier, and cut it to pieces for the sake of making up a signature out of letters from separate words, or forming some holy text in the Saint’s handwriting in the same way. Aeterna Press
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