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Hard lessons of living, dying and grief

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Catholic News Service

Hundreds of years ago, our Christian forebears sought to learn to die well. They even wrote guidebooks about the art of dying (“ars moriendi”), hoping to inspire others to achieve a sense of spiritual completion and fulfillment at life’s end.

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Fast-paced, well-researched book explains mysterious topic of relics

September 30th, 2011 Posted in Books

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“Holy Bones, Holy Dust: How Relics Shaped the History of Medieval Europe” by Charles Freeman. Yale University Press (New Haven, Conn., 2011). 270 pp., $35.

Catholic News Service

In the medieval world, the promise of heaven often seemed all too elusive, while hell’s imagined torments loomed large. No wonder believers venerated small physical links to the saints — bits of bone and blood, teeth, hair, clothes and even drops of the Virgin Mary’s milk. They thought that such relics would connect them to these holy men and women, who then might intercede on their behalf with God.
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