In Saints Preserved: An Encyclopedia of Relics, author Thomas J. Craughwell takes us on an exhilarating journey through the life and death of more than three hundred saints and along the way enlightens us about the sometimes strange bits and pieces that the saints left behind.
Including entries on the famous (Saint Peter, Saint Francis, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux) and the not so famous (Saint Foy, Saint Sicaire, Saint Chrysogonus), Saints Preserved also features information on such notable relics as the Holy House where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived; the Crown of Thorns; the Holy Grail; and the seven places that claim to possess the head of Saint John the Baptist—among them a mosque in Damascus. Moreover, this book includes major relics that are enshrined in the United States—for example, the complete skeleton of the Roman martyr Saint Vibiana enshrined in a cathedral in Los Angeles.
From the extraordinary Aachen relics to the remains of Saint Zita, Saints Preserved is an indispensable compendium for spiritual seekers, history buffs, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the Catholic faith.
The Aachen relics? This is what it has to say:
Aachen’s Kornelimunster, or Church of Sr. Cornelius, has three precious relics: the cloth Christ tied around his waist when he washed the feet of’ his apostles at the Last Supper; the shroud in which Saint Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the body’ of Jesus for burial (this shroud is different from the much more famous Shroud of Turin); and the sudarium, or the cloth that was laid over the face of Jesus at the time of his burial.
There is also an three page entry for the Shroud of Turin. It reads, in part:
The tests, results, and debates are too lengthy and complex to summarize here. To date there is no consensus as to how tile image was made on the cloth, nor why it was seen dearly only in a photographic negative. A carbon-14 test of the Shroud, performed in 1988. dated it to the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, the period when it first came into the possession of the de Charney family, but given the number of repairs to the cloth, some have argued that the carbon-14 sample was not taken from the original cloth of the Shroud but from a patch sewn onto it during the Middle Ages.
Textile experts have said that the linen is consistent with fabric available in the Middle Fast in the first century AD. There is an ongoing debate whether the stains on rue Shroud are human blood or pigment. Even microscopic dirt particles and pollen embedded in the fabric have been studied to learn if tile cloth originated in the Middle East, and specifically Jerusalem (the pollen evidence suggests that the cloth did come from the Middle East).
Since the Pia photographs of 1898, several popes have stated publically how deeply the images moved them. During his pilgrimage to Turin in 2010 to pray before the relic, Pope Benedict XVI described the Shroud as “an Icon written in blood, the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced.” But no pope has ever stared definitively whether the Shroud is authentic.