Hagiography

How historically accurate are they?

For instance, I’ve read somewhere (maybe New Advent) that the events of Our Lady of the Snows did not actually happen and may be an elaboration…and yet, a few weeks ago, the priest said during Mass as if the events did happen.

I know the Church takes great pains in making sure miracles, for instance, are true and don’t have physical explanations.

I’m greatly inspired by St. Mary of Egypt (although the Orthodox Church seems to venerate her more), and although my faith and inspiration would not diminish if a lion actually did not dig her grave, I’d still like to know if the event was true.

Also, the events written in The Little Flowers of St. Francis — are they approved by the Church to be worthy of belief?

I think you can understand them the way the Bible is understood - true like poetry, but not necessarily true as fact. The lives of saints teach us about their holiness, and whether the events in their lives actually happened exactly as they are told doesn’t really matter to me.
I am reading The Golden Legend about the lives of saints right now and it is fantastic.

If it’s in the Synexarion, I believe it. If it’s in the Roman Martyrology I believe it.

You mean, certain parts of the Bible as true like poetry…right?

right.

But poetic language is one thing. It’s another to say “This and this happened” when it really didn’t. The intent was to convey the message of passing of a particular event…which might be fictitious.

It kind of bursts the bubble.

I think the closer you get to recent history, the more the stories of the saints are true. For example stories about St. Mother Teresa or St. Padre Pio are very true renditions of their lives. But when you go back to the days of the martyrs, (like St. Lawrence and asking his torturers to turn him over on the grill because his left side was cooked), the more they become exaggerated. Like any story, with time, the stories of the saints became and more embellished. That doesn’t make them less interesting to read! I’m sure St. Lawrence was a very holy man, and well-spoken with a good sense of humor.

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